What is the relationship between hermeneutics, exegesis, and exposition?


The Penny Black. I kinda wanted to be the Indiana Jones of the stamp collecting world when I was a kid. Click to enlarge.

When I was a kid I collected stamps… and butterflies and fossils for a while. I know, I know, but in my own defence, my mother enlisted me into the Museum Club in Grahamstown for a while (how did I ever manage to get married?).

Anyway, I no longer collect stamps or the rest but I’ve noticed how, after being a Christian for a while, we tend to collect funny sounding words. The three words above are examples.

In a nutshell hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation, “How should I read and study Scripture.” I know it sounds boring but bottom line is it’s critically important. How you read Scripture will translate directly into what you believe that Scripture is saying which again will translate into how you think you should apply Scripture.

The second word, exegesis, comes from the Greek word ἐξηγεῖσθαι (phonetically: Exegeisthai, I think) which means “to lead out”. Basically it’s the explanation or interpretation of the text. It’s the exercise of deciding what the text actually means (obviously this is going to be affected by how you chose to read it in the first place, your hermeneutic).

Finally, exposition. There’s a plethora of ways to preach; expositorily is one of them. Expository preaching focuses on a single passage, makes that passage clear to the congregation (exegetically) and then expounds that single text highlighting its application.

So hermeneutics (how you read Scripture) flows into exegesis (how you understand Scripture) which flows into exposition (how you preach Scripture). They’re all related and they’re all critical whether you know about them or not. Make sure you attend a church where they’re practised.

2 Timothy 2:15 says:

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

How important is this stuff where you worship?

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