The Miracle of Exegesis

Greetings, friends, and welcome to the Ancient Hopes Blog. For a quick idea of what we are about, see ancienthopes.com and take a look at the mission statement. Here, just let me give it to you in a nutshell: “The mission of Ancient Hopes is to inspire deep exploration of Holy Scripture with the specific purpose of the spiritual formation of the soul.”

I think a good place to start a blog on exegesis is to visit one of the grandest, oldest, and most misunderstood of the Church’s interpreters, Origen of Alexandria. If you can get Henri Crouzel’s Origen (Harper & Row, 1989), it would not be a bad investment. Crouzel tells us that Origen’s work, and I would say any exegetical work, can only be evaluated in the context of the spiritual life. “The fire that bakes the bread of exegesis is the love of God, the inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit and acts both on the inspired writer and on his interpreter. (p. 55)” Also, “The charism of the interpreter is the same as that of the inspired author. To understand Isaiah or Daniel one must have in oneself the same Holy Spirit. (p. 73). This conviction of Origen does not claim that the commentator’s work is inspired on the same level as Scripture, but does impress upon us that exegesis, if it is done the way God intends it to be done, must possess something of the same quality of Scriptural inspiration, and the product miraculous, burning with spiritual fire.

Well, how are you doing with this? I hope that I can connect in this blog with many of my former students who are in the ministry. Is the above true for you? Jesus tells Peter, “feed my sheep!” What is on the menu? What are you serving up week by week? In this blog, let’s help each other do what we are called to do supernaturally. Of course, everyone is invited, not just pastors and teachers. Any Scripture that we can do a “blog exegesis” on is welcome.

2 Responses to “The Miracle of Exegesis”

  1. Growing up in the Reformation culture has made me wary of the role of the commentator or teacher in expounding the Word of God. I was taught to be fearful of any interpretation of Scripture that cannot be seen in the actual words on the page. As I mature in my spiritual life, I am more and more aware of the Holy Spirit’s role in applying Scripture to my life and sometimes that application cannot be seen in a particular word or phrase in the Bible. What you describe is a much more dynamic relationship with the text and with the Spirit as we seek to walk in step with Him. It is not that the message changes, it is that I may see it in a new light or have a new level of understanding. Thanks for your blogged thoughts which affirm the path I am on!

    • Bev, your comments draw me back to the ancient Church where one’s spiritual character and life of virtue was the number one prerequisite for commenting on Scripture. Obviously learning was important, but clearly learning apart from an intentionally cultivated spirituality and years of mentoring and formation would be seen as dangerous to the Church. The spirit of this, I believe, is lost to us who trust so much in our intellect/education on one hand, or our own subjective “feel” for the text on the other. The hard road is to deal squarely with who we are before God and embrace upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Profundity is something that comes out of one’s very life; it is who we are that gives us insight and authority.

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