What does Bible study do to you?

Exegesis is loving God enough to stop and listen carefully to what he says.
~ EUGENE H. PETERSON, Eat This Book
Oh, sometimes the word itself—exegesis—sounds so boring to me.

Exegesis: Critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text.

But what happens when I do it is not boring.

I’ve been engulfing myself in Philippians 3:1-11 the past several days.
May I admit it is slightly painful?

But tremendously joyful!

When I dig in deep, my attention slowly drifts away from what I am doing for me and for him, to what he is doing for me and for him.

It humbles me.
Is that what exegesis is supposed to do?

Is that what words can do?

Exegesis is an act of sustained humility: There is so much about this text that I don’t know, that I will never know. 

But what else can words do?

But this text was never intended to train up and equip us into competence, graduate us into an expertise that establishes us as a superior class of Christians, certified and sent off to do God’s work for him among the biblically unwashed. 

If the knowledge we acquire through our reading and study of this text that involves us in following Jesus, diverts us from the very Jesus we started out following, we would have been better off never to have opened the book in the first place.

There is a knowledge that puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1).
A knowledge that is steeped in pride.
It’s not the kind of knowledge I want.

What I want to know is the One who knows.
That’s what I’m learning. Over and anew. 

It’s pure power, this Word reshaping me through words.
May I ever be humbled through its grace.

* * *

What does Bible study do to you?

9 comments:

tinuviel said...

Very insightful. Thanks for sharing what you are learning as you study.

"Exegesis is an act of sustained humility." That is a helpful and fresh perspective. I appreciate you and this post.

the real organic said...

I always enjoy and am encouraged when I stop by. thank you

Barbara H. said...

I actually do like that word exegesis. I love that kind of pulpit message as well.

Amen to wanting the right kind of knowledge with the right attitude.

Lisa notes... said...

I think my husband is tainting me, Barbara. ha. He's heard that word used too often in situations that left him with a bad taste in his mouth. So he's picked out that word and a few others that he'd rather never hear again. It's funny how we associate even neutral words with either good or bad things in our past.

Monica Sharman said...

Oh, yes. And I admit it, too.

Fascinating that though I realize there's so much I don't know and will never know, I keep wanting to go at it!

I love that description of exegisis: "an act of sustained humility."

I turn to the Word, always bowed.
Thanks for a great post, Lisa.

Lisa notes... said...

Monica,
Turning to the Word, always bowed…that’s one of the most beautiful descriptions of Bible study I’ve ever heard. If we all could maintain an attitude like that when we open the Word, wow.

Donna said...

Lisa, thought provoking post. Bible study challenges my temptation to focus on the task of reading the words to the exclusion of hearing the Word speak to me. I need it!

Connie@raise your eyes said...

"What I want to know is the One who knows.
That’s what I’m learning. Over and anew."...oh yes...to fall on my face again in awe that He is GOD and I am not.

emily wierenga said...

what i want to know is the one who knows... LOVE this. thank you, lisa, for another beautiful, challenging post. xo

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