Posted by: StrongStakes | February 16, 2010

Exegesis vs. Eisegesis


In the preface to Francis Chan‘s newest book, “The Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit,” he differentiates between two approaches to biblical interpretation:  “exegesis” and “eisegesis.”

The dictionary defines exegesis as “critical explanation or interpretation of a text, esp. of the Bible.” Francis adds: “… starting with the text and working outward, objectively.”

The dictionary defines eisegesis as “an interpretation, esp. of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.” Francis adds: “Eisegesis, … is when you start with an idea or conviction, then search for verses in the Bible to prove your point … The danger in this is that we can take verses out of context to support just about any point of view.”

How does this apply to our Monday night men’s Bible study?

To quote Francis again: “The bottom line is that we can easily pursue just about any lifestyle we desire, then find Scriptures to show everyone it’s all right to live that way.” Instead, like Francis, we will “Start with God’s Word; pray that the Spirit gives (us) 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?”

Finally, “… what would it look like to live exegetically?  If we were to start with Scripture and allow it to dictate our actions, how would we live?”

As we embark on a several-month-long journey through the N.T. book of Romans, ponder the exhortations in the following Scriptures:

  • 2 Peter 1:19-21
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • 2 Timothy 4:1-2
  • 1 Corinthians 2:12-16

“Now these were more noble-minded … for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” ~ Acts 17:11

~ tr

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