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Learning Biblical Exegesis


As we take a second look at Isaiah 55, it important that we take scripture within its contextual time and place.  Out of the text below, you will read passages that are probably all too familiar to you.  It is easy to take scripture, quote it, and super-impose our meanings over what is said.  Instead of eisogesis – which I just described, we must study the text exegetically.  This manner of studying scripture is essentially an inductive method starting with the text rather than with ourselves.  So, in order to understand what God is saying to us, we need to properly understand the text.  Bible study does not start with us but with God and his word.

Read the following from Is 55:5-11:

“Look, you (Israel) will summon nations you did not previously know; nations that did not previously know you will run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he bestows honor on you. Seek the LORD while he makes himself available; call to him while he is nearby! The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle and sinful people their plans. They should return to the LORD, and he will show mercy to them, and to their God, for he will freely forgive them. “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans, and my deeds are not like your deeds, for just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans. The rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return, but instead water the earth and make it produce and yield crops and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat. In the same way, the promise that I make does not return to me, having accomplished nothing. No, it is realized as I desire and is fulfilled as I intend.”

Some questions to ask in your study here in Isaiah 55 are questions like: who, what, when , where, how, and why.  The method of study is observation, correlation, interpretation, and application.  Usually, in our haste, we skip steps 1 and 2 and just do interpretation and application.

Prof. Howard Hendricks at DTS says as one reads scripture, it should be read repeatedly, thoughtfully, patiently, selectively, prayerfully, imaginatively, meditatively, purposefully, acquisitively, and telescopically.

I encourage you to work through this passage, in light of the context of Isaiah 55, and get to the heart of what God is saying.  Spend most of your time in observation of the text asking questions, considering the historical setting, and looking at textual relationships (verbs, pronouns, subject/complement relationships, metaphors, simile, repeated words, figures of speech, structure, etc.)

As you do this, you will see the words of God’s truth unfolding like a flower before you illuminated by the Holy Spirit.  Take some time to do some Bible study and you will see God open truth that will transform you as you walk with Him daily.

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