Exegete This

I’ve been posting some of my deeper thoughts lately.  In the process, my motivation has been questioned as have my methods.  This is disappointing.  I have a personal theory that instructs me that if something doesn’t seem right, it ought to be investigated, you know, if it seems important.

I am further guided that if I do the investigation and things take a “left turn” and I am faced with exceptional conclusions that appear to be irrefutable, they need to be placed into the light so that others may examine them and prove them to be correct or false. That is my motivation.  Prove my strange ideas wrong but if I am right then be blessed by the revelation. Either way, God will be honored since if I am wrong, the evidence will edify those who observe it.  On the contrary, if what I say is true then it is from God.  There’s my motivation.  As such, this calls into question the motivation of my critics who have, so far been silent.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My methods?  I read intelligently and critically.  Here’s a news flash.  The Bible is a book.  An essential idea of Christianity is that the Bible is God’s personal revelation of God’s self.  The essence of that ideal is that The Bible is a book that was written by God to inform us about God and His relationship with us and our’s with Him. It may have been written over a very long period of time, and penned by various hands from vaious cultures for numerous reasons, but the theological ideal informs us that God is the actual author and what we have today is a coherent document with the words and in the order that God intends us to witness.  The Bible is a book authored by God and therefore demands to be read and studied as such.  That only makes sense.

It’s important to exegete the text:

“At least two different forms of Biblical exegesis exist. They are called Revealed and Rational exegesis. Revealed exegesis believes the Holy Spirit inspired the Biblical authors of the texts and therefore the words in the Bible convey God’s divine revelation to man. Rational exegesis believes that the original writers of the Bible’s books used their own creativity and inspiration (apart from God) to write what they did. In short, some study the Bible believing that God himself directly inspired its writers while others approach the Bible as a collection of stories, fables, myths, etc. brought to life through the creativity and imagination of man.”

(http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/definition-of-christian-terms/exegesis.html) *

I believe there are elements of truth to rational exegesis and that approach has its merits.  But knowing what a Sumerian poet was thinking when he began telling his story may be exceedingly fascinating, but that informs us more of him than God and unless we can get back to God, we are merely spinning our proverbial wheels if knowledge of God is what we are searching for.  Which is why I adhere to what the above quote refers to as Revealed Revelation.  Nothing is holy except in as much as it points to God.  This includes the Bible.  It is a book that reveals God.  I submit that it and the stories and books within it must be read with attitue that it and they are great works of literature that they are and with all the literary elements inherent in such works.

I’m sure I will be providing some examples in the near future.

God Bless,

Christopher

In case you are wondering what posts I’m referring to, here are links to all the articles in this controversial series:

The Day God Created Man: or Don’t Shoot the Messenger

A Rebuttal to WhenGod Greated Man

Jesus Is The Last Adam

The Origin Of Sin

Who Told You That You’re Naked?

*This article is a good one as is most of what I have read on this site, but I have not spent the time needed to state that I fully endorse all that is contained there. 

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4 thoughts on “Exegete This

  1. Revealed and Rational exegesis – Thank you for defining those for us, Christopher! You may believe I only fall on the rational side of the equation, but since I know, because of my own experiences, that divine revelations occur today as well as in years past, then I can say – I believe The Bible is a mixture of both.

    I believe God uses divine reason sometimes, as well as He distributes divine logic to His children once in awhile. But He also has a dark side. That’s why we say, “Fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom”. That’s why we ask Him in The Lord’s Prayer, that He not lead us into temptation, nor deliver us unto the hands of evil doers. I know how and when The Bible was put together. I don’t know why they left out particular books from the same age pertaining to the same story, but the fact is – they did. Men decided, as a large group (a congress), so I’m sure there was no general consensus, even though there may have been a book or two voted in unanimously.

    If you didn’t believe in mixing science (including mathematics) with religion, you wouldn’t be using numbers like 10,000 to describe the age of the earth. That job belongs to the geologists, as the age of The Universe belongs to cosmologists. As far as spirituality goes, the age of The Universe matters not. The year of the Second Coming matters not. Only today matters to a man of the Spirit, or to a man of God. Right? No worries in that regard.

    The Age Of Faith is slowly coming to an end, or so it seems to me. Church-goers are dwindling in number, whilst atheists groups continue to add members. Jung wished to save Christianity by proving to people that it is a living myth with a Savior for mankind who makes History today. It is not only an age-old story, it’s a Truth that He walks amongst us today. Jesus Christ is pertinent today! He stands for The Truth, whether it comes from scientists, or artists, or any other vocation.

    The Earth is not flat, no matter how much we wish it were.

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    • Hey tree,

      I think you misunderstand me. I believe that science and theology both have their places in helping one understand creation. What happens is that scientists often make science their religion thus forsaking the divine. And religious folks will demonize science, thuse checking their brains at the proverbial door. Then they come up with ludicrous notions like the earth is only 10,000 years old. The archeological evidence demonstrates unequivocally that this idea is patently false. One of the interesting outcomes of this series is that it demonstrates that the Bible allows for a very old earth, to the chagrin of some who claim an authoritative understanding of Scripture.

      Interesting stories concerning what became canon, tree. Firstly, it wasn’t some kind of random act. The books of the Bible were studied and prayed over and argued and fought over by brilliant men. It was not a simple feat. Legend has it, too, that various groups were given the task and the results for each group is said to have been identical. That’s God at work, my friend.

      Thanks for the comment.

      God Bless you,

      Christopher

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  2. Christopher,
    You seem not to be the only one today discussing how to read the Bible! For this simple girl, I go where I feel led, I read, I discuss with respected sources of truth, I pray and I ask for illumination, then I walk in faith of what I receive as a result of all that untill God shows me to do differently, so which category my method falls into, I’m not sure. But I have enjoyed the out of the box thinking in this series that led to great revelation for me too. Kudos to you for the focus and dedication it took to put all these together. Great work. God bless my friend.-watw

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    • If it matters watw, it seems from your description that you lean toward the Revealed form. Ratiional and Revealed seem to me to be general families, if you will. Nor are they opposites. Some one who leans toward revealed exegesis is not necessarily irrational, and revealation can certainly occur to some one who makes use of a “rational” approach. I did not invent the terms. The more important part of either term is the word “Exegesis”.
      It means, literally, to lead out. In other words the reader’s understanding comes out of the text and not from a man-made source. The oposite of this is called eisogesis which means to lead in. That means that one allows outside forces to determine ones understanding of the text. No one exists in a vacuum, of course, and our understanding of everything is colored by our past experiences but you get what we’re talking about, I’m sure.

      God Bless and thanks for the comment. Glad you’re getting something out of the series.

      Christopher

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