If you meet someone and they say to you, "I'm a an exegete and apart from me, you can have no knowledge of the gospel, of who Christ is, of what salvation is like, and of what the effect is to be when the gospel is applied to the life of the believer", then don't waste your time talking with him. Because I've already done it and it is useless. Exegetics itself is an extremely useful tool. It's the man behind the exegetics that has the potential to make it dangerous. The remark in question was as follows:
"Apart from exegetics, we have no knowledge of the gospel, of who Christ is, of what salvation is like, and of what the effect is to be when the gospel is applied to the life of the believer."
We are apart from God. Exegetics is also apart from God. God brings us into reconciliation with Himself through providing His Son to us for the purpose of bringing us into a relationship with Him that allows us to be in His presence. Let's not forget that exegetics is a man-made science which we use to look back at the words of the church fathers and ascertain, as close as we can, what they said. Or much more importantly what those God inspired authors were told. Even in that way, exegetics is especially limited in rendering an understanding that is complete by itself, in light of these statments of Paul's in 1 Cor. 2:
10[b](T)For to us God revealed them (U)through the Spirit;
. 12Now we (X)have received, not the spirit of (Y)the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
13which things we also speak, (Z)not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Cor. 6-7:
6Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are (A)mature; a wisdom, however, not of (B)this age nor of the rulers of (C)this age, who are (D)passing away;
7but we speak God's wisdom.
4and my message and my preaching were (F)not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of (G)the Spirit and of power,
5so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on (H)the power of God.
I think God just spoke for Himself.
Nothing stated here is suggesting we should discard exegetics. Nor that anybody even wants to. However, exegetics can be right and it can be wrong, depending on it's practice in the fallen hands of any given man.
One of the problems during our practicing of exegetics is, we don't always do our business by doing what God said above, "...combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words".
The apostles could not always refer to, when given the available words in our fallen world, find one to convey God's Spirit-worldly intended meaning. Much of the time the apostles are actually introducing semantic definition and ideas within their message that hitherto did not exist, laying the groundwork for a new dictionary of words which only the bible has the definitions for, and therefore would be beyond the reach of any Greek lexicon or Hebrew dictionary.
In many cases the apostles were semantically incorrect, in our terms, but in all cases, do render their final intended meaning clearly with their surrounding statements.
The main problem in exegetics is that certain issues and meanings will never be agreed upon, within the practice of exegetics. The finest exegetes in the world now and forever will disagree. For that reason, I believe, exegetics, as a science, must fall into a subcategory, in the pursuit of meaning, within a larger body of discernment. It's all about discernment. And prudence. I'm surely not going to do a very good job clarifying those two virtues here, but possibly in some future posts I can have some fun and build on what I can extract from the bible about them. I'm simply trying to remove some roadblocks placed in front of the average believer by poorly done exegetics which may cause that believer to stumble in his efforts to cut through the confusion when seeking biblical Truths. I certainly do not claim to have the whole scheme figured out yet, and frankly I'm sure I never will have it completely, but in general, what I've said here appears to me to be accurate, and a fine starting point to continue from, while proceeding down the bramble infested highway of Christian growth.
The mind of the person in the opening illustration of this post is unduly empowering himself when he speaks,"Apart from exegetics,we have no knowledge of the gospel, of who Christ is, of what salvation is like, and of what the effect is to be when the gospel is applied to the life of the believer". And by assuming power in that fashion it is taking over control of the self contained and self empowered truths of the bible. What we have in this speaker is a very powerful human mind that has not grasped the well seasoned discernment it needs to aquire before it can properly apply exegetics towards biblical Truths.
Exegetics is a critical aid if we are to understand God's word, but poorly done, it can be useless. Dead. Poorly done exegetics can leave people with dangerous man-made conclusions involving the message of God's Word that may hinder the work of the Spirit in them and hinder their understanding of what Christ was sent here to do for them. So be careful.
I'm out of time so here are some proverbs that are truly enjoyable for me to contemplate with regards to the studying of the whole bible, therby allowing the Lord to speak its single meaning to us on His own terms.
Hope this stimulated as much thought in you as in me. Thanks for looking in. Any feedback would be relished, especially more in the way of critical counsel or correction, than in the way of agreement. Some edification please. No desire to debate, just to be corrected, insightfully, and share, and grow and be reconciled, towards the goal "of us all being in the one mind of Christ" which He asks us to strive after.
Those proverbs I mentioned:
God refers to the urtterances of His mouth saying "They are all straightforward to him who understands,..."
"and all desirable things cannot compare with her (wisdom)".
"On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found"
"Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,..." It just makes you pause and
think doesn't it.
"I, wisdom dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion."
"From everlasting I was established...when He established the heavens I (wisdom) was there".
"a false balance is an abomination to the Lord". Watch your perspective.
"The Lord will not allow the righteous to hunger". If He is referring to food, then He would feel even moreso about spiritual food. Jesus said "I am the True bread from heaven...", "Those who eat of Me will never hunger."
"But we have the mind of Christ". That is quite a gift.