In preparation for a class on preaching that I am teaching, I came across this helpful discussion of the purposes of sermon illustrations although, I think some of the points could be combined.
- Inform and instruct
- Explain and clarify
- Can help the preacher connect and identify and identify with his people
- An aid to memorization and recall
- Helps to capture and retain attention
- Motivate, persuade, and convince
- Allow for mental relaxation
- Help people see the immediate relevance of the biblical text for their lives
- Personalize and particularize the general/universal truths revealed in the Bible
- Make biblical truth believable
- Create interest
- Explain biblical doctrine and personal duty in an understandable and compelling way.
Daniel Akin, Bill Curtis, and Stephen Rummage, Engaging Exposition (Nashville B&H Academic, 2011), 199-200 (with some modification).