Double Double, Toil & Trouble?© Rob Wilkerson
study, and whole books have been written to explain them. I haveincluded my recommendations to you at the end of this chapter. But Itrust you will understand if I only briefly touch on a couple of essentialshere. The first key part of exegesis is called lexicography, which is the studyof word meanings. Key words must be examined in their immediatecontext, and then examined in their circles of context: how the samebook uses the same word, how the same author uses the wordelsewhere, how the NT or OT uses the word or concept, and how the restof the Bible seems to speak of it. The second key to exegesis is called syntax, which is the study of theformation of phrases and sentences. This is an observation of thegrammar of a text which the key words make up. We want not only tostudy the words an author used, but also the way in which he used thosewords in relation to other words in the same sentence. I’d recommendpulling out your old high school or college grammar textbook to brushup on English grammar. It is extremely vital to being able to understandthe syntax of biblical sentences.Both of these keys must never be removed from the key ring of context.Context always determines word meaning and grammar. The point theauthor is trying to make in the letter he is writing, and more specificallythe point he is trying to make in that particular part of his letter willdetermine, to a large degree, the way he wants his words and sentencesto come across. He is attempting to make an argument or a point, andwe must get at the point he is trying to make. (This is called authorialintent.) Otherwise, we run the risk of reading our own points andarguments into the text, thereby failing to get at what the author, andhence God is trying to teach us.I make no bones about the fact that I believe a text of Scripture has onlyone correct interpretation. This is in diametric opposition to thepostmodern concept of interpretation. This model of interpretationteaches that all interpretations are possible and therefore correct. Theyalso teach that the importance lie not so much in
we interpret theBible as much as whether or not the Bible is interpreting
. That’sphilosophical weirdness. This understanding inevitably leads to theconclusion that the Bible has many correct interpretations. But as oneseminary professor once told me, if the Bible means more than onething it can mean anything; and if it can mean anything it can meaneverything; and if it can mean everything it really means nothing.But while I make no bones about the fact that each text has only onecorrect interpretation, I do not want to fall into the trap of what
Revision: March 2012 No part of this draft may be reproduced in part or inwhole…yet. Seriously.