Enough with the Eisegesis

Eisegesis- the process of interpreting (1)

Gentle Reader,

I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night. Chris was snoring. Like a freight train. I kicked him. Nudged him. Smacked him.

Nothing.

I finally got out of bed at 1:30 a.m. and moved to the guest room, but by then I was just awake. I knew there was no way that I’d be drifting off soon. So I did some perusing. Checked out a few sites I hit from time to time. Sites whose authors I don’t agree with. I like to see what they’re talking about. There’s value in examining other perspectives.

I found a few places quite covered in dust from a recent controversy stirred by this piece at Focus on the Family. Many are upset because Dr. Hinton’s answer wasn’t “balanced.” He hasn’t “researched” the issue. He doesn’t “know” what he’s talking about. Apparently Focus on the Family is not allowing comments on the entry, and that’s really got people fired up. More than a few negative reviews have appeared on Focus on the Family’s Facebook page due to this.

I don’t know why the organization isn’t allowing comments, but I’m guessing it’s because they want to avoid a senseless internet battle. Some of those who are angry are calling for Focus on the Family to make their position on vaccines clear. They did. You can read it here.

None of this surprised or bothered me. I’ve read more than enough articles, posts and comments in recent months to know that there’s a significant minority out there who believe you obviously can’t be a true Christian or a good doctor if you are on the side of vaccine effectiveness and safety. That I can shrug off.

What did bother me was a comment I saw in which the author attempted to use Mark 2:17 as evidence for Jesus being against vaccines. It was quoted without context and the author failed to use the whole verse. The part that was used:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (NKJV)

One can’t actually derive some stance on vaccines through those words alone. It gets worse when the entire verse is considered:

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (NKJV)

Worse yet when the context is considered:

Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them. As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.

Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi’s house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” – Mark 2:13-17 (NKJV)

Nothing, nothing, nothing, NOTHING  to do with vaccines. Or medicine, for that matter.

This is just one example. People are using Scripture right and left to prop up what they already think and believe.

I’m so tired of eisegesis. I’m sick of people reading into the text. I’m ready to tear my hair out over the rampant misuse of Scripture. I want to scream as I watch people bludgeon others with incorrect interpretations, faulty applications and cherry-picking.

We are to let the words of God as activated by the Spirit of God shape us. We do not shape them. We do not bend them to our wills.

It’s wrong.

Enough already.

My journey to faith. (15)

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5 thoughts on “Enough with the Eisegesis

  1. Jesus’ comments about wellness, the sick, and physicians were metaphorical statements about the spiritual state of who he had come for, the lost sheep of Israel.

    As far as Eisegesis and the Church, don’t get me started. I’m currently writing a series of reviews on my blog on a scholarly volume edited by New Testament scholars Mark Nanos and Magnus Zetterholm called “Paul within Judaism: Restoring the First-Century Context to the Apostle.” This work presents the views of a number of different international Biblical researchers on a Paul as viewed in his original historic and cultural context.

    I’m sorry to say that the amount of eisegesis involved in many of our Christian hermeneutical traditions is rather astounding. Seen from this perspective, the Bible takes on a whole new landscape.

    Like

    1. Sigh.

      There’s definitely room for differing interpretations. I have no problem with that. I’m just so sick of the agendas and how people use the Bible to support them. I know we’re all guilty of this to a certain extent, so it’s something to be aware of a strive against. But many just do it so blatantly. Makes my toes curl.

      I need to catch up on your blog.

      Like

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