Favorite Exegetical Tools (Resources)?

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Michael S. | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Apr 7 2015 1:25 PM

Im interested to know what resources you use most or favor for exegetical work?

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Into Grace | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 1:41 PM

I like to examine Greek verb tenses. As for resources, Logos sells Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics by Wallace.

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 4:44 PM

Here is an exegetical workflow a group of students at Moody Theological Seminary constructed for weekly sermon preparation that uses a lot of Logos resources

                                          

1st 5 Hours

1. THE ZONE: Tremble before the Word of God. Treasure and love God’s Word.

2. Familiarize Yourself With The Text (Big Picture AND Details)

            a. Big Picture: Read the context of the “focus passage.”

i. Start with the near context on both sides of the “focus passage.” This step prevents obvious misinterpretation resulting from isolating a passage from its context (=pretext).

            ii. Then read the entire book that the “focus passage” occurs in, noting prominent themes throughout.

            b. Details: Read the “focus passage” in light of the context it fits into.

c. It is helpful to do this reading aloud. This gives the opportunity to take in the text with an additional sense (hearing). This is particularly helpful if you read the text in the Greek: It enables the expositor to more concretely sense alliteration and any significant sound-impact of certain words such as πτωχὴ.

3. THE ZONE: Identify and own presuppositions, preunderstanding and prejudices.

            a. Record a brief summary statement of your preunderstanding of the book.

            b. Record a brief summary statement of your preunderstanding of the “focus passage.”

c. It may be helpful at this point to diagram the text in English. This will expose what you believe is important in the text at this point in the exegetical method. It is likely (if not desirable) that your understanding about this passage will change throughout this process. This will help to demonstrate that.

d. Dialogue with other Christians about your current understanding of this text, and how it fits into the greater context. Incorporate valuable input from the community of faith.

4. Establish The Text (Details)

            Certify, in detail, any ambiguities or textual disagreements that affect this passage.

Using the NET Bible online is the most up-to-date source for this step (LOGOS has the NET Bible Notes, but they are not updated as frequently as the website).  Research the “tc” notes in the NET Bible.

5. Literary Typing (Big Picture)

To gain the big picture of the types of genres employed in the passage. The LOGOS Passage Guide provides the Mackie Literary Genre Coding of the New Testament.

6. Compare Parallel Bible Versions (Details)

To gain detailed insight into how various Bible committees have differed in translating he passage. This process will highlight areas where scholars have struggled in translating a passage as demonstrated by their using different glosses.  Observe areas of agreement and disagreement between versions. Where all agree, it is exegetically safe to “pound the pulpit.”  Where there is disagreement, it may be wise to “pad” the pulpit.

 The LOGOS Passage Analysis, Version River Tool provides a verse-by-verse running “river” depicting the agreement/disagreement of selected Bible versions.

The LOGOS Text Comparison Tool places the text of selected version side-by-side in an        interlinear fashion and highlights any differences between the translations.

When using either of these tools, be sure to make apple-to-apple comparison regarding translation methods.

-Formal Equivalents (ESV, NASB95, KJV, HCSB)

-Functional Equivalents (NIV, NLT, NET)

-Historical (RSV, NRSV)

 

7. Compare Pericopes (Big Picture)

To gain the big picture of how various Bible versions have broken down the passage.  Consider not pounding the pulpit in areas of little consensus about the thought flow and breaks in it.

The LOGOS Passage Analysis, Compare Pericopes Tool provides a visual depiction of the varying paragraph breaks of selected Bible versions.

 

8.  Verbs (BIG PICTURE) and Conjunctions (DETAILS)

            a. Verbs (BIG PICTURE)

            Using a Visual Filter, analyze and chart the verbs in the unit according to a) tense/form/aspect; b) mood; c) voice; and d) person. Based upon Cynthia Long Westfall’s “Methodology for Locating Prominence” and the idea of “planes of discourse,” identify markedness, focus, and prominence. Consult Campbell for verbal aspect analysis.

            b. Conjunctions (DETAILS)

Using a Visual Filter, analyze and chart the conjunctions in the unit according to different levels of discontinuity. Consult Runge for markedness, focus and prominence in conjunctions on the discourse level.

