Exegesis and hermeneutics are closely related concepts in biblical studies. Both are essential for a well-rounded and historically grounded understanding of the Scriptures.
“Exegesis” comes from the Greek “exēgēsis,” meaning “explanation” or “interpretation,” derived from “exēgeisthai,” meaning “to lead out.” “
Hermeneutics” originates from the Greek “hermēneutikos,” meaning “interpretive,” which is related to “hermēneuein,” meaning “to interpret.”
See the comparison chart and explanations below to learn more, including the relationship between exegesis and hermeneutics, the best tools for each practice, and much more.
Comparing Exegesis and Hermeneutics: At a Glance
|Definition||The process of interpreting a specific biblical text to understand its original meaning.||The broader discipline of interpreting texts, encompassing the principles and methods used to understand the Bible.|
|Focus||Analyzes the historical, cultural, linguistic, and literary context of a specific text.||Provides the framework for interpretation, including the consideration of historical, cultural, and theological factors.|
|Application||Involves drawing out the meaning of the text based on its context.||Involves understanding the text within the broader context of the entire Bible and its theological themes.|
|Goal||To understand the original meaning of a specific biblical passage.||To understand the overall message of the Bible and its relevance to contemporary life.|
|Tools||Uses lexicons, dictionaries, commentaries, and other resources to analyze the text.||Uses principles of interpretation, including consideration of literary genre, historical context, and theological themes.|
How is exegesis applied?
Exegesis can be applied in various ways, including sermon preparation, Bible study, and theological research.
By analyzing a text’s historical, cultural, and linguistic context, exegesis helps uncover the original meaning of a passage, providing insights for teaching, preaching, and personal understanding of the Scriptures.
How is hermeneutics applied?
Hermeneutics can be applied in biblical interpretation, theology, and pastoral ministry.
It provides a framework for understanding the Bible’s historical context, literary genres, and theological themes.
Hermeneutics aids in interpreting the Scriptures accurately, making them relevant to contemporary life, and guiding preaching, teaching, and personal study.
What Is the Relationship between Exegesis and Hermeneutics?
Exegesis and hermeneutics are closely related concepts in biblical studies, but they serve different purposes.
Hermeneutics is the broader discipline of interpretation, encompassing the principles and methods used to understand texts, especially the Bible.
It provides the framework for interpreting the Scriptures, considering factors such as historical context, literary genre, and theological themes.
Exegesis, on the other hand, is the practical application of hermeneutics to a specific biblical text.
It involves drawing out the meaning of the text based on its historical, cultural, linguistic, and literary context.
In other words, hermeneutics provides the guidelines for interpretation, while exegesis is the process of interpreting a particular text within that framework.
Both are essential for a well-rounded and historically grounded understanding of the Scriptures.
Helpful Tools for Doing Biblical Exegesis
When conducting biblical exegesis, various tools can enhance the process. Bible dictionaries and lexicons help with understanding the original languages.
Bible commentaries offer insights from scholars on specific passages. Concordances enable quick location of verses.
Historical and cultural resources provide context for the text. Bible atlases and maps give geographical context.
Interlinear Bibles show the original languages alongside translations.
Software tools, like Logos or Accordance, offer digital resources for in-depth study.
These tools, combined with a systematic approach to exegesis, can help uncover the original meaning of biblical texts and provide a deeper understanding of the Scriptures.
Helpful Tools for Doing Biblical Hermeneutics
For biblical hermeneutics, several tools can aid in interpreting the Scriptures.
Bible commentaries provide expert insights into the text’s meaning and context.
Books on hermeneutical principles offer guidance on interpretation methods. Historical and cultural resources help us understand the Bible’s original context.
Theological dictionaries and encyclopedias provide information on key concepts and themes. Bible software, like Logos or Accordance, offers digital access to a wide range of resources.
Interdisciplinary studies, such as archaeology and linguistics, can also inform biblical interpretation.
Books on preaching often have hermeneutical help, too.
By using these tools, readers can gain a deeper understanding of the Bible’s message and its relevance to contemporary life.
What’s the Difference between Exegesis and Eisegesis?
Exegesis and eisegesis are two approaches to interpreting biblical texts. Exegesis seeks to understand the original meaning of a text by analyzing its historical, cultural, linguistic, and literary context.
It involves drawing out the meaning from the text itself. Eisegesis, on the other hand, involves reading one’s own beliefs or ideas into the text rather than deriving the meaning from the text itself.
This approach can lead to biased or inaccurate interpretations.
While exegesis seeks to uncover the author’s intended meaning, eisegesis imposes the reader’s own perspective onto the text, often disregarding its original context and meaning.
What’s the difference between hermeneutics and homiletics?
Hermeneutics and homiletics are both essential disciplines in biblical studies, but they serve different purposes.
Hermeneutics is the art and science of interpreting texts, especially the Bible.
It provides the principles and methods for understanding the Scriptures, considering factors such as historical context, literary genre, and theological themes.
Homiletics, on the other hand, is the art of preaching or delivering sermons.
It involves applying the insights gained from hermeneutics to craft messages that communicate the Bible’s teachings effectively to a congregation.
While hermeneutics focuses on interpretation, homiletics focuses on communication, helping to bridge the gap between the biblical text and the audience.