The very wise and thorough Misty Keith returns to discuss this week’s Word Nerd Wednesday Word – Exegesis, and I think you’re going to enjoy the way she shows us how to make it a part of our daily lives!
EXEGESIS – Ex.e.ge.sis – /eksəˈjēsis/
The word EXEGESIS is defined as the critical explanation or interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. It is a Greek word that literally means “to lead out of.” This means that the person reading the scriptures is lead to conclusions by following what the scriptures say.
The key word that is associated with exegesis is the word “critical.” Those who read the Bible through the lens of exegesis, have to think in terms of dissecting, examining, picking apart, analyzing, interpreting and explaining the merits and faults of the scriptures. A critical approach is needed in order to comprehend and define the meaning of scripture.
Exegesis is not just a word for Bible scholars and teachers to understand and use, but it is a word that is important for all students of the Bible (those who read the Scriptures) to know and understand. Although the definition of the word exegesis encompasses finding both merit and fault in the Scriptures, one must first understand that fault cannot and will not be found in the scriptures themselves. Fault, due to man’s depravity is only found in the people, actions and circumstances listed within the scriptures.
2 Timothy 3: 16-17 (ESV) says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” We know that a holy and perfect God wrote and inspired the Scriptures, His Spirit then gave humanity the Scriptures to be used and carried out for many different purposes. 2 Samuel 23:2 (ESV) says, “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.” This particular scripture as well as several others indicates that God used people who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to pen His Words.
Further, the word exegesis encompasses several different disciplines within it for studying purposes. Some of those disciplines are textual criticism, grammatical and syntactical features, literary genres and themes, historical and cultural backgrounds, origins of study, author studies, investigations and theory.
Therefore, a person could spend a lifetime studying the Bible with an exegesis approach. Because all scripture is Holy Spirit inspired, the Spirit is given permission to teach and reveal something new each time a person sets out to study God’s Word. This is wonderful! This means that we never have to lose interest or grow weary in our discovery of God’s Son through His Word.
Exegesis versus Eisegesis
To further understand the meaning of exegesis, we must also take a look at its opposite eisegesis. Eisegesis is the interpretation of a passage of Scripture based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which then means the interpreter injects his or her own ideas into the scripture, making it mean whatever they want it to.
As a student of the Holy Scriptures, it is evident that only “exegesis” does justice when interpreting the Bible. Eisegesis is considered a mishandling of God’s Word and often leads to the misinterpretation of His Word. Because exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the scriptures, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting, we can trust what we find in the written word. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of devaluing the intended meaning of the words.
2 Timothy 2:15 directs believers to use exegetical methods for interpreting the scriptures “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (ESV) An honest student with biblical integrity will be an exegete, always allowing the text to speak for itself, not trying to make the text say something that was never intended to be said. Always keep in mind that eisegesis easily lends itself to error, as the interpreter attempts to align the text with his or her own preconceived notions. Exegesis always allows readers to agree with the Bible; eisegesis on the other hand always seeks to force the Bible to agree with its reader.
Tips for processing Bible interpretation in an exegesis manner:
- Observe: Ask yourself, what does the scripture say?
- Interpret: Ask yourself, what does the scripture mean?
- Correlate: Ask yourself, how does this particular scripture or chapter relate to the rest of the Bible?
- Apply: Ask yourself how should this passage affect my life?
Using a Bible commentary:
In conclusion, each one of us is capable of producing our own commentary on and of the Bible. The question is, do we commentate using exegesis or eisegesis? As you go about studying God’s Holy Word, always handle it with absolute truth and respect. If you decide to check and see what others have to say about the Bible, make sure that they also are using an exegesis approach to studying the Word. Never underestimate the Holy Spirit. He alone is the perfect teacher and interpreter of the Scriptures. After all, He inspired them in the first place.
Hello, my name is Misty Ann. I am a daughter of the King of all Kings, wife to Richard, Mommy to Reagan (12 years), Kylee (10 years), and Karis Delaney (7 years). I am a teacher by trade, an encourager and up-lifter by calling and a writer by practice. I enjoy being a friend to those who will have me.
I understood from early adulthood and beyond that I would never fit. The Lord helped me to realize that He called me to stand out and because of this, I am forever grateful and at peace with how He has made me and who He has made me to be.
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.
You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful;
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. (Psalm 139:14 – The Voice)
Just A Little More About Me…..
My family and I live just outside the Austin, Texas area. I homeschool all three of my children and teach Reading for a private college in the Master’s/Credentialing program. I stay busy and enjoy the hobbies of Reading, Writing, Scrap-booking, Bible-Journaling and Running.
As a family, we attend Hill Country Bible Church. We enjoy traveling and take “family fieldtrips” often. All of life is an adventure and we are thankful for every life lesson that the Lord teaches us in the process.
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday.