Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What's That?

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." - Acts 17:11

I apologize that I have not been blogging over the last several days.  I am trying to get back into my normal morning routine, so here we go!

Today, I want to do something that is a little different than normal.  Have you ever heard the words exegesis and eisegesis?  If you are like most of people, you are probably saying to your self right now, "What's that?"

Exegesis - an attempt to discover the meaning of the text objectively, starting with the text and moving out from there.

Eisegesis - to import a subjective, preconceived meaning into the text.

I am afraid that most of us have been taught to interpret the Bible through eisegesis, by bringing our own preconceived ideas and beliefs of what we have been told the text says.  However, that is absolutely unscriptural to do so.  Notice above in Acts 17:11 that the Bereans received the Word with all readiness of mind and that they searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being taught was accurate.  What a huge difference we see in how they received and studied the Word than what you see in our modern day church culture!

When we interpret the Bible through eisegesis we start with an idea or conviction, then we search for Bible verses to prove our point.  This is very dangerous because we can take verses out of context to support just about any point of view.  We see this so much in many of our Evangelical and especially in our Fundamental churches.  When we interpret the Bible through eisegesis alone, we are going to have a twisted view of Scripture.

We must learn to interpret the Bible through exegesis, where we attempt to discover the meaning of the text objectively, without bringing any of our preconceived ideas about the text.  I want you to notice what Francis Chan has to say about exegesis: "I was taught to interpret the Scriptures through exegesis alone.  Start with God's Word; pray that the Spirit gives you clarity; then study to see what the text actually says.  The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible, so who better to help us as we seek to understand it!  Scripture tells us that the Spirit not only inspired the Bible, but also illumines it for us today."  If you will honestly and sincerely study the Bible through exegesis alone, it will surprise you how much of the Bible that you were actually misinterpreting before and taking totally out of context.

You and I can easily pursue just about any lifestyle we desire and then find Scripture to show everyone that it is alright to live that way.  We see this being done by many Christians in our churches today, and we also see it being done by many pastors from behind the pulpit.  Here is the question that I have for you, what would it look like for you and I to live exegetically?  If you and I were to start with Scripture and allow it to dictate our actions, how would you and I live?

The bottom line is that we have so many Christians and even pastors today that are interpreting the Bible through eisegesis and not exegesis.  As we approach God's Holy Word, we must lose all of our preconceived notions and beliefs about what we have been told that it means, and we must search the Scriptures for ourselves through exegesis alone.

Prayer For Today:

Heavenly Father, as I read Your Word, help me to lose all of my preconceived ideas about the text and allow Your Spirit to guide me in understanding.  I pray that as I read through Your Word that the Holy Spirit would open my eyes to what the passage is actually saying and help me to apply that truth to my life.  In Jesus name, Amen!

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