On Exegetical Logic

How we lost exegetical logic and why we need it back.

Last week I mentioned “exegetical logic” as central to church ministry. Someone asked what I meant, so an explanatory word.

When I say “exegetical logic,” I’m talking about a way of using Scripture our fathers assumed but we have to explicate because of certain cultural trends:

The abridgment of everything: We skim headlines and share 140-character snippets. Published books are the length newspaper articles used to be. Sprinting, we’re not interested in the lines above the bottom one.

Unwillingness to think: We are lazy. There is always a YouTube meme to distract. With a smartphone in every hand, thinking hard is passé.

The exaltation of personality: Being lonely, we are attracted to personalities who seem cool to have a beer with. In a celebrity/social media culture, we follow leaders less for the quality of their ideas and more on the stickiness of their persona.

The balancing impulse: Our beliefs in fairness and equality are so deeply ingrained that we find them where we should not. The spirit of the age is, “you have some verses, he has some verses, let’s agree to disagree.”

Ungodly humility: We are pressured to be uncertain, conditioned to believe that to claim a proposition as true and more reasonable than the alternative is an exercise of privilege or insensitive to someone’s needs.
These factors and more create a climate where we don’t debate the reasons for ideas, to our great detriment.

The solution is exegetical logic: an approach to talking about life, ministry, and ethics driven by interaction and debate about specific Biblical texts and their meaning. Exegetical logic means sharing not only the fruit of your exegetical process but how you reason your way from that text to get there.

Some arguments are objectively better than others. The difference between Ruth’s Chris and Sizzler is not in the eye of the beholder.

Christians, we need exegetical logic. We need it in our sermons, in our small groups, in our meetings, in our conversations. We should be talking much about how we are reading the Bible and why we believe what we believe. We must welcome the input of others and be open to modifying conclusions when our logic is shown unsound.

Exegetical logic is about living under the authority of the God who created all things. In the Bible, that God has spoken. Laboring to help each other hear him clearly is worth it.