Bible 347 Return to Syllabus

How to Read a Passage for an Exegesis

  1. Read the passage over several times, looking for the main meaning.

  2. Read the passage over carefully, looking for the meaning of each clause and sentence. Then look for the relationships between the clauses and the sentences.

  3. Read the chapter(s) in which the passage is found, looking for the main idea. Try to discover the main line of reasoning or flow of the story. Answer the question, what does this have to do with my passage. Is my passage saying the same thing as the main idea of the chapter or something different?

  4. Read the passage in several translations from different types of translation. Read at least one translation from each of the following groupings: literal, idiomatic, dynamic, paraphrase. Recommended study translations include the ASV, NASV, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NEB, NAB, and JB. Compare these to the KJV and NKJV.

  5. Look for any difference in main meaning between the different translations. Determine if this meaning is due to textual differences (did you note this in an earlier paper?) or translation differences. Add any difference to problems to solve from your last paper if it was not included.

  6. Look for any difference in meaning between the words used in different translations. Ask the same questions as in #5 above.

  7. Read the passage either in the original language (if you are able to do so) or in an interlinear (if not). Make a literal translation from this. Note any differences between this highly literal translation and standard translations. Are there idioms that explain any differences?

  8. Write out your own translation based on your study to this point. Make any notes of alternative readings or translations that you need to remember. Be ready to revise this translation at any future point in the exegetical process.

  9. Write up the results of your study in reading and translations.

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