“Exegesis” sounds like a technical and abstract idea, but at its core, it’s quite simple.
Exegesis is drawing meaning from what the Scripture says.
Exegesis is going to the Bible to understand what it meant when it was written, and letting the author’s intent govern the way the Bible is interpreted. Exegesis can involve highly technical language analysis, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, you can do it right now.
What Is Exegesis? Watch How It Works!
Let’s try out some exegesis on Luke 17:11–19, where we see Jesus cleansing ten lepers, but only one thanks him. We start by looking the passage up in Logos 5.
A big part of exegesis is answering the question, “What did the author want to get across?” We see in Luke 1:1–4 and Acts 1:1–2 that this book is intended to be an exact account of Jesus’ acts and teachings, so we need to see what Jesus says and does in this passage:
- Jesus cleanses ten lepers.
- Only one comes back to glorify God and give thanks.
- Jesus commends the thankful one.
Now that we’ve covered the elementary stuff, we can start doing exegesis, right? Well, actually, we’ve already started. We determined some of what the text means by letting it speak for itself—that’s what exegesis is.
Now Let’s Try the Exegetical Guide
We can exegete this text as deeply as we want with the Exegetical Guide. First, I right-click “giving thanks” in verse 16 and select “Exegetical Guide.”
This fetches all my grammars, apparatuses, and visualizations, plus a word-by-word breakdown of verse 16. I just want to see what “giving thanks” means, so I’ll find it in the breakdown:
We can see that “giving thanks” refers to being thankful, or feeling obligated to thank. Thankfulness via obligation? That doesn’t sound so good to me at first.
But when I open BDAG (a lexicon, or cross-language dictionary), I see that the word εὐχαριστέω was a diplomatic term: the party on the receiving end of a favor would assure the other party of their goodwill. In the New Testament, this word is almost exclusively used for giving thanks to God (exception: Romans 16:4).
And with Logos 5, I can also look up any New Testament word’s syntactic force, or how syntax determines its function. This is kind of nuts-and-boltsy, but sometimes we can learn what the text is saying by looking at both what a word means and how it’s used.
Great—it’s a participle showing manner. But what does that mean? Well, I get the definition on hover.
By looking at the syntactic force, I see that the leper’s actions took on a tone of returning goodwill to the Lord who just healed him.
When I see something like this, I ask myself these questions:
- Has Jesus done me any favors? I can think of at least one.
- What’s my attitude of thankfulness? Do I just carry on, happy to be blessed, or do I turn it into an opportunity to glorify God?
- Do I even feel obligated to thank him?
Exegesis may sound purely academic, but it can lead you to ask life-changing questions.
What Is Exegesis? It’s Something You Can Do!
The Exegetical Guide is certainly one of my favorite tools in Logos 5, and it may be yours, too. You can get all the Exegetical Guide functions when you get Logos 5 Bronze, but the BDAG lexicon comes in base packages Platinum and above.
So start doing exegesis on your own! Check out your special Logos 5 pricing options with the Custom Upgrade Discount Calculator.