Posts Tagged ‘Church’

Understanding God’s Word

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Easy Exegesis

“Exegesis” is a technical term for interpretation of a text. It’s about serious interpretation–doing your best to get past what you want it to mean, or what you’ve always assumed it means, or what you’ve been told it means, getting through to figure out what the author actually meant. The nutshell definition is “drawing meaning out of a text”.

It’s the opposite of “eisegesis”, which means “reading meaning into a text”. (Calling someone’s interpretation “eisegesis” is basically polite, scholarly trash talk. Any time I read something like, “That’s really more eisegetical than exegetical,” I imagine the target of the comment saying, “Oh no you di-int! Snap!”)

An in-depth exegesis involves looking at the context of the individual verse or passage, at the flow of thought, at the details of the language, at the original audience, at the historical context, and at the other writings of the author (if there are any). That’s the best way to get the most confidence that you’re understanding the fullest meaning of what the text was intended to say.

But…Well, all that makes it sound very complicated, very involved, and much too difficult for anyone who can’t read the Greek text and translate it on the fly. But it’s not. It doesn’t have to be. Don’t get me wrong, some passages really are very challenging, even for the brightest minds with the best resources and the strongest education. But most of the Bible isn’t like that. To get the fullest meaning, it may take practice and a lot of effort–but there are very simple ways to study the Bible that will help you understand quite a lot.

There’s a simple, easy rule of exegesis–one you’ll find yourself using all the time, one that’s widely useful, one that will prevent you from making most of the easy mistakes of interpretation.

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On Jesus, Mission, and Church – Pt. 2

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

Another excerpts from Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons From An Emerging Missional Church, by Mark Driscoll:

“[A couple leaving the church] complained that since the church had grown a bit bigger and things a bit busier, my wife and I had become less available to them… We were stunned. We needed couples like this to help the church survive… I simply gave up and sent them on their way because they were not on our mission to bring the gospel to Seattle.”

This touches on the way that people choose churches–our expectations, our criteria, our view of the proper relationship between us and a church. Are we looking for something to meet our needs, or are we looking for ways to serve?

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On Jesus, Mission, and Church

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Excerpts from Confessions of a Reformission Rev.: Hard Lessons From An Emerging Missional Church, by Mark Driscoll

“No matter what the tradition or theological perspective, the one common thread that wove all of the churches together was that they were each on their on mission instead of on Jesus’ mission to transform people and cultures by the power of the Holy Spirit through the work of the gospel. And each church conveniently grabbed the snapshot of Jesus that best suited their mission and used it to legitimize and bless their mission in his name. Theologically, this was profoundly troubling, because I was certain that Jesus was his own mission and that any church not on that mission had what Paul called another gospel and another Jesus, concocted by a cunning serpent.”

“For me, our church was not the people we had but primarily the people we did not yet have, and I needed to go get those people… I kept scheduling meetings in an effort to convert the lost to Jesus and convert the found to our mission with Jesus so that the church could move forward.”