9. THE ZONE

a. Record a new summary statement capturing your current understanding of the “focus passage.”

b. At this stage, enough spiritual input has been gleaned to tremble before the Word of God and the God of the Word to take break to submit devotionally to Lord what has been studied thus far. Contextualization, as participation, may be broad, loose, even technically inaccurate at this stage, as long as there is involvement with the text.  Devotional thoughts relevant to the passage should be developing, and best if expressed in community.  Make a LOGOS clipping of the devotional for later reference.

 

2nd 5 Hours

10. Sentence Diagramming (DETAILS)

Diagramming the passage in the Greek solidifies details of the clauses and the arrangement of the thought flow. Best done in community where we can consider how others may view the passage. The LOGOS Sentence Diagramming Tool with Text Flow allows this text to be arranged so as to show connections and breaks.  Keeping one verb to a line and a separate line for each conjunction is helpful.

11. Clause Order Analysis (DETAILS)

 To gain detailed insight into any significance of the order of the author’s clauses.

a. Level 1: Lexham High Definition NT (Runge)

            With the premise that “choice implies meaning,” Runge’s tool indicates special uses of               language by highlighting them with graphic indicators in the text.

b. Level 2: Lexham Clausal Outline (Deppe)

Deppe provides an outline of the text and identifies the type of clause/sentence for each line. Deppe’s Clausal Outline gives a jump-start to exegesis by providing a helpful framework to the Greek text.  In a quick reference, one can see the structure of the passage and follow the thought flow.  Beware the outlines are not         inspired and when possible, it should be referenced after personal outlining to prevent losing what might have been otherwise personally discovered through individual exegesis.  Note that Deppe’s outline does not separate conjunctions on a separate line.

c. Level 3: Open Text (Porter)

Syntactical analysis of the Greek text at the word, group, and clause levels.

 

d. Level 4: Cascadia Syntax Graphs of the NT (Asia Bible Society)

Cascadia provides a more highly detailed computer-analyzed tree analysis of the text. Based on a computer-readable Greek grammar, this tool has the greatest potential for ongoing updating.

12. Historical Context/Social Scientific Criticism (BIG PICTURE)

To gain big picture of what others can offer regarding the socio-historical issues in the passage.

Best single source is the IVP Bible Background, but the Holman Bible Handbook, or good commentaries (be very critical and selective) can offer helpful information.

Also, the LOGOS Passage Guide provide these tools:

            - Biblical People

            - Biblical Places

            - Biblical timelines, weights and measures, as appropriate

 

13. THE ZONE

At this stage, spiritual discernment about the text should deepen and simple truths should be evident.  Pause to rejoice in newly found treasure; share in community.  Vocalize not how you are capturing the text, but how the text is capturing you. A teaching outline can be produced at this stage.  Further study and reflection in the last five hours will produce the sermon.

It is important to note throughout the process how your study has effected your initial understanding of the “focus passage.” Has your impression of the text changed? How? Why? So what?!

3rd 5 Hours

It is important to note at this point that the DETAILS and the BIG PICTURE are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are informing and forming each other. This is why we jump back and forth between them in the exegetical method.

14. Clausal Analysis (BIG PICTURE)

To gain big picture insights into the clausal structure based on large sections of the passage, syntax, and grammar. Use LOGOS Lexham Discourse Greek NT (Runge).

15 Word Analysis (DETAILS)

Consideration of definitions, glosses, and semantic domain with respect to nouns and verbs (BDAG; Louw-Nida), paying special attention to the author’s use of these words throughout their body of work.

16. Application

Possible & impossible

Plausible & implausible

Probable & improbable

→ NECESSARY

18. THE ZONE

At this final stage, the text is spiritually forming us.  We reflect, exercise faith, prayer, and meditation.  We tremble before the Word of God, as it changes us by the Holy Spirit. We are now ready to prepare and deliver a sermon.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

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Matthew | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 4:46 PM

It is more of a book that provides background information for the exegetical process than something actively used during the process, but D.A. Carson's Exegetical Fallacies is well worth reading (and periodically re-reading as a refresher).

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 4:47 PM

Thanks David.

Lynden Williams Communications

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 4:57 PM

David, that is a very technical process. I can imagine that it would take a lot of self-discipline to stick to it.Do you find this to be the case?

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 4:57 PM

Handbook to New Testament Exegesis by Craig Bloomberg and his assistant Jennifer.  It is on sale through March Madness.  I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.  It deals with the "Exegetical Method" and gives you a lot of examples to illustrate how to use the method.  It promises to be very helpful!

