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Restatement in Action

How to bring clarity through rephrasing

Here is what restatement would look like in a message developed from the following outline, a topical sermon on God's omniscience.


  1. If I say I'm going to do something "quick as a wink," how fast is that?If I say, "I wouldn't do that for all the tea in China," how much tea are we talking about?If I say...
  2. You don't know the answer to these things.But God does.God knows that a wink is one-third of a second.God knows how much tea there is in China.According to a recent estimate...
  3. God knows everything.God is omniscient.
  4. I would like us to see how absolute is God's knowledge, and then be encouraged by what that means to you and me.

I.(God's knowledge is vast, specific, and personal.)

[The parentheses around point I are to indicate that the speaker will not actually say these words at this spot, but will instead pose a question to the listeners and allow the subpoints to cumulatively lead to the truth contained in point I.]
A. God's knowledge is vast — he has given a name to every one of the billions of stars in existence (Psalm 147:4).
B. God's knowledge is specific — he knows the fall of every sparrow (Matthew 10:29).
C. God's knowledge is personal — he knows everything about you.
  1. God knows why you picked to wear what you're wearing today.
  2. God knows what you're going to eat for supper.
  3. God knows how you would act in a certain situation even if you don't know how you would act.
  4. Matthew 10:30-31 teaches that God knows everything about you.

II. God, who knows you so well, will never put you in a situation that is more than you can handle.

A.1 Corinthians 10:13 teaches that God will not permit you to face anything beyond what he knows you can manage.
  1. God will not give you a child too difficult for you to raise.
  2. God will not give you a husband who travels unless he knew...
  3. God will not put you in a situation at work with a boss who...
  4. God will not give you a neighbor you cannot get along with.
B. A personal illustration from my first pastorate made me realize that God would only allow me to experience what he knew I was capable of.


  1. God knows you and your future, and promises you will triumph.
  2. In his omniscience, which is without error, he only brings what he knows you can handle.
  3. Be joyful in that confidence.Our God is good.

Here's how restatement would look in Introduction 3, an important content statement, in Introduction 4, an important structural preview of the main points of the message, and in the transitional question that leads into point I.The restatements are in italics:

God knows these things.That's because God knows everything.Everything it is possible to know, God knows.Everything that can be known, God knows it.That's one of his traits, one of his characteristics.In theology we say it's one of his attributes.The attributes of omniscience — "omni" and "science," "all-knowledge."God has all the knowledge there is.
This morning I would like us to fasten on God's knowledge.I would like us to see how absolute, how complete, how thorough is God's knowledge.I would like us to see how all-encompassing is God's knowledge.And then, having seen it, I would like us to be encouraged by what it means to you and me.I would like us to see how good it is for us to know this.
How absolute is God's knowledge? How encompassing, how vast is God's knowledge?According to the Scriptures, God's knowledge is so vast that he knows the unique characteristics of each star, and has given a name to every one of them....

To restate the summary and transition from IB to IC, and the new concept of IC, the speaker would use such words as

God knows everything.God knows the name of every star.God knows the flutter of every sparrow.But most of all, God knows you.God knows everything about you.God's knowledge is vast, God's knowledge is specific, but most of all God's knowledge is personal.God knows you, inside and out.God knows why you chose to wear what you're wearing this morning....

IC3 is an extremely important content statement, for it not only sets up the several examples to follow, it also becomes the foundation on which the central truth of point II will build.IC3 would be restated

God knows you better than you know yourself.God knows your personality better than you know your own personality.God knows how you would act in certain situations even if you don't know how you would act.God knows how you'd act if your kid crashed his bike into a car and broke his arm.God knows whether you'd whimper...

One last example.The summary of point I, the transition into II, and the restatement of II, which is the central truth of the message, would be done as follows:

This is our God's knowledge — vast, specific, personal.And out of this knowledge, the Scriptures would give us a comforting thought:Out of this omniscience — this all-encompassing, this detailed, this loving omniscience — there comes a promise of God to you.

And it is this: God, who knows you so well, will not put you in any situation that is more than you can handle.God, who knows everything about you, will never allow you to experience anything that is more than you can handle.God's promise to you is this — he will only bring into your life what he knows you are capable of.Please turn to 1 Corinthians 10:13 to see this good promise....

Reprinted from Sundoulos (Fall, 1998)

Donald R. Sunukjian is professor of homiletics and chair of the Christian Ministry and Leadership Department at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

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