Monday, August 16, 2010

Preaching Essentials: Exegesis

Exegesis is another one of those big, fancy words that seminary types (like me!) like to throw around to make themselves sound smart. It literally means “to guide out of”, and we use it to mean the process of finding the original, intended meaning of a passage of Scripture. When we exegete, we’re trying to pull the meaning out of the text, rather than reading our meaning into it.

This process is hard work, but you cannot take short cuts. This is, after all, the Word of God we’re dealing with here. You kinda want to be sure you’re getting it right. It’s truly amazing where good exegesis will take you as you prepare your sermon.

Several years ago I taught basic exegetical practices to a small group of guys, and then asked them to prepare a short sermon on their favorite Bible passage. The results were amazing! Each one of those guys delivered rock-solid Bible messages, complete with sound interpretation and meaningful, Spirit-led application. It was an eye-opening experience for me because I saw, first hand, the power of learning how to study the Bible well.

As you prepare your sermon, take your time with the text. Don’t rush the process. Invite the Spirit to be with you in your time of study. If you don’t know how to do proper exegesis, pick up one of these books:

Grasping God’s Word | Duvall & Hays
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth | Fee & Stuart

I urge you, as a preacher of God’s Word, to let God speak through his Word. Commit yourself to treating the Bible with integrity and honor, to say what it says, and not what you want it to say or think it should say. The Bible really does cut to the heart, and it has the power to transform lives. By doing proper exegesis, you can unleash that power.

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