DAL

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 5:44 PM

Bruce Dunning:

David, that is a very technical process. I can imagine that it would take a lot of self-discipline to stick to it.Do you find this to be the case?

Yes, it requires discipline and the community aspect of reviewing assumptions with peers doesn't happen as often as I would like. But it is a general flow that prompts me to stay on task and protects me from a lot of rabbit trails.  Bear in mind that this was developed in the Seminary setting so real life demands that it not become a legalistic burden, but a "plan" to increase likelihood that sermons are based in the intended meaning of a text and not just the personal burr under the saddle of the pastor. We experimented with online collaboration as a few of us were studying the same text in our respective congregations.

I find that there is a lot of overlap with J.R. Millers videos of his 5-day sermon cycle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw_66oH7ZfI which I found through a Logos forum.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 5:51 PM

Here is a visual representation of the process that doesn't seem quite so technical.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

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Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 5:57 PM

I really like the visual. Thanks.

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

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Yasmin Stephen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 7:05 PM

DAL:

Handbook to New Testament Exegesis by Craig Bloomberg and his assistant Jennifer.

Jennifer the assistant's full name is Jennifer Foutz Markley.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 7:16 PM

Yasmin Stephen:

DAL:

Handbook to New Testament Exegesis by Craig Bloomberg and his assistant Jennifer.

Jennifer the assistant's full name is Jennifer Foutz Markley.

Yes, indeed. When I wrote the post I only remembered Jennifer so I didn't have time to look up the full name. No disrespect intended. Plus I'm sure nobody goes around calling her by her full name anyway, unless someone is upset at her just like my mother was at me when I was little and she would call me by my full name ;-) Thanks Yasmin for providing Jen's full name :-D

DAL

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Yasmin Stephen | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 7:26 PM

DAL:

Thanks Yasmin for providing Jen's full name :-D

 

You're welcome, DAL :-)

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mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 7:47 PM

My favorite is the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

'https://www.logos.com/product/1214/the-new-treasury-of-scripture-knowledge 

Scripture is still the best commentary on itself. This reference is often packaged with other works but it's really priceless. 

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 8:33 PM

David:  That's FABULOUS!  Thanks for sharing.

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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elnwood | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 9:03 PM

Michael S.:

Im interested to know what resources you use most or favor for exegetical work?

The SIL Exegetical Summaries series. It saves me the trouble of checking a dozen commentaries, and quickly tells me what are the majority and minority views on a passage, and who holds to them. If I want to investigate further, I know what commentaries to check.

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Into Grace | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 9:56 PM

mab:

My favorite is the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

'https://www.logos.com/product/1214/the-new-treasury-of-scripture-knowledge 

Scripture is still the best commentary on itself. This reference is often packaged with other works but it's really priceless. 

Yes

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 10:17 PM

elnwood:
The SIL Exegetical Summaries series. It saves me the trouble of checking a dozen commentaries, and quickly tells me what are the majority and minority views on a passage, and who holds to them. If I want to investigate further, I know what commentaries to check.

Yes but it takes time to go through all the info!

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 11

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Into Grace | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 10:17 PM

Thanks David for sharing this workflow.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Apr 7 2015 10:35 PM

A very different answer for those who don't see themselves as original language scholars:

Biblical Exegesis: An Introductory Overview Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.


Introduction / Definitions:

  • Exegesis - careful investigation of the original meaning of texts in their historical and literary contexts; the English word comes from a Greek verb meaning "to lead out of" (Greek "ex" = "out"; "agein" = "to lead/go/draw"); the process basically involves asking analytical questions about various aspects of the texts and their contexts 
    • the opposite processs is called Eisegesis, which means "reading [your own opinions] into" the text (not a good idea in biblical studies!)
  • Biblical Criticism / Critical Methods - various ways of doing biblical exegesis, each having a specific goal and a specific set of questions; some methods are more historical, others more literary, others more sociological, theological, etc. 
    • biblical "criticism" does not mean "criticizing" the text (i.e. what you don't like or don't agree with);
    • rather, it means asking "critical" questions, based on "criteria" that are as clear, careful, and objective as possible.
  • Hermeneutics - the theory and methodology of interpretation, especially of scriptural texts; a branch of theology that deals with the principles underlying biblical exegesis.

