The little website that could
The definition of “exegesis” according to wikipedia is “is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text”. Thus exegesis is to do with how we interpret a particular passage of scripture.
This particular passage deals with how Jesus handled criticism that He was a false teacher. I believe His answer is valid not only for Jesus teaching but concerning anyone who considers themselves as a teacher. Jesus answers with the often overlooked answer that if anyone is willing to do his will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is from man or from God.
Here we see a completely different paradigm shift from the notion of scholarship as a defense against wrong teaching to a repentant heart as being the best defense against wrong teaching.
Generally the problem is that people don’t want to find the truth, rather they want, what they already believe, to be considered right. They may not be willing to consider other points of view. The scriptures say to examine everything carefully and hold on to that which is true (1 Thes 5:21). Again the problem is an unrepentant heart.
The problem with unrepentant hearts is that it leads them to try and find scriptures that back up their preconceived points of view, rather than to discover the truth. These scriptures are generally taken out of context. The pharisees employed the same method when they didn’t want Jesus to be the messiah. They argued that no scriptures said that a prophet shall arise out of Galillee (John 7:52).
They twisted and distorted the scriptures for their own ends. Jesus said that those kind of people worshipped Him in vain, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men (Matt 15:9). That doesn’t mean they didn’t have great sounding worship music. It doesn’t matter what the worship music sounds like if the persons heart is not right.
No amount of scholarship, no amount of bible college degrees, can make up for an unrepentant heart. It doesn’t matter about the literary style, how gifted the speaker is if the heart motive is wrong.
People are generally not blessed after listening to a preacher who preaches from an unrepentant heart. I have since discovered that people are touched more by a message if the heart of the person, who is delivering it, is right.
Watch out for people who are combative when their interpretation of the scripture is questioned. It could well be a pride problem. Remember those who “checked up” on Paul were considered to be noble Bereans (Acts 17:11). If it was right to check up on Paul it is right to check up on any bible teacher or pastor that what they say is right. Some of them don’t like being questioned but take this as a warning sign. Is their heart right or are they using “religion” to hide a false heart motive?
Maybe you have those kind of people in your fellowship, bible study or church. Don’t become combatitive with them. The best defense against error is the truth. Seek out good teachers and examine their character. Ask God to show you what is true and what is error. He leads us into all truth and not error if we have a sincere heart towards Him. If you have teachers like that in your church, pray for them, that God would lead them to repentance.