Steps in Doing Exegesis

Exegesis: Exposition or explanation. A critical interpretation of a text or pericope of Scripture.

Exegesis involves a process of examination by which one comes to understand a particular passage of Scripture. Characteristically, this process involves a number of steps, which are listed here in a very generalized form as a guide to some of the library’s resources. Your professor’s specific instructions and your own research interests will direct you to more specific materials required for your exegetical work. This guide is intended to assist you to begin examining the two types of questions an exegesis requires, question of content (what is said) and questions of context (why it is said).

General Steps in Bible Exegesis:

  1. Establish the context of the passage in the biblical book as a whole.
  2. Establish the historical setting or context for the passage.
  3. Analyze the Content of the text.
  4. Apply a variety of critical methods to analyze the text in both its content and its context.
  5. Analyze the text theologically
  6. Add your own analysis and/or application.

This brief guide to biblical exegesis is merely designed to get you started. Please move beyond this rudimentary level and explore the full wealth of print and electronic materials listed under the heading “Biblical Resources” on the Library Home page.