Bible Study Approaches — The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

NarcigesisThere are three basic approaches to Bible study. Which of these three approaches you use will greatly determine the meaning you get from your study of a passage.

The Good
Exegesis = The process of discovering what the text says in its context and what the original author meant when he wrote it, and accepting that as its meaning.

The Bad
Eisegesis = The process of imposing one’s own views, interpretations, and preconceptions onto the text making it mean whatever one wants it to mean.

The Ugly
Narcigesis = “Narcissistic Eisegesis”, The process of inserting oneself into the passage to make it mean something related to oneself or one’s own personal journey of faith.

The only correct approach to Bible study is exegesis; the other two lead to false interpretations and, therefore, false applications.

It Can Never Mean What It Never Meant
A good rule of thumb when trying to find the meaning of a passage is, “It can never mean what it never meant.” If you want to know what a passage means, and therefore how to properly apply it to your own life (if there is a direct application to you), is to ask what the original author meant when he wrote it and, secondly, how the original audience would have understood it. This takes study and effort and there’s no shortcutting the process. Sadly we have become very fond of our lifestyle of fast food and quick-acting pills to cure our ills, and we’ve allowed that mentality to affect our study of Scripture. Consequently, we grab a verse, rip it from it’s textual, historical, and cultural contexts and make it say what we want it to say. Or we allow our preconceived notions to dictate its meaning. It’s a much easier and quicker process, but it will almost always lead to a wrong interpretation.

If we want to find the true meaning of a passage, we have to do the hard work of applying sound study techniques and allowing the text to speak for itself (exegesis) within its textual, historical, and cultural contexts.

What are these sound Bible study techniques? I’ll be talking more about those in future posts.

The Humanists’ Creed and its End Results (only slightly satirical)

Humanists’ Creed
by Steve Turner

We believe in Marx, Freud, and Darwin.
We believe that everything is OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone, to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your definition of knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery’s fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything is getting better despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated and you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there is something in horoscopes, UFOs, and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Mohammad, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think that his good morals were really bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same, at least the ones we read were.
They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes Nothing because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then it’s compulsory heaven for all except perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
American’s should beat their guns into tractors and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good; it’s only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly; the universe will readjust; history will alter.
We believe there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds.

If Chance be the Father of all flesh, disaster is His rainbow in the sky.
And when you hear “State of Emergency”,
“Sniper Kills Ten”, “Troops on Rampage”,
“Youths Go Looting”, “Bomb Blasts School”,
it is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

—Steve Turner

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

(Psalm 1 ESV)

Theology – Why Does It Matter?

Originally posted on Solid Food Ministries:

What we believe matters. It affects how we live, what we do and say. We can say we believe something but what we truly believe is what will eventually come out in our behavior and attitudes.

It seems many Christians these days are not interested in theology, feeling it is too “academic” for them. Theology is the study of God and learning who He is. We all have beliefs in who we think God is. Theology is studying to understand better the truth of who He is, correcting any faulty views we may have. We all have a theological view, whether we realize it or not. The importance of theology is making sure what we believe lines up with what Scripture teaches so that we have an accurate view of God.

For a personal example of how this plays out, here is the story of a challenging week we had…

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His Word Shall Stand Forever — A Quote

Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God—
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
His Word shall stand forever!

—Martin Luther

Theology – What Is It?


Solid Food Ministries now has a blog! I highly suggest you check out this ministry that’s geared toward providing biblically sound content and resources for the mature believer or for those wishing to become more mature in the faith.

Here’s the latest blog post on the Solid Food Ministries blog.

Originally posted on Solid Food Ministries:

What is theology? The simple answer is that theology is the study of God. Why is theology important? Theology is what we believe about who God is, His character, what He has done. We all have a theology or an understanding of who we think God is, but it may not be a correct theology or accurate picture of God. Studying theology helps us to understand better who God is based on what the Bible says about Him. What we believe about God affects how we live our lives. Theology is worked out in our behavior, attitudes and actions, thus a study of theology helps us to grow more like God as we learn who He is.

There are many sub-branches of theology that deal with different aspects of what we believe on different subjects. The study of God the Father is often referred to as Theology Proper. The study…

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