In your Bible study, are you an “Outie” or an “Innie”?

Regarding hermeneutics (Biblical interpretation), the more formal terms are “exegesis” (outie, getting out of the Scripture what is intended) and “eisegesis” (innie, twisting a verse to meet your own ends).

Anyone wishing to use Scripture to support their preconceived notions will typically go for eisegesis. An example: to support the mantra “Name it and claim it,” use the last phrase in James 4:2 – “You have not because you ask not.” Or John 14:14, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

However, if you approach these verses with exegesis in mind, here is what you discover: In James 4, the full context shows why you “have not” – Jas 4:1-4 “From where do wars and fightings among you come? Is it not from this, from your lusts which war in your members? You desire, and do not have. You murder, and are jealous, and cannot obtain. You fight and war, yet you have not because you ask not. You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your lusts.”

Also, check out the context for in John 14:13-14 “And whatever you may ask in My name, that I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

So, asking just to get is clearly not the message in these verses. Asking to give God glory, not to get what you want, is! Sounds like the “Name it, claim it” approach is CLEARLY an “innie.” Remember Paul’s admonition to young pastor Timothy: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Tim. 3:16

When you approach God’s word, make sure you are an “Outie!”


About Barry Davis

Career Coach | Professor | Speaker | Blogger | Minister | Marathoner "What You Do should be Who You Are..."
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