More Information
ISBN: 9781839737930
Imprint: Langham Monographs
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 16
Publication Date: 31/10/2023
Pages: 292
Series: Studies in Homiletics
Language: English

Seeing and Showing the Unseen

Using Cognitive Linguistics in Preaching Images and Metaphors


As humans, we think in images and cannot do otherwise. Thus, metaphor and imagery, often viewed as complex literary devices, are in fact the very building blocks of human thought and essential components for understanding the nature of God.

Exploring how the God of Scripture reveals himself through metaphor and imagery, Dr. Adam Szumorek utilizes Cognitive Linguistics to help students, teachers, and preachers understand how meaning is communicated in Scripture and conceptualized within the human brain. He provides a theological framework for applying Cognitive Linguistics in biblical exegesis, demonstrating its value in aiding our understanding of biblical texts and in communicating that understanding to others through sermons that speak to people’s minds, hearts, and imaginations. Both richly conceptual and deeply practical, this book equips readers to communicate the unseen, allowing others to taste, touch, and see the invisible yet incarnate God.

Author Bios

Adam Szumorek

ADAM SZUMOREK is a preacher, teacher, and writer. He has a PhD in homiletics from Spurgeon’s College, UK, and currently serves as a teaching pastor at TOMY Christian Fellowship, Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. He also works with Proem Ministries, where he is involved in educational and missional projects, and with Langham Preaching, where he serves as a volunteer facilitator.


In this remarkable book, Adam Szumorek proposes that conceptual metaphor theory can be used to good effect in preaching. He convincingly argues that the understanding of the word of God invitesreliance on conceptual metaphors, since the process of God’s revelation unfolds through embodied (metaphorical) images, a major focus of attention by cognitive linguists. But in a clear-headed way, he also points out that cognitive linguistics cannot and should not be viewed as the only and ultimate tool ofbiblical hermeneutics.

Zoltán Kövecses, PhD
Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary

The perennial challenge facing preachers is how to communicate what Scripture says in such a way as to allow listeners to enter the world of the text and come away with not just more information, but with their view of the world transformed and their lives shaped by the gospel. Adam Szumorek addresses this by making use of conceptual metaphor theory (CMT) within cognitive linguistics. He not only connects CMT with key issues in hermeneutics but goes on to show how, in practice, this can be used to open up Scripture in powerful and effective ways.

Ian Paul, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Fuller Theological Seminary, California, USA
Associate Minister, St. Nicholas Church, Nottingham, UK

Dr. Szumorek provides a thoughtful and helpful roadmap for us to more holistically communicate God’s word to God’s world. He does this by helping us better understand how we conceptualize ideas in order to understand biblical metaphors and communicate them in ways that speak more effectively to theminds, emotions, and imaginations of ourselves and others. His book is well researched, insightful, and practical. Get your copy soon!

Tony Twist, PhD
President & Chief Executive Officer,
TCM International Institute

The question of how to understand the rich variety of imagery in the Bible and communicate it in meaningful ways today is a vital one for Christian preachers and teachers. In this book, Adam Szumorek draws on his expertise in the field of cognitive linguistics and his experience as a preacher and teacher ofpreaching to offer a carefully grounded theoretical basis for this process, leading to detailed practical suggestions.

Stephen Wright, PhD
Formerly Vice Principal and Academic Director,
Spurgeon’s College, UK

Table of Contents

  1. List of Diagrams
  2. Introduction
    1. 1. Interdisciplinary Character
    2. 2. Cognitive Linguistic Perspective and Its Challenges
    3. 3. Main Research Question
    4. 4. State of Research
    5. 5. Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Preaching
    6. 6. Research Objectives
    7. 7. Book Overview
    8. 8. Novelty of the Research
    9. 9. Limitations of the Research
  3. Chapter 1 The Theological Framework for Utilizing Cognitive Linguistics in Preaching
    1. 1.1 Revelation of the Unseen God: The Image-Maker as the Context for Utilizing Cognitive Linguistics and as the Foundation for Preaching Metaphors and Images
    2. 1.2 Implications of God’s Revelation for Developing a Theological Framework for Showing the Unseen by Using Metaphors and Images in Preaching
    3. 1.3 Chapter Summary
  4. Chapter 2 Attempts to See the Unseen: Different Views on Metaphor and Conceptual Metaphor Theory
    1. 2.1 Understanding Developments of Metaphor Theory
    2. 2.2 Understanding Basic Assumptions of Cognitive Linguistics and Conceptual Metaphor Theory
    3. 2.3 Chapter Summary
  5. Chapter 3 New Ways of Seeing the Unseen: Understanding the Key Elements of Cognitive Linguistics and Applying Them to the Interpretation of Biblical Texts
    1. 3.1 Model of the Conceptual World
    2. 3.2 Categories, Prototypes, and Frames
    3. 3.3 The Structure of Metaphor
    4. 3.4 Chapter Summary
  6. Chapter 4 Sharpening the Vision: Applying Cognitive Linguistics to Hermeneutics
    1. 4.1 Cognitive Linguistics on the Author, the Text, and the Reader
    2. 4.2 Metaphors as a Part of Discourse
    3. 4.3 Summary of Methodology of Biblical Metaphor Analysis
    4. 4.4 Chapter Summary
  7. Chapter 5 Showing the Unseen: Cognitive Linguistics and Preaching Metaphors and Images
    1. 5.1 Preaching and Imagination: Connecting the World of the Bible and the World of the Listeners
    2. 5.2 Cognitive Linguistics and Preaching Biblical Texts, Images, and Metaphors
    3. 5.3 Chapter Summary
  8. Conclusion
  9. Bibliography