Stress on certain words is emphasis. In the language of the News Reader you hit these words. If you emphasise the wrong word, you will cloud, confuse or, even worse, change the meaning of the text.

The church was full. An enthusiastic young man offered to read the first lesson.
1 Kings 13 was written on the slip of paper handed to him. He ran his eye over the chapter.
Later as he read aloud he wondered at the sound of subdued laughter as he read, "He said, 'Saddle me the ass'. So they saddled him the ass." He was not aware that he had made an ass of himself.
How different it would have been if he had read, "Saddle me the ass, so they saddled him the ass."

Luke 2:5 from the Living Bible:
"Joseph took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was obviously pregnant by this time." (Obviously pregnant, meaning great with child.) A reader who had not fully understood produced a disastrous result by reading, "Joseph took with him Mary, his fiancee, who was obviously pregnant by this time."

Recently at a communion service the minister kept on emphasising the pronoun in the commandments:
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not commit murder.

He should have read:
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not commit murder.



THE EMPHASIS MUST BE ON THE RIGHT WORDS
A beautifully modulated voice on the radio read, "He loved the good things of this life." And why shouldn't we all love the good things of this life? What we were meant to understand was, "He loved the good things of this life," conveying the idea that he preferred, not the spiritual life but the earthly one. This gives a very different meaning.

You may well ask, "Shouldn't the audience make out the meaning for themselves?"
The moment people start asking themselves, "What was that?" or "What did he say?" they miss the next sentence and lose the thread of the reading. The audience thinks many times faster than the reader speaks. Distraction makes the mind stray from the thought track.

CHANGE EMPHASIS AND YOU CHANGE MEANING
Emphasis can lead up a variety of paths. For instance here is a sentence: "All the girls like Peter."
If you put the accent on "all", you're saying every girl likes Peter.
If your emphasis in on "girls", you imply the boys don't.
If you read, "All the girls like Peter", you're assuring us of their attitude to Peter.
If you emphasise "Peter", you're saying that he is preferred to others.
Thus by changing emphasis you change meaning.



RULE 1: EMPHASISE THOSE WORDS WHICH
INTRODUCE EACH NEW IDEA
First, understand what the text says. See ALL the ideas in the text.
Find the meaning words, the words that bring out each idea.
These meaning words have a gong inside them. Hit these words and they ring. Hit the others and there is only a dull thud.
Look at John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God, the Word was God."
The new ideas in the first phrase are, 'the Word', and the Word existing from 'the beginning.'
In the second, 'with God' is the new idea.
In the third, the new idea is, 'was God.'
"You will be ready to suffer with me for the Lord, for He will give you strength in suffering."
In the second half of the sentence 'in suffering' is the old idea. Subdue it.
`He will give you strength' is the new idea. Stress it. Emphasis is not put on 'in suffering' because it is an old idea.

RULE 1: EMPHASISE NEW IDEAS
Try these examples.
A. John made a model of the Opera House. He made the model in five days.
B. Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray.
C. In all my prayers for you, I always pray with joy; and I never give up praying for you.
D. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
E. Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful nor conceited, nor rude.
F. All that the Father gives me will come to me; and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
G. By calling God his own Father, he claimed equality with God.
You will now recognise what are new ideas and will emphasise them. This rule has a reverse. See Rule 2.

RULE 2: SOFT PEDAL OLD IDEAS
DON'T EMPHASISE OLD IDEAS mentioned earlier. Old ideas may have been mentioned three or four sentences before, or even further back. Old ideas are NOT to be emphasised.
"In these colonnades there lay a crowd of sick people, blind, lame, and paralysed. Among them was a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and was aware that he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to recover'?"
You would not emphasise "lying there" or "he had been ill for a long time." The new ideas are "when Jesus saw him . . . and was aware. . . ."

RULE 2: DON'T EMPHASISE OLD IDEAS WHICH WERE MENTIONED EARLIER IN THE TEXT
A. Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going, how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life."
B. "It is my Father who gives you the real bread from heaven, for the bread that God gives is He who comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world." "Sir" they asked Him, "give us this bread always." Jesus told them "I am the bread of life."
RULE 3: BE CAREFUL OF SYNONYMS. YOU DON'T EMPHASISE OLD IDEAS, EVEN WHEN THEY'RE DRESSED UP IN NEW WORDS
Different words may still express an old idea and therefore must be played down.
3A. "He gave up chocolate and ice cream, and tried hard to avoid eating all kinds of sweets."
As chocolate and ice cream are kinds of sweets we don't emphasise kinds of sweets but all. That's the new idea. We would emphasise "tried hard" but subdue "to avoid eating" as it's an old idea expressed in "gave up".
3B. "Have you seen inside the Cathedral? It's a beautiful place of worship."
Cathedral is a place of worship, beautiful is the new idea. Stress "beautiful". Subdue "place of worship."
3C. "I wasn't interested in buying the clock. I thought he was asking too much for such an ancient time¬piece."
A clock is a time-piece therefore don't emphasise an old idea in new words.
Stress "ancient". Subdue "time-piece".
RULE 3: DON'T EMPHASISE SYNONYMS (OLD IDEAS DRESSED UP IN NEW WORDS OR PHRASES)
You, however, are controlled not by your sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.
And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

