Exegesis

Exegesis is the process by which a text, as a concrete expression of a “sender” to a “ receiver,” is systematically explained.

In Biblical exegesis only the text itself (and related texts) can provide access to this triad: sender->text->receiver in which the text functions as the medium of a message between a (human) sender and receiver now gone.

We all know that just about anything can be explained in more ways than one. Everyone has their own point of view or their take on just about everything under the sun; including the written word.

However, if understanding writings such as the Bible was easy, there would never be any discussions or questions raised as to what the writer was actually intending to say. That's why Exegesis is important. A guide to more exegesis details.

Working it Out

To hopefully rid ourselves of any unintentional fault that we could possibly over generalize or under analyze any written text, there are steps established to help reduce any errors that may occur.

There are six steps of which each one involves critical thinking on the reader's part; however, if taken one at a time each step will be easier than trying to complete all of the steps at once. These steps are:

  • Ascertain that the context of the text is an entire piece
  • Identify the text's context or historical setting
  • Analyze the substance of the written text
  • Analyze both the content and the context of the text using various critical methods
  • Examine the text from a theological stand point
  • Add in your personal thoughts and conclusions

Ascertain, analyze and examine all do sound like a lot of work. But breaking the text down into smaller parts and thinking about what is being said, so that it won't be as difficult to comprehend the message when you preach it.

Make note of certain points that stand out, unknown terms and even the type of structure of the text.

If you need to, by all means use a biblical dictionary. If there is particular piece of text that seems to be common, do some separate research on that particular term or phrase.

You never know what you'll find when searching the Internet. Understanding the written structure (i.e.: parallelism, rhetoric) of the text will also help to understand why the words were placed in such an order.

An Example of Over Thinking

Being able to properly read a piece of literature is important but it's even more important to understand the content that you are reading.

Our minds can turn something that is black and white into a menagerie of colors without even thinking about it. Interpretation is everything; just like this following segment.

Please keep in mind the definition of Exegesis as you read on.

An article on the Internet was reviewing how the meaning of text can be misinterpreted .

It was noted that there is scripture within the Bible which states that God favors Macs over Windows. The scripture in question is Jeremiah 9:21 and Song of Solomon 2:5.

The first verse states "death has come through our windows" while the second passage states "refresh me with apples, for I am lovesick."

I am sure that the individual was merely joking with their interpretation in order to stop the teasing that they were receiving about having a Mac versus a Windows based computer.

The point is, that the meaning of any text can be manipulated. Can you think of any text that you have questioned or altered the meaning of?

Critical thinking doesn't mean that you must have a degree in literature to understand a written text.

But simply that you are taking into consideration who wrote the text, when was it written, how it was written and what was the intended purpose of the writing.

Just be sure that you are not under or over analyzing the text; only a solid Exegesis.

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