Hilkevich (2005) defines exegesis as the process of drawing meaning of texts from the scripture. The Bible as the word of God is a collection of 66 books which were written at different times by different authors. Murrell (2009) 2 says authors of the Bible “did not rely upon some authority to guide them into truth, but they went directly to the God-breathed Scriptures to discover His will. ” Preaching involves communication of divine truths from God by man. Therefore biases of the person delivering the message are likely to find their way into their sermons.
A number of reasons have been given why proper exegesis is important in understanding the Scriptures. Paul advises his spiritual son Timothy to “. . . Present yourself to God a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ” Improper interpretations of the Scriptures arise because of poor exegesis. (New International Version 2 Tim 2:15) 3 . Further, Peter says Paul’s letters “contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort as they do other scriptures to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16) 4
Additionally, the Bible records accounts of ardent readers of the Bible who failed to understand meaning of the scriptures. “Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading? ‘ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me? ‘ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him” (Acts 8:30-31). 5 One of the most important reasons for conducting a good exegesis is because it protects Bible readers and listeners from falling prey to cults and occults.
Victims of cults and occults have undergone untold suffering in their pursuit of religion. As Hassan (1988) 6 says persons leaving cults and occults have side effects that can last for years even after they leave the cults especially if they do not receive counseling. According to Hassan, persons who have been members of cults and occults suffer from depression and have nightmares and feelings of guilt. Additionally, they are not able to make their own decisions and they depend on others for direction. Hassan adds that such people tend to lose concentration and memory.
In my third year in college, a colleague and member of the Christian union evangelism ministry dropped out of college alleging urgency in fulfilling the great commission. No amount of persuasion would convince him to change his mind. His misinterpretation of the Bible affected his life negatively. Another example of how dangerous misinterpretation of scriptures is was highlighted by BBC NEWS / Africa in 2006. 7 Members of the House of Yahweh in Kenya “predicted that the world would end before 12 September 2006 and had started building bunkers in case of nuclear war.
They were arrested and bailed on condition that they stop inciting fear in the local population. ” The other major reason why good exegesis is important is because it helps the reader and preacher to overcome their subjective factors that influence the understanding of the Bible. Proper exegesis ensures that religious heritage and background, psychological needs, philosophical background and convictions as well as large culture do not influence the understanding and interpretation of the Bible.
Murrell says “exegesis allows God to speak to us and not the other way around. ” Works Cited 1. Hilkevich, John S. (2005) Exegesis of scripture, the word, and Prayer Mystical and Rational Approaches to Extracting Meaning www. prayergear. com/Exegesis-Article. htm accessed on May 21, 2010 2. Murrell Adam (2009) The Importance of Exegesis www. stanmurrell. org/blog/view/4607/the_importance_of_exegesis accessed on May 22, 2010 3. The NIV Message Parallel Bible (2004) 2 Tim 2:15 Zondervan Grand Rapids, Michigan USA
4. The NIV Message Parallel Bible (2004) 2 Peter 3:16 Zondervan Grand Rapids, Michigan USA 5. The NIV Message Parallel Bible (2004) Acts 8: 30-31 Zondervan Grand Rapids, Michigan USA 6. Hassan Steven (1998 pp 172-180) Combatting Cult Mind Control from www. freedomofmind. com/resourcecenter/books/releasingthebonds. pdf accessed on May 22, 2010 7. BBC NEWS / Africa / Kenyan joy as world fails to end, 12 September 2006 http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/africa/5337438. stm accessed on May 22, 2010