From Our Intern, Phillip Kroh
This post begins a short series on exegesis, a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture. This first week I introduce the topic and pose some self-reflective questions brought up in my seminary courses as relevant to our own exegesis, questions that help form an exegetical self-profile. Next week I will share my own exegetical self-profile, and the following week I invite a couple members of the congregation to share their own, or give an example of why this type of exercise can be important if none are offered.
I argue this topic is important for all self-identified Christians because any time a person reads or listens to scripture they are acting as interpreters. This is never an objective process, meaning that when any two people interpret scripture there are going to be differences based on any number of variables that, for example, may shape how they see the world around them and thus the worldly narratives seen in scripture. Because all Christians are interpreters, and because all will interpret differently in some way, I argue it is important to reflect on ourselves and our characteristics and beliefs, unique or similar, in order to better understand how these factors are shaping the beliefs we all Christian ones.
To that end, the below are questions that my classmates and I were asked to consider in seminary and so I pose the same to you:
What is your family background ethnically, socially, and economically?
What was your first exposure to the Bible as you remember it, and in what context?
Is there a defining experience or event that has influenced the way you read scripture?
How does your ethnic background and culture inform the way(s) you interpret scripture? What has been your most meaningful experience of cultural diversity?
Does your gender inform the way you interpret scripture? If so, how?
How do your political views inform your biblical interpretation?
What do you consider to be the most pressing social or ethical issue today? Is scripture relevant to it?
What personal values direct your attention towards scripture? Relatedly, what is your working theology as you read and interpret biblical texts?