RULE 4: EMPHASISE WORDS WHICH MAKE A CONTRAST
Some words do more than tell us new ideas, they also make a contrast with an idea already expressed. Therefore emphasise them.
4A. "Hatred provokes disputes. Love covers over all offences."
We emphasise "love" because it is in contrast with "hatred".
4B. "To feel sorry for the needy is not the mark of a Christian, to help them is."
The contrast is between "feeling sorry" and "helping".
4C. "Don't let others spoil your faith and joy with their philosophies, their wrong and shallow answers built on men's thoughts and ideas, instead of on what Christ has said." (Living Bible)
The contrast is between what men teach and what Christ teaches.
The Bible contains many examples of contrast. King Solomon produced hundreds in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. As an exercise try reading Proverbs Chapter II.

RULE 4: EMPHASISE WORDS THAT MAKE A CONTRAST
A. If it's difficult for a good man to be saved, what will become of sinful men?
B. Ask God to bless those who persecute you. Yes, ask Him to bless, not curse.
C. For our fight is not against any physical enemy. It is against organisations and powers which are spiritual.
D. There are two kinds of leaders: those interested in
the flock and those interested in the fleece.
E. Never help an old lady across the street - escort her.


RULE 5A and 5B: WATCH FOR AND EMPHASISE DOUBLE CONTRASTS, AND MULTIPLE CONTRASTS
Sometimes a writer records more than one contrast. He may use a double contrast, when the first idea contrasts with the second, then a third idea contrasts with a fourth.
"Righteousness is the road to life; wickedness is the road to death."
Contrast "righteousness" with "wickedness"; and "life" with "death".
"Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal." Contrast "thoughtless" with "wisely"; and "wound" with "heal".
Writers also use Multiple Contrasts where the first idea contrasts with the second and the third with the fourth, the fifth with the sixth and so on.
"Everyone serves the best wine first, and waits until the guests have drunk freely before serving the poorer sort, but you have kept the best wine till now."
1ST CONTRAST: "Everyone" with "you". 2ND CONTRAST: "Best" with "poorer". 3RD CONTRAST: "First" with "now".
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."
1ST CONTRAST: "Wages" with "gift".
2ND CONTRAST: "Sin" with "God".
3ND CONTRAST: "Death" with "eternal life".
Now emphasise the multiple contrasts in the exercises.

RULE 5A: WATCH FOR DOUBLE CONTRASTS. EMPHASISE WORDS WHICH MAKE THE CONTRASTS
A. It's the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong, easy to do right.
B. For the message of Christ's death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for those who are being saved, it is God's power.
C. I don't understand what I do. I don't do what I'd like to do, but instead I do what I hate.
D. If you forgive the sins of others, God will forgive you.
E. God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.
RULE 5B: WATCH FOR MULTIPLE CONTRASTS. EMPHASISE THE WORDS WHICH MAKE THE CONTRASTS
A. Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundations on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
B. I have come accredited by my Father, and you have no welcome for me, if another comes self-credited you will welcome him.

RULE 6: WATCH FOR AND EMPHASISE SUGGESTED CONTRASTS
Sometimes the writer suggests a contrast when he only expresses half the contrast.
How do you see a suggested contrast?
The meaning makes the suggestion.
6A They said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple. Are you going to raise it again in three days?"
But the temple He was speaking of was His body.
Here we have a suggested contrast between the Temple THEY were speaking of and the Temple HE was speaking of. So stress "HE" suggesting a contrast with the unwritten "THEY".
6B. "For the Scripture says: I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord."
The accent is on "I" both times because the Lord is saying "Vengeance is 'mine, not yours'. You don't take revenge - I do."

RULE 6: WATCH FOR SUGGESTED CONTRASTS. EMPHASISE THAT WORD WHICH SUGGESTS THE CONTRAST
A. You must work, not for this perishable food, but
for the food that lasts, the food of eternal life.

B. There is no difference in the Lord's sight between
one day and a thousand years; to Him the two are the same.
RULE 7: STRESS THE CONTRASTING PRONOUNS
Pronouns are substitutes for nouns so they are usually old ideas and as such should not generally be stressed. However, when the meaning calls for it they should be stressed. This occurs when they make a contrast.
7A Ask her, not him.
7B. This is mine, not yours.
7C. Let us sing, not them.

ANY WORD YOU CAN LEAVE OUT
NEED NOT BE EMPHASISED

RULE 7: STRESS THE CONTRASTING PRONOUNS
A. I am the vine, you are the branches.
B. If we disown Him, He also will disown us.
C. Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world.
D. Keep them safe by the power of your name, so that they may be one as you and I are one.
E. I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world.
F. As He grows greater, I must grow less.


WHEN AN ADJECTIVE AND NOUN COME TOGETHER, WHAT DO YOU EMPHASISE? WHATEVER THE MEANING TELLS YOU TO EMPHASISE
A. He spoke to an OLD MAN.
B. He spoke to an OLD man. (Implies the man wasn't young.)
C. He spoke to an old MAN. (Implies the person wasn't a woman.)

