Exegesis? Eisegesis? The Real Jesus?
I’ll never forget one of the first days at seminary. I heard a couple of words that had never entered my ears before. “Exegesis” (pronounced “X-a-Jesus”) and “Eisegesis” (pronounced “Ice-a-Jesus”). I immediately thought I had enrolled in the wrong seminary because they were talking about a false Jesus. I just knew of One and was told all my life there was only One! “Oh no!” I thought. “I was warned that something like this might happen! I moved my wife to a place that believes there are multiple Jesus’!!!”
Thankfully, before I packed up everything and stormed out of that “liberal seminary,” the professor proceeded to explain what he meant. Exegesis is a fancy word that basically means to figure out the meaning text of Scripture. Or, to ask of the text, “What’s going on and what’s the point?” Eisegesis, on the other hand, is not trying to figure out what the text says, but reads into the text what the “interpreter” wants it to say. The “Exegete” works hard at determining what the biblical author meant when he was inspired of the Spirit to write what he wrote. The “Eisegete” works hard to make the text say what he/she thinks it should say.
I was incredibly relieved to hear the professor proceed to explain that the job of the preacher is to diligently EXEGETE the text of Scripture before seeking to apply what the text means. Everyone brings their own thoughts, agenda, notions to the text (eisegesis). But a genuine expositor of the Word works hard through blood, sweat, and tears if necessary to determine what the text meant (exegesis) when it was written.
The goal of exegesis? Understand, see, experience, and be able to explain the glories of the REAL JESUS.
Preacher, work hard this week. Recognize your own tendency to eisegesis. Do necessary exegesis so to help your people see and know and share the one and only Jesus.