Friday’s with Fee

I just picked up a copy this week of Gordon Fee’s New Testament Exegesis, and read through the preface, and the introduction.  In his introduction he writes:

The term exegesis is used in this book in a consciously limited sense to refer to the historical investigation into the meaning of the biblical text.  The presupposition lying behind this task is that the biblical books had “authors” and “readers,” and that the authors intended their readers to understand what they wrote.  Exegesis therefore answers the question, What did the biblical author mean?  It has to do both with what he said (the content itself) and why he said it at any given point (the literary context) – as much as that might be discovered, given our distance in time, language, and culture.  Furthermore, exegesis is primarily concerned with intentionality: What did the author intend his original readers to understand? p1

It is this next section that gripped me as a teacher, and pastor.  Our understanding of the scriptures must in turn communicate to our culture and generation in a manner that is both relevant and applicable to our lives today.

Exegetical essays put forward as “sermons” are usually as dry as dust, informative, perhaps, but seldom prophetic or inspirational.  Therefore, the ultimate aim of the biblical student is to apply one’s exegetical understanding of the text to the contemporary church and world. p2

Gordon Fee “New Testament Exegesis”


9 thoughts on “Friday’s with Fee

  1. a lot of us often confuse exegetical lectures with sermons (and the primary difference is use of illustrations and points of application)(and certainly, we need to know what it meant to them (exeesis) before we can really grapple with what it means for us (application).

    The biggest thing for me is needing to get application heavy. Solid exegesis will make application easier but to some of us analytical types even then it’s hard to be sure we make the text real to life (the opposite is the case for the more relational types, they tend to need to be stronger on exegeis).

    I think our personal study time should certainly be heavy on the exegesis/study part, but the sermon/teaching time should more less be light on the exegesis (enough to make things interesting but not boring) and heavy on the application.

      • Robert, I guess I am a brain! ha! Might I dare suggest that even your lectures should have points of application or pastoral/spiritual direction?

        From a pastoral standpoint, why are you teaching on the book of Philippians? What are you hoping to accomplish through the teaching? Is there a word from the Lord that the congregation needs to hear? Is it part of your pastorally and spiritually directing the church?

        These are questions I have to ask myself because I too was once challenged not to just teach a book or subject for it’s own sake because even teaching needs to have pastoral direction behind it.

        If I’ve gone too far, I apologize.

    • Brian,

      Sorry about the miss spelling using my new new Droid to respond to comments.

      Unity, evangelism, Christ likeness are something that God had placed in my heart and the Senior Pastor had ask me to consider preaching out of a book from the NT so I felt that Philippians was the right book.

      Our church is growing and I feel that the themes of unity and joy are important for our church at this point in time. There are big dynamics involved in choosing which book to preach from.

  2. well, i certainly wasn’t trying to question, I was just, well, i hope it didn’t come across that way.

    glad you’re teaching through Philippians (i listened to part of the first one and appreciated your defence of women in the church).

    • Brian, I didn’t mean to sound as if you were questioning me. I enjoy the interaction as I am always interested in how other pastor’s determine their messages, and especially what you have to say since I hold you in high regard.

      There are times when I am asked to preach with a last minute notice so I don’t really have time to put something together so I have to choose from sermons already prepared. This is the exception of course.

      Other times I don’t feel any real clear direction, so I am just faithful and preach. There are times where I sense a very clear direction as to what to minister on. I say all of this because it varies, but in most cases I do have a sense of what the Spirit is urging me to minister on.

      Also keep in mind I am not the Senior Pastor, so I only preach once a month, and teach weekly at our bible institute.

  3. Hi guys, I might be a bit late joining this discussion but as a reader of Fee I find myself here. You made a point about exegesis and sermon application. The jump is something that is concerning me in a fledgling Bible teaching ministry within our church. I love doing exegesis and digging into commentaries. The progression from exegesis to preaching/teaching is something that I would like to greatly improve on. Any hints/tips/resources you would recommend?
    Blessings to you,
    David (Northern Ireland)

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