Sunday, November 30, 2008

Exegesis...Eisegesis...Whatever! I Just Need Jesus!

Ever heard such a statement? I am an ex- Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB), now reformed Baptist, and I've heard such statements before. For example, it's very common to hear a statement such as, "Theology is for theologians, I just preach the Word!"...or "My people don't need long, intellectual speeches on justification, imputation...just give them Jesus!" One time I was preaching a verse-by-verse study on the book of II Peter. The pastor hinted that I was taking too long...I'd only taken 6 messages to get through one and 1/2 chapters...apparantly that's too much time on God's precious Word!

There is an element of willing stupidity in today's "church" where people seem to shun doctrine and context. As long as people are entertained and the message sounds right they just accept it as "good preachin' brother!"

What makes for good preaching anyway? Let me share a thought from Dr James White's book, "Scripture Along" that you can find on his ministry's website,

For those who hate to study and don't think big "theological" words are spiritual...sorry! What's the difference between "exegesis" and "eisegesis"? Knowing the difference between the two words makes all the difference in the world on whether you are preaching a true message from the Lord or not.

The following quote is found on pages 80-81 of his book: "In vitally important ways it is a science, requiring of its regular and careful practitioner painstaking attention to detail and the utilization of the tools of his trade. In other ways it is an art, something which one becomes ever more skilled with practice and the passage of time. In other aspects it is an act of worship, requiring spiritual preparation and a willing heart marked by obedience." (p. 80)

A you prepare your sermons/lessons as an act of worship? Do you joy in the painstaking and diligent study...hard study...of God's Word? Or is it a burden? Listen again...

"For some it is a nuisance, something only "elitests" do to prove their theologies. And then there are those who find it nothing more than a chore, something to be done because it needs to be done, though it fires no passions and doesn't engage the heart of mind" (p. 80)

I'll be blunt...if this second description is you, please do yourself, and all of us, a favor...get out of the ministry! If you don't want to spend the time (12-15 hours per sermon as a suggestion) to truly prepare to preach then you don't belong in the could you be called to preach. Preaching is not "getting up a message"'s careful exegesis of the Word of God.

What is exegesis? I fully agree with Dr White's definition where he says that exegesis is "the process of seeking to understand the written text of Scripture in its own context."

Why don't many people do this? Because it takes that most modern preachers have no time for amidst many other more pressing tasks such as carnival planning, scheduling the next planned evangelistic scheme, setting up stageshows and lighting/sound boards, etc, etc.

Here's a the Word of God and let it speak for'd be surprised what happens.
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> posted by Jim Leavenworth at


Anonymous Mark Hollingsworth said...

I think there is some Biblical balance in there somewhere. I heard a guy brag one time because he spent 3 years on one verse. WOW!
Verse by verse can be good but some preachers definitely engage in verse by verse boredom. I think it can be verse by verse and still an exciting message that relates the Word of God to the people and what God wants to say to them through the Word and His preacher.
I do hear you loud and clear about those preachers who don't care about doing justice to the Word in context because it takes too much in!
I think it does us good to study other preacher's sermons because you can see the good the bad and the ugly. You can also get ideas and inspiration (cause we need to get preached to as well). Of course, when we preach we need to do our own studying even if we get ideas from other sermons.
I have taken 15-16 hours to study one message but I have also taken longer and shorter times to do so as well. There are many factors involved there but certainly no set time...not in the Bible anyway!
Thanks for your post...makes us think and pray for God's help in preaching God's Word properly and effectively.

November 30, 2008 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger blackreformingkid said...

I grew up as a Pentecostal and people truly embraced the fact that they were stupid Biblically speaking. As a young Reformed Baptist I appreciate preachers who spend time in text and pour over verses, even it means 100 sermons on a chapter. I say more power to such people

December 7, 2008 at 11:00 AM  

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