Re: Eisegesis, Exegesis, Epegesis, etc.

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Fri Sep 11 1998 - 11:36:32 EDT

On Fri, 11 Sep 1998 07:03:56 -0700 writes:
>Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>> Well, since I was the one who brought up the question of an
>> epexegetical KAI in Mark 6:2, I should get the chance to respond.
>> My Classical Greek lexicon is at the other office, but a trusty
>> Unabridged indicates the following:
>> EISEGESIS - "[Gr. ... a bringing in; from EISEHEIQAI, to lead,
>guide] ...
>> an improper method of exposition by which the expounder introduces
>> his own ideas into the interpretation of the text."
>> EPECEGESIS - "[Gr. ... a detailed account, from EPECEGEISQAI,
>> to recount in detail; EPI, upon, ...] additional explanation;
>> clarification, as by the addition of a word or words."
>Thanks, Paul ~
>I was unaware of my spelling error for the word epecegesis. I think
>I've got this one down, thanks to you and Carl and Phillip.
>I am wondering how many of the Sunday sermons I have heard would be
>vulnerable to the charge of being eisegetical. Most, I would
>expect... And some of the best ones at that, where the issue being
>addressed in the sermon is but marginally connected to the apparent
>intended meaning of the writer of the passage being used in the
>sermon. The text is used as a platform to address other issues that a
>pastor sees as needing a focus. Yet the teachings of these sermons
>are sound. The life of a working pastor does not, perhaps, allow
>him/her the time for our rigorous approach to the Greek text as a
>general rule. Nor, do I believe, is our forgiveness of his
>methodology particularly relevant or indicated! :-)

It would be interesting to be able to get a representative big picture
of the type of hermeneutics being employed by preachers these days.
I suppose one way to do this is to randomly pick churches, as time
permits, and go visit. The few times I've done this (I speak as a
preacher) I have been rather appalled.

To be sure, credibility is or should be based not only upon the morality
of the speaker (does anyone doubt these days that one's personal life
cannot be separated from his public life?), but largely also upon his
ability to convince the audience that what he is saying is true. Of
a knowledge of the Greek itself does not assure credibility, as other
factors certainly do come to play, but it does help. Often, all it takes
is one exegetical faux paus to trigger skepticism or distrust (for me,
even an English grammatical error does that - "pitch the ball good
to Mark and I," or "Me and Mark are trying to hit home runs." Anybody
else have grown kids who talk like that? Aargh.

Yes, it is very refreshing to hear a preacher well-grounded in the
languages who humbly uses such to properly exegete and exposit (the
terms are virtually synonymous; perhaps I use them both for poetic
emphasis?). Three names that stand out in my thinking and experience:
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson (Trinity Seminary; retired?), Dr. Bruce Waltke
(Westminster Seminary or Regents College), Dr. Haddon Robinson
(distinguished chair of homiletics, Gordon Conwell Seminary). I had
all three in seminary. Ah, those were the days.

>But then, a sermon is not a Bible class, eh? Or is it? [Sorry ~ Not
>a b-greek issue!]
>I would like to hear more about just what hermeneutics is...

My favorite is Lk 24:27 where Christ DIERMHNEUSEN AUTOIS

Now, who could argue with such hermeneutics? Perhaps a good place
to start.

Paul Dixon

You don't need to buy Internet access to use free Internet e-mail.
Get completely free e-mail from Juno at
Or call Juno at (800) 654-JUNO [654-5866]

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:59 EDT