Eisegesis is the attempt to make Bible verses say what I want them to say, regardless of their plain, literal, historical, and grammatical context and meaning. Scriptures that conflict with my cherished personal beliefs are ignored or redefined to agree with my predisposition. In 2010, the Francis A Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development published here a pertinent article entitled "The Problem of Eisegesis" warning of this dangerous tendency within evangelicalism.
Do you read from the Bible or read into the Bible? Do you know the difference?
How is the Bible delved into by your eyes, mind, and church? Do you seek to read into it what you want? Or, do you seek to glean what God actually has for you and the people He has called you to teach and reach? Are the views you have based on hard evidence and careful biblical study? Or, do you just take for granted what a favorite mentor or teacher or theological position has to say?
We have a big crisis in the conservative and evangelical churches in America! The problem was once just isolated to fringe, uneducated pastors and churches who had no regard for a good Bible education and careful learning. There is a mindset of anti-intellectualism, not wanting to be knowledgeable in the language, history, or tools of the Word, thinking it would be better to just be led by the Holy Spirit, when in fact, laziness and pride were the reasons for ignoring the real moving of God. As a result, many sermons are based merely on felt needs without Bible instruction or proper interpretation. Such thinking has given birth to a watershed of false doctrines and inept Christians with weak faith and a lack of Fruit and maturity in their lives.
... our research has shown something even more abysmal with pastors?
- Seventy-two percent (72%) of the pastors we surveyed in the last ten (10) years stated that they only studied the Bible when they were preparing for sermons or lessons. This left only 38% who read the Bible for devotions and personal study.
- Twenty-six percent (26%) of pastors said they regularly had personal devotions while eighty-two percent (82%) of all those surveyed felt they were adequately fed spirituality.
- Seventy-one percent (71%) of pastors said when they read the Bible for study, they regularly just looked for what they wanted and did not read it in context.
- Sixty-two percent (62%) of pastors said when they prepared Bible studies or sermons, they rarely looked up what they did not know or understand and just "winged-it." The same percentage also said they regularly read into a passage what was not there in order to make their point.
- Fifty-nine percent (59%) of pastors said when they prepared Bible studies or sermons, they did not think it was necessary to make sure their teaching was based on the text or biblically correct. It was more important to connect with their people.
- Keep in mind these are the "conservative," Reformed and Evangelical pastors, not the mainline liberals or the left wing of the emerging church! And thus, they took their tainted information, considered themselves prepared, and sought to feed their flock spirituality, discounting their people from real, biblical truth!