I had intended for this to be a 12-part series, so I suppose that it’s about time for me to start wrapping it up. The moment has come to start positioning all the ingredients just right so that we can prepare to roll up the tortilla. (Can you tell I haven’t had lunch yet?)
Anyway, how can we picture the exegetical process as a whole? Dr. Walter Russell of the Talbot School of Theology has an extensive background in collegiate ministries, university teaching, and the local-church pastorate. He recommends that we envision the process of exegesis like an hourglass: wide at the top, skinny in the middle, and wider again at the bottom. For all intents and purposes, what Dr. Russell is saying is that – as we study a passage of Scripture – we start with synthesis (the bird’s-eye view), then move to analysis (the worm’s-eye view), and then move back to synthesis (the bird’s-eye view).
- Read the whole book where your passage is found. We always want to take in the big picture of the Bible that is before us.
- Write down your best overall summary statement of the book. Keep it short and simple (preferably one sentence).
- Wait a few days, and read the whole book again. If possible, read it aloud. This allows you not only to see it, but to hear it. Very important.
- Again, write down your best overall summary statement of the book. Keep it short and simple (preferably one sentence).
- Compare your summary statements. Which is best? Why?
- You may want to do this whole-book reading one more time. You’ll be surprised at the insight that you will gain just from this initial process of reading God’s Word.
We’ll pick up there next time.
Chef Mourad Lahlou and his award-winning team have opened a signature restaurant in San Francisco. It’s called Mourad. The restaurant design is authentic Moroccan, in perfect harmony with the cuisine. You see, Chef Mourad was born and raised in a large family in Marrakesh. He came to the U.S. when he was twenty to study economics, but missed the food of his homeland so much that he eventually taught himself how to recreate his favorite childhood dishes using local ingredients. Now Lahlou’s career as a pioneering Moroccan American chef is an international success.
Do you and I crave the food of our homeland (First Peter 2:2)? Do we hunger and thirst for that alone which can satisfy our souls (Matthew 4:4)? Do we delight in the very best food (Isaiah 55:2)? Dig in!