Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Exegetical Process

The way I do exegesis is that I deal with the text first without any other aid. I want to see the literary context of the book, the smaller pericope, and the use of the words, grammar, and syntax in that context first. I draw that data in and form a preliminary conclusion. 

Only then do I consult lexicons, commentaries, monographs, etc. in case there is vital information that I missed, or perhaps, have not seen the text correctly. 

I, personally, think this is the best way to do exegesis if one has the skill to do it. For me it is the difference between building a rocket and buying a rocket. I may have a good rocket when I buy one, but that doesn't give me knowledge of the rocket itself. It doesn't show me how the rocket was built inside and out. Likewise, if I merely adopt the conclusions of someone else, I am not really aware of why those conclusions are necessarily valid. 

This becomes all the more important as truth has many counterfeits. Doing exegesis this way does not guarantee truth (there are presuppositions and blindspots in terms of a lack of information many times in play), but it at least places me in the position of seeing all of the data and arguments possible before just grabbing at a position I like best due to other factors that are not exegetical in nature. 

This is also why I don't care for debates where my opponents cite to me a bunch of secondary literature without having thought through the issues themselves. To me, that's unthoughtful and lazy. It is just relying upon the opinion of someone else as an authority that should trump the exegesis of someone else. And it is appealed to in order to do just that. Do your own work, and bring in the opinions of others afterward.

As an aside, I also think that growth occurs when one does his own exegesis, whereas, there seems to be very little when one does not. God honors the labor of those who seek Him diligently through the Word. It does not seem he will honor those who want to be spoon-fed, not because they are called by God to do so as layman, but because they are called by God to study His Word, but simply don't want to bother. 


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