Basics of Bible Study 4: Exegesis of the Argument

Bible Study Basics 4:

Exegesis of Argument

Exegesis = bringing forth the author’s intended meaning from the text along normal literary methods


  • Exegesis of Grammar –
    • Subject Verb and Object…
    • Paragraph breaks
  • Exegesis of Genre and Figurative Language
    • Illustration: Rooms in your house have rules
  • Exegesis of History
    • Who: Author and Recipient
    • Where: Location and geographical considerations
    • When: Important events before and after

Premise: God communicates in human language in the Bible. That communication abides by the normal rules of literary genre, sentences, and paragraphs to communicate his truth clearly. Each paragraph is a portion or unit of that truth. Each unit teaches a distinct doctrine, or the same doctrine with a distinct shade of color and variation in flavor. We may study each paragraph as a unit, or string several “units” into a series of intertwined truths, or even a whole book. The beauty of Bible study is that God has communicated in a way every man, woman, and child can access.

Step 4: Exegesis of Argument

The Key of Exegesis = Follow the Argument

So far we’ve been looking at the details of the text. Now we look at the whole.

***Don’t miss the forest for the trees.

All other observations should agree in confirmation of the argument, and the argument will give added significane to the details. But the argument is more valuable for theology and application.

What, Why, and How

  • What: The topic of the Text
    • Example: Romans 1:1-17… Paul’s Desire to preach in Rome
    • Example: Exodus 1, God’s protection of Israel in Egypt
    • Why: Occasion & Purpose
      • Nature of the Question
        • Why can refer to reasons/rationale, occasion or cause, or purpose.
        • Here I mean both  occasion & purpose
        • Ask the text:
          • Occasion: Why did the author have to write this text?
          • Purpose: What’s the intended result/purpose the author wishes to accomplish by writing this
  • Example: John 20:30-31, Galatians 1:6-9
  • How: The Manner by which the Argument Proceeds
    • This includes evidences, reasons, examples, illustrations, parables, prayers, and pleas in the text.
    • This is where the details and outlines come back into the game.
    • Example:
      • Titus 1:5-16
        • What: Titus’ Task to Ordain Elders on Crete (1:5)
        • Why:
          • Occasion: False Teachers (1:11)
          • Purpose: The church be sound in faith (13)
          • How: The argument proceeds
            • By a command to ordain elders (5)
            • By a list of moral qualifications (6-8)
            • By requiring the ability to teach an orthodox theology (9)
            • Because of false teacher (10-12)
            • In order that they may be reproved and restored (13-16)

***Notice how this means a lot more than just observation!

***Also notice that it brings all we did before together!


Grammar -Title the paragraph and the main subject, verbs, and objects

Genre -Determine the Genre: Epistle, Direct Speech, Law Code for Church

Figures -Determine any Figures of Speech

History -Observe Historical Context= Who, What, When

Argument – Ask: What is the text about? Why did he write it? How does the argument proceed?

Titus 2:11-15  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  (12)  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,  (13)  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,  (14)  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  (15)  Declare these things; exhort and