The task of biblical exegesis is the task by which one investigates the meaning of a specific biblical text (pg. 1). Thus, the goal of exegesis is an understanding of the intended meaning of Scripture. Although the goal of exegesis is clear-cut the process by which this goal is accomplished is not quite as simple. There are no established steps, or guidelines to aid students in the task of exegesis. For this reason Gordon Fee has written New Testament Exegesis: a Handbook for Students and Pastors. Fee wrote this book to be “a guide for students to learn the exegetical process, from the opening of their Bibles to the writing of the paper.” (pg. xiii) Fee accomplishes this goal by guiding his readers through a serious of practical steps aimed at understanding the text of Scripture.Fee’s steps serve as a guide that each individual will want to adjust according to their own skill level, resources, and time constraints. Those seeking to do the work of exegesis will find Fee’s steps to be useful, as well as informative. Fee begins his exegetical process with a simple reading of the text. This step aims at understanding a passage within its original context. Fee gives several suggestions as to what this step will look like and the only thing that could be added is prayer. From this preliminary step Fee guides his readers into a series of progressively more technical steps. At this point readers who do not know Greek may become bogged down, however Fee has also provided a list of provision steps for students who do not know Greek. In section two Fee provides several helpful guidelines, and examples for students to use as a template for their own diagramming. Although it will not yield as much benefit, this step can also be used by those reading from an English translation of the Bible.
For students seeking to establish, or refine, their own exegetical process this book will be useful not only as a guide but also for its practical biographic content. Throughout the book Fee not only provides exegetical steps, but he also provides the tools necessary for accomplishing these steps. In several places Fee takes the time to explain how resources such as lexicons can be utilized.
With his emphasis on careful observation, consistent exegetical steps, and diligent study Fee has made a significant contribution to the discipline of exegesis.
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