Studying the Scriptures

“Exegesis introduces another dimension into our relation to this text [Scripture]. The text as story carries us along, we are in on something larger than ourselves, we let the story take us where it will. But exegesis is focused attention, asking questions, sorting through possible meanings. Exegesis is rigorous, disciplined, intellectual work. It rarely feels ‘spiritual.’

Men and women who are, as we say, ‘into’ spirituality, frequently give exegesis short shrift, preferring to rely on inspiration and intuition. But the long and broad consensus in the community of God’s people has always insisted on a vigorous and meticulous exegesis: Give long and close and learned attention to this text! All our masters in spirituality were and are master exegetes. There’s a lot going on here; we don’t want to miss any of it; we don’t want to sleepwalk through this text” (Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book, p. 50).

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2 thoughts on “Studying the Scriptures

  1. Just the other day I was translating Psalm 2 at the seminary and overheard some underclassmen mumbling about “wasting one’s time” translating the Scriptures as a pastor.

    Not only does it “rarely feel spiritual,” I’d point out that in a culture that enshrines “feeling,” things that don’t feel spiritual don’t get much attention (and what attention they do get is negative).

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