Eisegesis ~VS~ Exegesis

“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.”

Revelations 22:19-19

 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”

 (Deuteronomy 4:2)

 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.

~Blessings~

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10 thoughts on “Eisegesis ~VS~ Exegesis

  1. An excellent post, Andy. I thank you for it. If you do not mind, I am going to print it out. Thank you for taking the time to lay it all out in a way that is understandable. When I first saw those words, I admit, I wanted to run the other way. 🙂

  2. Dear grandma Andy..
    I have a valuable lesson through your post this evening ( in my place). If you don’t mind..may print this out. .just for my private collection? Thank you for sharing this great post..Blessings on your day..:)

  3. Andy: This is WONDERFUL..I have about 5 books on “How to read the Bible and..understand it/enjoy it/be in the word/ etc..etc..” And my Bible sometimes still collects dust..Grrr! I hate to admit it, but sometimes I find the Bible so hard to read, I get frustrated and quit. Sometimes Satan sneaks in and tells me I am not smart enough! But, hey, I have a nursing degree. I am college EdgeAmakated!! This should NOT be so difficult!
    Your way does sound a bit exhausting, but I think I will try it!
    Thanks again for sharing this with the “punkin headed” people!

    • Thank you Nicolette! It will take some effort in the beginning but once you do it, it will be so rewarding I promise. God wants us all to pick up his Word, for that is where we find Him. Brush off the dust and ask Him to reveal Himself. You will be wonderfully surprised how close the two of you are drawn! Blessings!

  4. This is very informative, I went to a conference last week with Ken Ham. He is a creationist. He was focusing on Genesis 1-11 Very good.. Maybe you can check him out on line. Lately he did a debate with a creationist and the is 15million views. So he’s saving souls. He also has a video called evolution vs, god. We can use for witnessing. Do you know him, he talks about the eyes genus, and exegesis etc. I have read this post several times, but unless my brain is not working my mind is bugling me. I am a bit confused about the a, b, and c. Could you just tell me again. It’s probally something simple I’m missing…thanks Andy. Great post. Truly.

    • Hey Beverly 🙂
      I have heard the name of Ken Ham but have never heard him speak. I will have to look him up. There are a lot of good teachers out there now and I am thankful for that.
      I am sorry I was not really clear about how to do that study. What kind of bible do you have and what kind of reference do you have. Mine has a center column reference. That is what I was going by and didn’t think about others having a different kind of reference. Let me know and I will see if I can explain it a little better for you. I am glad you have tried to study it and if I can help you with it, it will be well worth the time you spend on it. Let me know. Blessings!

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