The number one thing to do after your pastor preaches is this:
See if what your pastor has just preached lines up with scripture in its proper context.
In other words:BE A BEREAN
Most christians have never questioned their pastor. To question a pastor to some is like a forbidden act. This mindset is unbiblical. In Acts 17:11 the Berean Jews always examined the scriptures after Paul preached to see if it was true and to hold him to account to make sure he was accurately preaching the word of God:
"Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."
Do you take whatever your pastor says as gospel?
Do not put your pastor so high up to think they will always teach sound doctrine. The sad thing is many churches in America do not teach sound doctrine and yet the people that attend never bother to check to see if what was preached lines up with Gods word. I heard this saying growing up "never question Gods anointed." Where did that saying even come from? It was as if these christians believed that whatever the pastor says is always true without verifying his statements.Those who believe that saying did not even check to see if that saying was biblical. When looking at Acts 17:11 we see that those who "examined the scriptures daily to see if what was preached were true" were considered "more noble" than the jews in Thessalonica. If God did not want us to make sure that what is being preached is biblical than the Bereans would have never been called more noble than the others.
Lets us be like the Bereans. Let us hold every pastor to account when they preach.
Now in order to do this we ourselves need to learn how to study scripture properly.
There are two ways to study and preach scripture. They are known as exegesis and eisegesis.
Dictionary.com defines the words as:
Exegesis: Exposition; explanation; especially, a critical explanation of a text or portion of Scripture.” The word means to “lead out of”.
Eisegesis: an interpretation, esp. of Scripture, that expresses the interpreter’s own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the meaning of the text.”. The word means to “lead into”.
Here is an excerpt from Studying the word regarding eisegesis and exegesis:
Eisegesis is reading into the text our ideas about its meaning. You can see the prefix “eis” on this word which means “in or into”. This is where we have a meaning already in mind and impose it onto the text. This is where we have our own ideas, experiences and philosophies that we believe as true and match the Bible to fit them. Unfortunately, eisegesis is the norm when it comes to studying the Bible. For the most part it is unintentional, but dangerous nonetheless.
The biggest cause of reading eisegetically is disregarding context. As I said earlier, the authors of the Bible had a meaning in mind when they authored their books. Our goal is not to impose our own meaning into their text, but to discover what they were trying to say. This is accomplished primarily by reading contextually. It is easy to fall into the trap of eisegesis if you just read one verse and try to interpret it without its surrounding context. We all have our own beliefs and ideas and some, if not most of these are not based on scripture. Although it is impossible to come to the Bible with a “blank slate”, we should try and read it with an open mind and be willing to give up our beliefs if they don’t line up with the word of God.
One Verse Theologies:
There are many doctrines throughout the Bible. There are main themes that run throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Because of their repetition there are a lot of ideas in the Bible that are extremely clear and take little exegesis to understand them. As we come across texts that are unclear we need to compare them with these texts that are more clear. The Bible will confirm itself and so, it is not wise to build theologies based on one verse. If a verse seems to be saying something that contradicts clear teachings in the Bible we need to re-evaluate how we are viewing the text. One unclear verse, especially out of context, is not enough to build a belief on. What I am not saying is that we need to disregard scriptures if we don’t agree with them. We simply need to be careful that we do not fall into error by basing our beliefs on something that is not clear. The Bible is not contradictory in its teachings, so if we come to an unclear passage we should use the more clear passages to help interpret the less clear ones, not vice versa. A verse that is less clear should not be used as the standard to conform large texts of clear doctrine.
The basic difference between exegesis and eisegesis is where we are placing our authority. Exegesis puts the authority on the text and tries to discover its meaning and so be changed by it. Eisegesis puts the authority on us, and tries to fit the Bible to mean what we want it to mean. The Bible cannot mean what it never meant. We can’t artificially impose a meaning on the text that disregards the message of the author to the original audience. Our ideas, beliefs, philosophies and experiences are not the ultimate authority. These things can and should be shaped by the reading and application of the Word of God.
(To read full post click here)