Today's Expositor's Quote is from Thomas Schreiner of Southern Seminary in Louisville:
I have often wondered why biblical exegesis is not the consuming passion of pastors and students. Why is it, for example, that so many sermons have very little to do with what the biblical text is saying? . . . Biblical exegesis is often neglected by students and pastors because they consider it to be the special province of biblical scholars. . . . Some people consider biblical scholars to be specialists who investigate and debate issues that have very little to do with practical everyday living. . . . Students often relegate biblical exegesis to the scholarly shelf and abandon it as soon as they complete their academic coursework.
Evangelicals have too often responded to the world of scholarship with an anti-intellectual attitude. Recognizing the glaring deficiencies of critical scholarship, evangelicals have sometimes responded by denying the need for critical and searching study of the Bible. . . . Erasmus long ago revealed the error of such a mind-set with this penetrating remark: "People say to me, How can scholarly knowledge facilitate the understanding of Holy Scripture? My answer is, How does ignorance contribute to it?" . . .
The goal of exegesis is not to gain specialized knowledge in a particular field of study. The goal of exegesis is to gain a worldview based upon and informed by the biblical text. Ultimately, we all conduct our lives based on our worldview, our perception of life as a whole. Biblical exegesis should be the foundation in the building of that worldview. The complete building is ultimately expressed in our systematic theology. . . . The question is this: Is [our] systematic theology faithful to the biblical text and logically rigorous, or is it contrary to the biblical text and logically in disarray? . . .
Exegesis will not be the passion of students unless they see that it plays a vital role in the formation of one's worldview. An intellectual inclination for exegesis, although crucial, is not sufficient. Exegesis will never be one's passion unless one's heart is gripped by biblical truth; only then will it lead to a deeper and richer joy in God (John 15:11). If one's heart never sings when doing exegesis, then the process has not reached its culmination. And if one has never trembled when doing exegesis (Isa. 66:2), then one is not listening for the voice of God. . . .
To sum up: Exegesis is part of the process of building one's worldview, and as one sees the truth it inflames one's heart and constrains one to live a new life and to pass this new truth on to others. Thereby, the kingdom of God advances, and God is glorified.
Thomas Schreiner, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles, (Baker, 1990), p. 16-19.
[Does your heart sing when doing exegesis? Do you tremble when you discern the link between a participle and the main verb in the sentence? Praise God that His Spirit works through our puny minds to open up His most powerful Word!-- Coty]
[Apologies for the early quote this week -- I will be on a retreat and without internet access all week . . .]
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