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What is exegetical research?

Exegetical research or study is tied to exegesis, which refers to the critical explanation or interpretation of a text, typically the scripture. In this sense, exegetical research is defined as the process of careful analytical discovery of the original and intended meaning of scriptural passages, such as verses or chapters.

Why is exegetical analysis important?

Exegesis fosters our understanding of scripture in its original historical context thereby offering a framework for understanding the scripture in the modern context. Egexelical research is a way to avoid imposing the reader’s own meaning or ideas on the passage rather than letting the passage, and therefore the author’s meaning, guide the interpretation.

How to conduct a good exegetical study.

The exegetical method or procedure is the appropriate tool that acts as an enabler for conducting good exegetical research.

The Exegetical Research Process

Typically, the exegetical process entails three key components: observation, interpretation, and application. These three components form the core steps when conducting exegetical research.

Step 1: Observation

The first step entails observing the books, sections, paragraphs, sentences, and words, placing them in the wider context of the relevant scripture. Thorough observation is an important element of good exegetical research. Observation involves viewing the text from every angle.

Step 2: Interpretation

The second step involves uncovering and identifying the correct interpretation from a variety of possible explanations. through validation.

Validation is the resolution of possible explanations of a text. Validation helps one make the informed determination of which meaning is true from different explanations of lexical meanings (meanings of words), syntactical meanings (meanings of words relative to other words, propositional meanings (meanings of sentences), and doctrinal meanings. Doctrinal meanings refer to the scriptural doctrine and may also be termed as biblical-theological meaning.

Enlargement of the text into doctrine is necessary for effective validation. This element (enlargement) is sometimes designated as the third step in a four-step procedure. Enlargement entails looking at the text from the inside out, recognizing that every passage or text is an open portal into a mini-theological system of related texts.

Enlargement places the text in the context of related scriptural texts. This component of the exegetical procedure draws upon the understanding that each scriptural text is representative of a number of conceptually similar texts. Similar texts have the important role of revealing the original context.

Step 3: Application

The application of the interpreted meaning is termed casuistry. Casuistry puts the truth revealed to work: encouraging one to live according to the content of the text by applying the text to every conceivable relevant scenario.

The core steps above are interlinked, forming a chained process such that the effectiveness of the outcome is determined by the vigor employed in each step. A good exegetical research, therefore, takes a thorough approach to each step: observation, interpretation, and application.

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