Various Methods of Biblical Exegesis / Interpretation:

The following table lists many different approaches or methods of biblical interpretation, as grouped in the document "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church," by the Pontifical Biblical Commission (1993).

A) The Historical-Critical Method

Questions Typically Asked:

Composition History Questions

Who is the author of the work?  What do we know about him/her/them? Is the attributed author the actual author, or is the work pseudepigraphic? When, where, and under what circumstances was the work written? Who were the original recipients?  Where did they live?

Traditional Literary Criticism

What words are used, and what range of meanings do they have? What images and symbols are used, and what do they signify? What characters appear in the story? What do we know about them? How are the characters related to one another in the story?

Comparison of Translations

Are there any significant differences between various modern translations? When were these translations done, using which translation philosophies? Which ancient Hebrew or Greek texts underlie the various translations? Has anything been lost or obscured in the process of translation?

Textual Criticism

Are there any variant readings in the ancient manuscripts? Are the variants negligible (mere spelling) or significant (affecting meaning)? Can the variants be explained as intentional changes, or as accidental ones? How do the literary or historical contexts help explain the variant readings?

Source Criticism

Does the text have any underlying source or sources? Which version of a source was used, in case there is more than one? What do the sources actually say and mean in their original contexts? How are the sources used (quoted, paraphrased, adapted?) in the later text?

Form Criticism

What is the literary form or “genre” of the whole work and the particular text? Does the text follow or diverge from the usual expectations for this genre? What is the normal purpose/goal of this genre? In what social context would texts of this genre have been used?

Redaction Criticism

How has the author used the source(s) in shaping this text? Are there any parallel texts, and how is this text similar and/or different? What particular views or theological emphases does this author show? How did the author’s life circumstances affect the shaping of the text?

Socio-Historical Criticism

If the story claims to be historical, what really happened? What social, historical, or cultural information can be gleaned from the text? What background information is necessary to better understand the text? What was life like for the common people, not just the ruling elites?

B) New Methods of Literary Analysis

Questions Typically Asked:

Rhetorical Analysis

What message is the author trying to convey? Is the author attempting to instruct, inspire, defend, or persuade the reader? What rhetorical techniques does he use to achieve his goals?

Narrative Analysis

Who are the characters in the story? What roles do they play? What is the plot sequence?  What narrative time is covered? What is the author’s and/or narrator’s point of view?

Semiotic Analysis

What deeper patterns of meaning are conveyed by the words and symbols?

 

C) Approaches Based on Tradition

Questions Typically Asked:

Canonical Approach

Where does this text belong in the literary context of the entire Bible? How is this text related to prior texts and/or later texts in the Bible? How does its location in the Canon affect the meaning of this text?

Using Jewish Interpretative Traditions

How do traditional Jewish methods of interpretation read this text? Are there any parallel or similar stories in Rabbinic literature? Do Jewish and Christian interpretations of this text differ significantly?

History of Interpretation (Wirkungsgeschichte)

How was this text interpreted by the “Church Fathers” and in later centuries? Is the text interpreted differently by various churches and denominations? How has the text been interpreted in art, music, liturgy, and popular culture?

D) Apps. Using the Human Sciences

Questions Typically Asked:

Sociological Approach

What insights from Sociology can help in the interpretation of the text? What patterns of human social behavior are evident in the text?

Cultural Anthropology Approach

What models from Cultural Anthropology can help us understand the text? What cultural presuppositions/patterns affect the interpretation of the text?

Psychological/Psychoanalytical Apps.

How can the text be interpreted using various theories from Psychology? Can the text help us understand the human psyche better?

E) Contextual Approaches

Questions Typically Asked:

Liberationist Approach

Has this text been used for domination of oppressed people? How? Can this text be used for the liberation of the poor/disadvantaged? How? Can other texts counteract the detrimental effects of oppressive texts?

Feminist Approach

Does the text evidence gender bias?  Was later interpretation also biased? How is the meaning of the text affected if read from a feminist perspective? What other texts can be recovered and used to balance out biased texts?

 

Methods of Exegesis/Interpretation

Advantages/Strengths of These Methods:

Disadvantages/Weaknesses of These Methods::

A) The Historical-Critical Method

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B) New Methods of Literary Analysis

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C) Approaches Based on Tradition

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D) Approaches Using Human Sciences

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E) Contextual Approaches

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F) Fundamentalist Interpretation

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Suggestions for Further Reading:

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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