early 17th century: from Greek exēgēsis, from exēgeisthai ‘interpret’, from ex- ‘out of’ + hēgeisthai ‘to guide, lead’ ( 2012, Oxford University Press)
The key part of the term exegesis is that it is textual interpretation that come out of the text. Good exegesis can get rather complex when one delves deep into the particulars. For instance, only by doing what’s called a word study of the Hebrew for “Day” in Genesis chapter one, will one realize that the best interpretation for the author’s intent is one regular, 24 hour, day. Having solved that riddle, the good exegete will now consider how this fits into the whole context of chapter one. After that, one will have to do the same for other key words, “man/mankind” for example and follow the same process. How does this word fit in the context of the story we find it? Then we must take our tentative conclusions and weigh them against Scripture as a whole and accepted essentials of Christian Theology (the context on this blog being the Holy Bible and Christian Theology).
It can be a long process, especially when one begins to also study the culture in which a text originated and/or was written (not always the same). Also, there are literary constructs, and genres to be considered….. Good exegesis is not for the timid or the weak-minded. Nor should it be seriously attempted without a firm grasp of essential doctrine. By essential doctrine I mean those things that are bottom line, indisputable Christianity: those things that if one does not adhere to, one is not a Christian. Those set the parameters and free the Biblical exegete to explore within the safety of those boundaries.
See also, Exegete This.