SO THE MEANING DETERMINES WHETHER YOU EMPHASISE BOTH ADJECTIVE AND NOUN; OR THE ADJECTIVE; OR THE NOUN.
But look at these examples.
D. He was a Chinese teacher.
E. He was a giant killer.
F. He was an antique lover.
EACH OF THE PREVIOUS STATEMENTS CAN BE READ TWO WAYS. YOU COULD ONLY KNOW WHAT TO EMPHASISE IF YOU KNEW THE MEANING, AND HERE WE HAVEN'T ENOUGH INFORMATION. SO, FIRST FIND THE MEANING, THEN EMPHASISE THE WORD OR WORDS THAT MAKE THE MEANING CLEAR.

RULE 8: WHEN AN ADJECTIVE AND NOUN COME TOGETHER, MOST OFTEN YOU EMPHASISE THE ADJECTIVE BECAUSE IT DESCRIBES THE NOUN
8A I saw a new film called the Poseidon Adventure. Next week they're showing the Lawless Bunch. Which Adventure? The POSEIDON Adventure. Which Week? NEXT week.
Which Bunch? The LAWLESS Bunch.
8B God has saved us and called us to live a holy life. What kind of life? A HOLY life.
8C Live as obedient children before God.
What kind of children? OBEDIENT children.

RULE 8: WHEN AN ADJECTIVE AND NOUN COME TOGETHER, MOST OFTEN YOU EMPHASISE THE ADJECTIVE BECAUSE IT DESCRIBES THE NOUN
A. Don't let your character be moulded by the desires of your ignorant days.
B. A raving beauty is the girl who came second in the beauty contest.
C. In the days when you were still pagan, you worshipped those dumb heathen gods.
D. Our old sinful nature is against God.
E. Any child raised by the book must be a first edition.
F. Here is a trustworthy saying.
RULE 9: BE CAREFUL OF THE WORD "THING" OR "THINGS".

EMPHASISE THE WORD OR PHRASE WHICH DESCRIBES THE THING
By itself, the word "thing" has no meaning. You find its meaning in the word or words which describe the thing. So, emphasise the word or phrase describing the thing. These are adjectives or adjectival phrases.
"The easiest thing is to find fault."
Which thing? The easiest thing. So emphasise "easiest".

RULE 9: BEWARE OF THE WORD "THING"
A. He gave us His Son. Will He not also freely give us all things?
B. Don't touch unclean thing's.
C. Most folk pay too much for the things they get for nothing.
D. Away then with sinful earthly things! Deaden the evil desires lurking within you.
E. The wisest of us is a fool in some things.
F. Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.
G. By Him all things were created; things in Heaven and on earth.
H. After a man says "I do", he discovers a long list of things he'd better not do.
I. One nice thing about your enemies is that they don't try to borrow money from you.
J. One of the hardest things about business is minding your own.
RULE 10: EMPHASISE VERBS WHEN THE MEANING WANTS THEM EMPHASISED
There is a strong temptation to say, "Ah, the verb, that's where the action is, Let's hit it."
If this is done the voice starts to sound unnatural for this is rarely done in everyday conversation.
Only emphasise the verb when the meaning requires it to be emphasised.
For example: When it talks of something new or makes a contrast.
One occasion when emphasis is required is when the verb commands.
Jump on it! Cut the string! Stop that!
RULE 10: EMPHASISE VERBS WHEN THEY COMMAND
A. Close the door.
B. Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
C. Obey your parents.
D. Leave the box there, and get the lid from Jim. E. Go to mother, tell her Mrs. Smith has arrived and ask her for the parcel.
RULE 11: DON'T STRESS "WHEN"
Beware of over-emphasising the word when. The question to ask yourself is, "when what?"
It is what follows when that is important.
In the sentence, "When they came to the other side of the lake." The emphasis is on "came" or on "other" not on "when".
RULE 11: DON'T STRESS "WHEN"
A. When they came to the other side of the lake .. .
B. When Pilate saw that the crowd was getting out of hand .
C. When they realised the child was dead .. .
D. When they came to the tomb .. .
E. When he had taken the wine, he said ..
RULE 12: SUBDUE WORDS IN PARENTHESIS
What is in parenthesis can be left out without changing the meaning. Anything that can be left out without changing the meaning does not need to be emphasised.
On a road map the main road is shown as a thick strong line. Detours and side roads are mere dotted tines. The printer has emphasised the main road and played down the detour.
In reading out loud we emphasise the main road argument and subdue the extra bits of information.
RULE 12: SUBDUE INFORMATION IN PARENTHESIS
THIS INFORMATION CAN BE LEFT OUT WITHOUT AFFECTING THE MAIN STORYLINE OR LINE OF ARGUMENT.
INFORMATION IN PARENTHESIS MIGHT BE ENCLOSED IN BRACKETS, DASHES, OR COMMAS. SUBDUE IT.
A. Jesus said to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
B. Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
C. Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, "Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?"

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