Think “ICE” – Isagogical, Categorical, Exegetical
When you approach a text, be sure to prayerfully consider it in three ways:
- Isagogical – introductory review of the historical context
- Categorical –the topic being addressed
- Exegetical –the specific words, tenses, etc. used under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16)
Here’s a quick example from Acts 10, when Peter meets Cornelius:
Isagogical – Peter, a devout Jew and follower of Christ, and Cornelius, a Roman centurion and a worshiper of the true God, are brought together through individual visions sent to each of them by God.
Categorical – Peter is being introduced to the fact that God was sharing the good news of salvation through Christ with the Gentiles, all of whom were seen by Jews as common and unclean.
Exegetical – The language is powerful. Peter sees the animals in his dream as κοινός (koinos – common or profane) and ἀκάθαρτος (akathartos – impure, foul). When he is told to “rise, kill and eat” (10:13), he declares that he has never touched such in his life. The same voice then tells him that what God has cleansed (καθαρίζω – katharizō – purged, purified – Aorist tense, something done in the past, never to change) should never again be called κοινός (koinos – common or profane). Peter ends his meeting with Cornelius by stating, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons (προσωπολήπτης – prosōpolēptēs – an accepter of a face, exhibiting partiality): But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” (10:34, 35).
How “cool” is THAT?!