Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sermon Exegesis on a Shoe-String

I don't have much of a exegetical library. Sometimes I can borrow circulating commentaries from the Asbury library, but I'm usually doing my sermon exegesis from four sources:

I'd like to have more, but to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to exegesis with the library that you have.

After prayer, I begin by opening up a Word document and taking notes. This is the typical result (the odd characters on the first page come from my pdf converter getting confused about Hebrew). I start by looking at the passage in its broader context, and then outlining it from the English. Next, I open up BibleWorks and examine the Greek and Hebrew, picking apart key phrases and words and seeing how they are used elsewhere in the Bible. Then I ask a set of exegetical questions. The books come next: I look at relevant entries in my Bible dictionary and Testamental handbook. Finally, I provide my interpretation and describe how it can be used homiletically.

And that's how I'm doing it now as a total noob. It takes about two hours.

What is your process for sermon exegesis?


Elizabeth said...

Wow. I'm more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants sort of exegesis. It depends on the text, and how many ideas I have about it myself before starting to write. But usually, I read my own notes (at this point, my lectionary notes on things are three years old, and I can't remember what I thought about a text!), and for a good commentary I use Chris Haslam's notes online (
I also use the Process and Faith lectionary notes online fairly regularly. I don't actually use any print resources, at least not very often. Most of my resources come linked through The Text This Week.

Matt said...

I'm not a pastor, nor studying to be one, but when I have to prepare a devotional, or when we're reading at bible study, I usually look up stuff at as it has hypertext lexicon/concordance as well as the Greek/Hebrew root words for passages (ex : here )

I also like to refer to Asimov's Guide to the Bible for the historical perspective.

(Yes, I know he was an "atheist" or a "secular humanist" depending on who you ask, but he knew his history, and he loved the Bible as a piece of literature, history, and as a moral guide, even if he didn't believe in God. Moreover, he frequently answers questions that I have or have had about certain passages without offending my logical side, and without reducing everything to generic statements("Harumph, well you see, ultimately this passage is about how it's a symbol of God's love for us..." - translation - "I don't know" ) A brief review here )

John said...

Brain Russell would skin me alive if I did less.