Textual Narcississm

November 29, 2010 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

“What does this passage mean to you? ”

Very dangerous question.

The proper ‘first case’ that must be made is premised on this question: What does this passage mean as intended by the Holy Spirit and discovered through careful and accurate exegesis.

Textual Narcissism

Exegesis is an explanation. In the NT, therefore, exegesis is the explanation of a given text. Theologically, exegesis establishes the meaning of particular statements or passages. “…exegesis may be understood … to be the practice of and the set of procedures for discovering the author’s intended meaning.” Thus, by yielding an understanding of the language, grammar, and syntax of a passage, exegesis provides a solid basis for exposition and application.

This means that exegesis must never deviate from confronting the text of Scripture to determine what it says and means. The historic Protestant principle of exegesis is that the text of Scripture has one sense, so that it is the job of the exegete to uncover what the writer meant when he wrote the passage under examination. Nowadays, it is popular to speak of meanings, plural…. Those who contend for multi-layered meanings effectively abandon exegesis and descend to eisegesis, “a reading into” the text of what the reader wishes it to mean. “This new system would have us understand a text not in terms of its syntactical or semantic structures, but in the variety of ways in which that text is “actualized” in our minds. To state it briefly, we are instructed that we should be reading ourselves as much as the text. Thus, all efforts to find the “real or single meaning” are considered fruitless for most modems, since in their view, texts generate a variety of meaning structures.

To deal honestly and reverently with Scripture we must adopt the historic Protestant emphasis on the intention of the writer of a Scripture passage. “What saith the Scriptures?” must be our watchword as we prepare to expound God’s word.

(Adapted from A Dictionary of Theological Terms, s.v. “exegesis”) The White Horse Inn

Accurate Exegesis

So, where do you stand on this issue? Consider the meaning of orthotimounta in 2 Tim. 2:15. Failure to do so misleads God’s people and promotes egregious error in their understanding of the message of the Scripture. Be diligent in handling the text!

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