Word of the Week: Exegesis

By Elizabeth Prata

The thread of Christianity from generation to generation depends on a mutual understanding of our important words. Hence the Word of the Week.

Past Words of the Week have included Justification, Transcendence, Immanence, Propitiation, Sanctification, Glorification, Orthodoxy, Heresy, Omniscience, Aseity, and Immutability. I then went to a series examining each of the 9 characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and on December 29, 2018, wrapped up the Fruit series with Self-Control. Now it’s back to individual words of the week. Last week I chose Angel.

This week the word is EXEGESIS

Exegesis – the study of a particular text of Scripture in order to properly interpret it; the process of understanding a text and making plain its meaning (see 2 Timothy 2:15)

Exegesis is when a person interprets a text based solely on what it says. That is, he extracts out of the text what is there as opposed to reading into it what is not there (Compare with Eisegesis). There are rules to proper exegesis: read the immediate context, related themes, word definitions, etc., that all play a part in properly understanding what something says and does not say.

Ex- means out of. As in excuse, Latin for ‘out of’ and cause, literally, free from a charge.

Expel, ex- meaning out and pellere, to drive.

Excentric (eccentric) out of, and center.

Exegesisexēgéomai, (Greek) I explain, interpret and ex, out

The author of the exegesis definition immediately above puts to practice the rules for interpretation he’d outlined in the Exegesis essay. He shows how to interpret Matthew 24:40, the famous statement by Jesus about two people in the field and one taken and one left. Most people who do not apply the rules for exegesis interpret that by looking at the surface and thinking it means the rapture. But does it? See for yourself.

At Ligonier, Anthony Carter’s essay outlines the Consequences of Poor Exegesis.

John MacArthur asks and answers in this sermon, How Should We Interpret the Bible?

Tim Challies’ essay on two examples of exegetical fallacies (misinterpretations)

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