First, be certain that you fully understand the professor’s instructions for your assignment, since exegetical work can vary from person to person. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
Next, understand the process. Typically exegetical work will include some or all of the following:
- Orienting the passage (pericope) in the context of the Biblical book as a whole.
- Examining the passage's literary style, its grammar, and word choices (lexical/concordance work).
- Orienting the passage in its historical and cultural context.
- Asking questions of the passage (critical analysis) based on what you have discovered thus far.
- Considering the theology of the passage, its theological implications.
- Forming your own observations and thoughts about the passage. Remember, everyone brings unique
insights to the Bible. There is no right, wrong, or "but they're smarter than me."
- Then finally turning to commentaries to learn how others have interpreted it the passage.
Librarian's Tip: Each of the tasks that follow can be accomplished using the BibleWorks program loaded onto selected computers in Bridwell. Please note, however, that BibleWorks is sophisticated software that beginners sometimes find daunting. It may be more prudent to learn the exegetical process first before attempting to learn the software.
Finally, jump in and do it!
Exegetical Reference Works
Without naming names, at least one bow-tied member of the Perkins faculty has been known to practically swoon as he recommends this work to students. If you feel like you need more in-depth guidance, then you should take a look:
Gorman, Michael J. Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers. Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson Publishers, 2009. Reference BS 511.3 .G67 2009
Perkins School of Theology
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Dallas, TX 75275-0476