“Exegesis is an act of love” by Eugene Peterson

“Too many Bible readers assume that exegesis is what you do after you have learned Greek and Hebrew. That’s simply not true. Exegesis is nothing more than a careful and loving reading of the text in our mother tongue. Greek and Hebrew are well worth learning, but if you haven’t had the privilege, settle for English.

Once we learn to love this text and bring a disciplined intelligence to it, we won’t be far behind the very best Greek and Hebrew scholars. Appreciate the learned Scripture scholars, but don’t be intimidated by them.

Exegesis is the furthest thing from pedantry; exegesis is an act of love. It loves the one who speaks the words enough to want to get the words right. It respects the words enough to use every means we have to get the words right. Exegesis is loving God enough to stop and listen carefully to what He says.

It follows that we bring the leisure and attentiveness of lovers to this text, cherishing every comma and semicolon, relishing the oddness of the preposition, delighting in the surprising placement of this noun. Lovers don’t take a quick look, get a ‘message’ or a ‘meaning,’ then run off and talk endlessly with their friends about how they feel.”

–Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 55.

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Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Eugene Peterson, Exegesis, Quotable Quotes, Reading

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