There’s a new blog in town that posts a new theological word every day to help people keep up with those sometimes confusing words found in textbooks and sometimes on this site. Words and phrases like ‘panentheism’ and ‘open theism.’ I commend it to you all, check it out here.
Not wanting to leave all the fun to those guys, I have to give you all my own theological word of the day. And just to prepare you, this is an original. Yes, that’s correct. I’ve cooked up my own theological term. I’d like to introduce you to ICE-egesis. Now I know it sounds like eisegesis (reading things into the text rather than out of the text, i.e. exegesis), but it’s different. It’s also much more edifying. Let’s face it, eisegesis “ain’t my type of hype” . . . any heresy you can cook up has already been done before. Open theism? “Please!,” say the Socinians. Jehovah’s Witnesses? Arius is turning over in his grave.
So what is ICE-egesis? Let me explain briefly:
The first step of ICE-egesis is that you STOP: Slow down when reading the text. Too often we breeze through the Bible just to get through our daily Bible reading. We don’t slow down and treat the Bible like every word is truly breathed out by God (2 Peter 1:21). So stop, slow down and take it all in. Maybe try and paraphrase each section and focus on getting at what the author is emphasizing.
The second step of ICE-egesis is that you COLLABORATE: Work with the voices of the past in your interpretation of a text. Giants of preaching, exegesis, and theologizing have come before you, believe it or not. Grab a chair and pull up to history’s table to see what others have said. Grab a good commentary or two. Look to see what Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Owen, etc. thought when they read the text. See who the experts today are on the particular text or topic you’re looking at and see what they have to say.
The third and final step follows from the previous two. You have to LISTEN: Whenever reading a text, don’t simply try to figure out what it’s saying about the atonement or justification or God’s sovereignty, etc. Listen to what the text says and let it speak to you. The word of God is living and active (Heb 4:12-13). If it can discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart, then wait for it to do such things to you. Reading Scripture and doing the work of exegesis is quite pointless if you don’t let it speak to you. Too many people wait around for God to give them a “sign” when they really just need to read their Bibles a bit more thoroughly. God speaks through his word, make no mistake about it. Scripture is His enduring revelation to us and we need to pay careful attention to what it is saying to us today.
So when you think about it, interpreting Scripture isn’t as perilously futile as the PoMo obituaries of the author might have you believe.
Word!!! Ok, I’m done.