Bible 347 Return to Syllabus

How to Discover Problems in Passages

  1. The purpose for doing an exegesis is to solve problems which cannot be resolved by a simple reading of the passage. It brings rigor to the process to control subjectivity.


  2. Pick a passage based on a problem that you do not initially understand.


  3. Write down the problem.


  4. Read the passage over several times and note all the ways that you can that any clauses or words could be understood in more than one way. List those various possible meanings and shades of meanings.


  5. Consult commentaries to see what kind of issues they discuss. At this stage you are not interested in their solutions to the problems; you are merely trying to discover what it is that people have disagreed upon as to the passage at hand. Look in enough commentaries to come up with issues; more technical commentaries are generally better about discussing issues. Write down the issues that you find.


  6. Discuss the passage with friends. See if there are any difficult areas that they may not understand. Take special note of any place where their initial understanding is different from yours.


  7. Write all these problems down that you hope that your in-depth study will be able to shed light on. Try to arrange them in order of importance and to discover any dependencies (i.e. is the understanding of one problem dependent on one of the interpretations of another problem).

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