Last week, beloved, we discussed hermeneutics and it’s roll in protecting us from twisting Gods Word. Today I’d like to talk about exegesis in comparison to eisegesis. These are big, fun words to say, like hermeneutics, but they’re actually very simple concepts to understand and apply.
Exegesis is the careful study of the meaning in each verse based on its context, the grammar used, the original language it was written in, and syntax. For proper exegesis of Gods Word we use the whole counsel of the Bible to form our beliefs. When I became a Christian I had to take everything I had been taught, everything I believed and set it aside, pick up the Bible and let God instruct me. How I felt, my experiences, and my previous training were not allowed to overshadow or muddy the scripture. Still today, when I hear something I don’t understand, or haven’t heard before, I take it to Gods Word. Not to bend Gods Word to what I’ve heard, but to be sure it agrees with Gods Word. If it doesn’t, it goes out the window.
Eisegesis, on the other hand, is reading into the text what you think it says. In this way, you come to the Bible with your own belief and seek to prove that belief with scripture. This is where most of the misuse of scripture begins. There are two ways we see Eisegesis, firstly when a Biblical truth is wrongly applied to a verse like Jeremiah 28:11. God does have a wonderful plan for all our lives, although what God deems as wonderful might not be what we had in mind, like Peter who was crucified upside down, or John the Baptist who lost his head. Either way, this verse in its context has nothing to do with you or me, it’s specifically directed to ancient Israel. The second way we see this is erroneous views applied wrongly to verses, making it twice as incorrect. We see this with Proverbs 23:7, where the Charismatic Movement wrongly applies the unbiblical belief that our words have power to a verse used out of context. Eisegesis is usually masked with emotionalism making it popular in a feelings oriented world where truth is relative.
With proper hermeneutics and exegesis you can avoid errant, heretical, or blasphemous views on the Bible. God has blessed us with His holy, inspired, inerrant Word, we have to treat that Word with great care. None of us enjoy being taken out of context, or misquoted in any way. How much more so should we take care not to do this to God, our Creator, or Savior, Lord of Lord and King of Kings? So as always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.