Gordon Fee on exegesis

Mark put up a post I want to copy here from Grdon Fee that he titles “a word of advice to bibliobloggers”:

I want to say with great vigour that even though the first task of the exegete is the historical one (to determine the biblical author’s intended meaning), this first task is not the ultimate one.  The ultimate task, and now I repeat myself, is the Spiritual one, to hear the text in such a way that it leads its reader/hearer into the worship of God and into conformity to God and his ways.

(Gordon Fee, Listening to the Spirit in the Text, WB Eerdmanns Publishing, Grand Rapids, 2000, p.11)


Here is a question I have:

If exegesis does not lead us to the worship of, and a deeper more intimate knoweldge of, God, is it then an idol, something that sets itself against the knowledge of God? 

Now, I know this is not always the case but I wonder if it could be the case for some people in some instances?   Could some be more interested in knowledge of the Bible and it’s teachings than necessarily the One to whom the Bible points? 

I would assert that, yes, some are more interested in knoweldge of the Bible for it’s own sake and that for them the task of exegesis is not a spiritual one by any means but a strictly historical or literary one and so therefore it does not lead them to a deeper worship and or a more intimate knoweldge of the Holy One. 

So for these, yes, exegesis is a kind of idolatry.

One response to “Gordon Fee on exegesis

  1. Brian, I would also say yes. I see them all the time on the History channel people who the bible, it’s historical context, but have no sense of spirituality. That is a danger we can all fall into if we are not careful.

    Funny you should mention this book and this specific quote (i realize it was a few days back), I have been reading this book and just happen to review that exact quote this morning and have been pondering on it all day. I want to preach a message on spirituality and I am using the text for some of the points I want to make.

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