His Love Letter
What if you sat down and wrote an intentional, well-organized, personal letter to someone you love? That person finally receives the letter and he or she starts reading, but they begin, in the middle of the letter. Then they begin taking a sentence here and there and determining the meaning based on how they feel, all the while, omitting the context and grammatical structure. At that point, they could make you say whatever they want you to say, therefore, missing the purpose and loving intention of the letter. You would want them to take the context and grammatical structure into consideration, so they catch what you are trying to communicate to them right? Or what if they just didn`t care enough to read it and respond? Both responses are equally as bad and heartbreaking. God has chosen to communicate with us through His Word. He has written His love letter to us and He wants us to read it with careful consideration and intentionality.
What Is Hermeneutics?
Hermeneutics is a big word with a lot of history behind it. Hermeneutics is defined as the science and art of Bible interpretation. Some things that we should keep in mind when studying the Bible are that context and grammatical analysis are extremely important.
What Is Exegesis and Eisegesis?
Exegesis and Eisegesis are two conflicting ways to study and interpret specific passages in the Bible.
Second Timothy 2:15 says, “Present yourselves to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Believers have a responsibility to study God`s word diligently and correctly. We must “correctly handle the Word of Truth.” There are different genres, audiences, and writing styles that should be taken into account when you study God`s Word. Writing is a beautiful way to communicate with someone. There is something incredibly special about a guy who takes the time to write a letter to a girl that he loves. As we walk in humility and dependence upon God while studying His Word, He gives us the wisdom that we need to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him. So what`s the difference between Exegesis and Eisegesis and why is it important?
Hermeneutics And Exegesis:
What is the difference between Hermeneutics and Exegesis? Hermeneutics deals with the approach to biblical interpretation. For example, there is the literal method of interpretation and there is the allegorical method of interpretation. Whereas Exegesis deals with the interpretation of a specific passage in the text.
Exegesis literally means, “to lead out of.” Exegesis means that the reader starts with the text and draws conclusions, about the meaning, based on historical-cultural and grammatical analysis. When you follow this line of thought, God`s word remains authoritative. You can grasp what God is trying to teach you rather than beginning with your own ideas and twisting God`s word to make it fit your own opinions.
Historical Context: Practical Exegesis Of A Passage
Every book of the Bible has a specific audience in mind. The audience has a specific language, culture, geography, and historical situation that`s important for the reader to consider. Some questions to ask when you are thinking about the historical context are:
- Is it written to a Jewish, Gentile, or mixed audience?
- What is the culture like (geography, language, agriculture, etc.)?
- What kind of laws do they have in place?
- What are the problems and situations addressed in the book?
- What are some key themes that the author uses to address the situations?
For example, in Acts 17:16-18, it`s important to note that Paul is in Athens speaking with a group of Greek philosophers. I took a class on Greek history and one thing that stuck with me regarding Greek philosophers was this: If you have five Greeks in a room…you`ll have ten or more opinions. This statement embodies much of their culture and worldview. The Greeks were known for debating every side of an issue, whether it be big or small. Athens was the hub of Greek philosophy at the time Paul was passing through. When you understand that they worshipped many gods, you understand why Paul responded to them in the way that he did. Zeus was a Greek god of life. Paul played off of the Greek worldview to show them that only the God of Israel doesn’t need anyone or anything, and that He is the only one who can give life.
Acts 17:24, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
Grammatical Analysis: Practical Exegesis Of A Passage
When you study God`s Word look for grammatical clues that help you understand the meaning of the passage. Word studies are important in getting the range of meaning for a word used in Scripture. Different types of literary features are used throughout the Bible. Some grammatical aspects of the text that you should look for are:
- Repetition of Words
- Figures of Speech
- Adjectives, Adverbs, Pronouns
- Contrasts, tone, emotional terms, and dialogue
The Opposing Approach: Eisegesis
Eisegesis literally means “to lead into.” Studying Scripture with this approach doesn’t do the text justice because it often leads to open-ended misinterpretation. “Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words (Gotquestions.org).” The Eisegetical method places man`s word above God`s Word. When you omit the historical context and the grammatical structure of the text, you can make it say anything you want to, and that is a dangerous place to be. God`s word should always come before our feelings and opinions.
Correctly Handling The Word of Truth
At Ethnos360 Bible Institute, we desire to “correctly handle the Word of truth.” Having an understanding of Hermeneutics and Exegesis is important when it comes to studying the Bible. Studying the Bible exegetically keeps the focus where it should be, on God`s Word. God`s Word must remain authoritative rather than man`s word. At every point in history that the Church fails, it`s always because they move away from the authority of God`s Word. The first step in missionary training with Ethnos360 is two years of intense Bible study. Request your free information packet today!