This is simply a continuation of the previous post on exegesis. The pastor, teacher, parent, friend, evangelist’s primary object of exegesis is the scriptures. If we don’t have that, we only have opinions. But as I’ve argued already, you will limit your effectiveness in applying and connecting the scriptures (their commands and promises) to people without also exegeting your culture and yourself.
But there are a few more categories I head posited to me while at General Assembly a few weeks ago.
Exegete your church
Each church is different. They really are. I preached at a PCA church in Barboursville, WV last week. I’ll be tweaking it and re-preaching the same sermon this week. My exegesis of scriptures will be very similar, just some minor changes here and there. However, my application section is very different. We have different people who struggle with different idols. The church’s look different, music is different, and the people are just different. So my application section is being re-worked based upon my exegesis of this particular church: its idols, its issues, its sufferings. I’m aware of some of the struggles people face because I know them personally. Therefore I try to think through what people need to hear as well as how they will hear it. Any improving teacher is aware of what is going on not only in the culture of what his students, kids, are facing, but specifically aware of the lives of his/her students in his/her church.
Exegete the generation.
I’m well versed on the need to exegete the culture in order to best apply the bible, but this was something I hadn’t necessarily thought too much about. Mike Ross, pastor Christ Covenant in Charlotte, NC, discussed the need to think through how different generations see things differently. Sometimes these differences are not even sinful differences; they are just different.
Younger people tend to take more risk, older folks tend to take fewer and focus on maintaining. The “greatest” generation is very loyal, and duty and commitment are important. My generation doesn’t think too highly about either. Sadly. Can you guess which one tends toward legalism and which one tends toward license (though obviously not across the board)? Not only that, but you have the middle school generation which is prone to moralize things and thus miss Jesus. Can’t forget them!
You have college students, you have singles, young families, empty nesters, you have retirees, and whatever is the next stage after that, etc..
When we preach, teach, direct, encourage, admonish, its best to think through the question: how would this person best “hear” what is being said?
Sound like a lot of work? Teaching, preaching, parenting, discipling, shepherding is. Of course most of this takes place organically in the context of relationships and not through extra study time. Knowing the bible, knowing yourself, knowing your church, and knowing your people will help them and you better know your Savior.