By Mark Molina
Today in America we can hear a sermon every 30 minutes via the television, internet and radio. There are at least a dozen Christian television stations and innumerable Christian radio stations. There is a church on virtually every corner up and down the streets of America. There are too many denominations to name from memory.
With all of these different opinions, ideas, presentations, explanations and doctrinal statements of faiths, how can any of us ensure we are rightly and correctly interpreting the Bible? Is there a safeguard for us to comprehend truth from error? How can we understand what we are reading in the Bible? What is the correct way to interpret it? Does it matter whether or not I read it or know it? After all, isn’t it the Pastor’s job to tell us what it says and means?
Does the Bible give counsel to us on our responsibility to know scripture? Yes: “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP)
Apparently the Bible does assign responsibility to us. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NKJV)
In the nation of Israel, each individual person understood that it was their holy and solemn responsibility to know the Word and teach it to each one in their family. It was a National practice for all.
As we have lost that sense of responsibility to know and teach the Holy Scriptures to our families and ourselves how can we make sure we are learning truth? I am going to address this in a few segments this month. Let’s first look at the word “exegesis.” What does this word mean?
Exegesis means “exposition or explanation.” Biblical exegesis involves the examination of a particular text of scripture in order to properly interpret it. Exegesis is a part of the process of hermeneutics, which is the science of interpretation.
Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means, “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.
What does all this mean? It’s simple. Scripture should interpret scripture. If we are going to be good students of the Bible we must take the time to read all of it. What is the full counsel of God? It is revealed from the first page of Genesis to the last page of Revelation.
This is the danger of many teachings today. A pastor may use what he or she deems a good or positive idea and attach a scripture to it and say, “See! This is what is means!” Then we say, “Wow! Okay! It’s positive and makes and me feel good so it must be correct!”
The process of exegesis has four parts. 1) Observation: what does the passage say? 2) Interpretation: what does the passage mean? 3) Correlation: how does the passage relate to the rest of the Bible? 4) Application: how should this passage affect my life? A concordance (Biblical index of words) is a huge safeguard and help in understanding the Bible and textual application.
If you’re still not convinced of the importnce of Bible study, please read Acts 17:10-11 ”…they received the message with great eagerness AND EXAMINED the Scriptures EVERY DAY to see if what Paul said was TRUE.” (emphasis added) It is our solemn responsibility to know truth.