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Topics: Leadership, Manhood, Men

Manhood & Theology | Exegesis

October 29, 2014

By Joey Cochran

Men are leaders. As leaders they need to be exceptional exegetes, because exegesis is at the heart of leadership. According to the Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, exegesis means both “to lead” or “to explain” (203). The dictionary clearly points out: “In biblical literature it is always used in the sense ‘to explain, interpret, or describe’” (203). But let’s not forget this term’s full field of meaning.

Solid leaders are extraordinary readers. Albert Mohler writes in The Conviction to Lead, “When you find a leader, you have found a reader” (Kindle location 1188). Would you describe yourself as an extraordinary reader? I’m not just talking about an extraordinary reader of the Wall Street Journal or biographies, like George Washington and Winston Churchill. I’m talking about an extraordinary reader of the Book and your context.

You see, exegesis starts with the Book, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, but it doesn’t stop there. Extraordinary exegetes read the Scripture and explain it in the context of their church, family, and world. After all, what good is reading, if you don’t explain it?

Leaders are explainers, and explainers are leaders.

Read the Book

You will not be a man who leads well until you are a man of the Book.

Read the Book, or as John Piper aptly says, “Look at the Book!” This means Scripture should nourish you; taste the Word of God (Heb. 6:5). Remember Jesus’s response to the tempter? He refers to Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

Jesus is the Word (Jn. 1:1, 14) and the Truth (Jn. 14:6). John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.” The Book makes us holy because the Book points to Jesus. Feeding on the Word doesn’t just mean looking at a book. It’s seeing the Book as the fulfillment, revelation, and story of Jesus. It’s the Word told by Jesus to pass on to others. Tell the story well by reading the story well.

Get in practice of looking at the Book daily. Technology has removed friction from being in the Book. You can access it anytime on your phone, tablet, or notebook computer. Take advantage of your access to the Book and steal back black hole moments in your day for the glory of God. Read the print text often as a testimony to others. This exercise has turned many Scripture readings into gospel conversations.

We have His Book, written on our hearts and we need to have it on our lips as well (Rom. 2:15). It’s not that we always have to be in the Book, but we always need to have the Book in us. We then take the Book and apply it to the world. Exegetes who read the Book produce the fruit of speaking the Book to the world. Do you speak the Book to others?

Read Your Church

If you are reading the Book well, then you will read it to your church.

In other words, the Book and you will dance with your church. John Calvin, in Institutes of the Christian Religion, reminds us the distinguishing marks of the Church are “the preaching of the Word and the observance of the sacraments” (McNeill, 1024). Thus, receive the Word preached from your church, and test the truth of what’s preached against the Book.

Be on lookout for false teachers and false doctrine. I John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Though pastors have a special charge to protect the Church from false teachers and doctrine (1Tim. 1:3), every person needs to exercise discernment too.

Who is responsible for holding your church accountable to the Word? You are! If you don’t do it, who will? To do this well, both read the Book well and read your church well.

I love men who stick their neck out and ask about my preaching. I love men who rebuke and correct. It conveys that they sit under the Book, value it, and guard it.

Read Your Family

If you are reading the Book and your church well, then you will read them to your family.

Read the Book to your family as you read your family. Discover your family’s needs and how the Book and your church meet them. To succeed here, become a master inquisitor.

Explain to your family what the church proclaims to them; read your church to your family. Men, you’re responsible for leading your family to the right church for the care of their souls. You’re also responsible for explaining the Book that is preached in that church to your family.

Ask your children what they are learning from the sermon or other Christian education that they receive from your church. Inquire if they have questions about what they are learning. Have hearty conversations with your wife as well.

Instruct your children in catechesis. Sit with them weekly if not daily and feed the Book to them. If this is new to you, then don’t be shy. It’s way easier than you think and can be done in 15-30 minutes.

Many resources are available for this task. Small children will enjoy reading The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Big Picture Story Bible, or The Gospel Story Bible. Older children will enjoy New City Catechism or one of the historic catechisms: Heidelberg or Westminster. You cannot go wrong with simply studying the Book together; start with Proverbs. This practice will help your children understand the Church’s teaching and what it means for their life. It will help them answer life’s big questions according to the Book.

Read the Book and pray with your wife. If you are not in regular practice of doing this, I strongly urge you to do so. It will deepen intimacy with your wife.

Single men, explain the Book and the Church to your friends. This will serve you well, if the Lord leads you to lead a family.

Read the World

As you read the Book and the Church to your family, navigate them through the world.

In the introduction to Everyday Theology, Kevin Vanhoozer says that Christians need to be bilingual. They need to read the Scripture and read their culture. Why? He goes on to say, “Every Christian needs to be aware of what is happening in our everyday environment, how it affects us, and how we can affect it” (11).

The story of the Book is embedded in your culture. You just have to seek it. Look for ways to redeem entertainment and leisure activities to great effect for the sake of the gospel.

We’re not supposed to remove ourselves from the world; we’re supposed to remove worldliness from ourselves. Seeking first his kingdom is not looking outside of the world but looking inside the world to see his kingdom emerge from it (Matt. 6:10, 33).


Joey Cochran, a graduate of Dallas Seminary, is a church planting intern at Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois under the supervision of Pastor Joe Thorn. Follow him at or @joeycochran.

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