“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
What in the world are you talking about Andy? Those words are beyond me! When I was in college many moons ago, I learned a way to study the Bible that has been with me now for over thirty years. Recently I had someone ask how I study the Bible? My response? Simple by eisegesis and exegesis. OK, just what do these words mean? Well, let’s define these words, Eisegesis and Exegesis, and see.
eis·e·ge·sis- [ahy-si-jee-sis] noun, plural eis·e·ge·ses [ahy-si-jee-seez] an interpretation, especially of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.
I believe this word, eisegesis, speaks for itself. It is here that we must be careful in studying the Word of God. It is here we must stop and ask ourselves if while we are study the Bible are we really receiving the truth or, are we placing our own world view in Scripture to make it fit our lifestyle and thereby rewriting scripture. There is a strong warning against changing the Word of God. How can anyone receive and absorb the truth if it is not the truth? How can we expect to fill our hearts with the Word of God if we, and everyone else changes it to accommodate their individual desire? Simple, WE CANNOT!
“You shall not add to the Word which I am commanding you, or take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you”
ex·e·ge·sis [ek-si-jee-sis] noun, plural ex·e·ge·ses [ek-si-jee-seez]. Critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible.
To me an exegesis is simply a process of breaking down the sentences, phrases and word in the Scripture. It is what the Berean’s did in the New Testament (Acts 17:11). They didn’t just listen to what was being said they went to the Scripture to research it and find out for themselves the Truth. A testing of the Spirits so to speak; the Word teaches us to do just that (John 4:1).
“The discipline of study is central to the whole process of renewing the mind in such a way that we can respond in appropriate ways to the truths of God’s Word. Study of Scripture involves not only reading, but active involvement in observation, interpretation, and application of its contents. This discipline also includes devotional reflection on the beauties and intricacies of nature as well as exposure to gifted writers and teachers in the past and in the present. Many believers associate Bible study with drudgery; limiting themselves to mere samples, they never cultivate a true taste for its contents. There are two basic reasons for this problem: lack of a proper motivation and lack of a proper method.” (bible.org) Determine your motivation. Is it right with God? What is your method? Is it simply listening to the preacher on Sunday mornings? Do not be afraid to dig into commentaries and writings of others to clarify questions you man encounter. However, decide for yourself whether what they have written corresponds with the Word of God before accepting it as truth.
The way I was taught in college was to take a verse like this:
John 1:1 (RSV) “(a)IN the beginning was (b)the Word and the Word (c)was with God, (d)and the Word was God.”
Notice the red letters in the verse. The Bible will not have them in red. I have them marked in red to make my point.
If we take letter (a) and look to the reference on just this letter here is what I find in my RSV
1. Genesis 1:1~ “(a)IN the beginning (b)God (c)created the heavens and the earth.”
2. There are other references (Col 1:17; 1 John 1:1) but I am only using the first one (Gen 1:1) to demonstrate what I am trying to say.
(a) IN the beginning ~
Psalm 102:25~ “Of old thou didst (a)found the earth; and the (b)heavens are the work of thy hands.”
References for (a): Genesis 1:1 this cross references and confirms the first scripture.
Other Ref to Psalm 102:25(a) ~ Neh. 9:6; Heb 1:10-12
Study each of these references and their references to exhaustion. Then go back to the reference on Genesis 1:1 ~ Isa. 40:21~ study it the same way.
You will notice that this verse in Genesis will take you back to John 1:1. How about that?
So when you are referred back to John 1:1 go to the second reference for John 1:1(a) which is Colossians 1:17~ “And He (1)(a)is before all things, and in Him all things (2)hold together.”
Here we have a (1) & (2) ~ it simply means there is a definition, explanation, or confirmation. Here (1) refers to the words, “is before” and say it means, “Or has existed prior too.”
(a) He is before all things
(1) Has existed prior too
(2) Hold together (In Him all things hold together)
References: John !:1; 8:5-8 (Study these verses)
This can be a time consuming but rewarding process. If you follow these verses you will learn so much more than by simply reading them. We can see that “IN the beginning is not just a simple introduction to the Bible. It is not a fancy way of opening a story like, “Brownstown is a small but quiet little droplet in the middle of nowhere.” It is a very important beginning ~ So much so that the Bible is based on these opening words. Throughout the Bible you will find references to the beginning and before the beginning. It is imperative that we understand that God is the beginning and the end and we have our being in Him. So study, study, study and place what you learn in your heart. You will find that you are drawing closer to God because you are really IN HIS WORD! YaY!
If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I am not one who is extremely knowledgeable in exegesis but I love to study the Word this way. If you have an easier way, feel free to share it with others. The important thing is to study, study, study!
Remember it is easy to allow your own words and thoughts to take over the Word (Eisegesis). Don’t do it! Allow the Word of God to be the Word of God and live by it—always!
I pray this wasn’t too confusing 🙂 Let me know what you think.