Before you accuse/teach me, take a look at yourself: exegeting yourself

Yesterday’s post on choosing “fan” over “follower,” or at least not throwing out the word “fan” was basically an exercise in exegesis.

According to Wikipedia, which as Micheal Scott points out, “Anyone can put anything up there, and change things at any time, so you know you’re only getting the best information,” here is a working definition:

Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξήγησις from ἐξηγεῖσθαι ‘to lead out’) is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term “Biblical exegesis” is used for greater specificity. The goal of Biblical exegesis is to explore the meaning of the text which then leads to discovering its significance or relevance.

Typically when religious folks like myself think of exegesis, they think about examining the bible to determine exactly what it means so that they can apply the passage to life. But I would argue that my favor of “fan” is an exercise in exegesis as well. And even a much needed one.

A recent discussion on sanctification at General Assembly only confirmed my thoughts and even added a new categorie to my thinking. If one is going to exegete the scriptures and teach them to others, he/she must not stop at biblical exegesis, or his/her teaching and application will actually fall short. Exegesis of scripture without exegeting other factors will limit your effectiveness as a teacher, pastor, parent, friend hoping to pass on the gospel and its depth to both Christians and non-Christians.

Here are several categories that Bryan Chappell and Mike Ross put forth as exegetical necessities if we are to properly exegete and apply the scriptures. They were directed primarily to pastors and elders, but they are apropos for anyone seeking to share and/or apply the gospel.

1.)  Exegete yourself. You have to take a look within yourself. You have to know yourself if you are going to “get out” from the text what God intended, and what God intends to be applied today. When you teach others, you cannot simply assume your experience with a particular issue is universal. For instance, if your parents made you go to church as a child and you didn’t want to, and it made you not want to go as an adult, you cannot assume that experience is universal. My parents made me go, and I only missed a few Sundays when I was in college. Same with my wife.  In other words, you might be prone to legalism and hate it, but your kids, neighbors, students, might be prone to thinking the gospel promotes freedom to ignore and discard God’s law. We have to understand ourselves to understand and apply the scriptures. To borrow from Eric Clapton, “Before you accuse me (or teach me-my addition obviously), take a look at yourself.”

2.) Exegete your culture. You have to know your culture in order to teach to those within your culture (you are also within that culture-we can’t escape!). That’s why I think the word “fan” means something here that it might not somewhere else.  I’ve already illustrated this exegesis of culture in my previous post.

Since I dislike, and don’t read long blog posts, I’ll stop here and post a few more exegetical categories tomorrow and the next day.

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