I was ordained and installed to the pastorate in January, 2014, but my ordination examination took place the prior year. The written exam addressed exegetical method: “Briefly describe your exegetical methodology.” My answer from 2013 is below. It is virtually the same weekly spadework I continue to do for expository preaching.
Note: This exegetical method is generally what I was taught by my NT/OT profs at Indiana Wesleyan University and my pastor at Trinity Evangelical Church’s pastors college, and is heavily influenced by standard works I’ve read on OT or NT exegesis — see Fee, Stuart, et al.
- Select the pericope and verify English divisions are supported by the Hebrew/Greek text.
- Conduct my own translation of the text, check variants, LXX if needed, etc.
- After I have a translation make sure it has the same feel as the English version, and I follow up on things that demand follow up, e.g. words emphasized through repetition, symbolism, other Scriptural allusions, themes, narrative flow, etc.
- Consult each of the telescoping contexts – immediate, the [rest of the] book, OT and/or NT, and then consult historical-cultural context, and sometimes will consult how book has been utilized in church history.
- Typically jot down a “sermon use list” and from there I start to outline my sermon, eventually massaging it into a manuscript.