Theological Exegesis -- By: Abraham Kuruvilla

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 173:691 (Jul 2016)
Article: Theological Exegesis
Author: Abraham Kuruvilla

Theological Exegesis*

Abraham Kuruvilla

* This is the third article in the four-part series “A Vision for Preaching,” delivered as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectures at Dallas Theological Seminary, February 3-6, 2015.

Abraham Kuruvilla is Research Professor of Pastoral Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.


The first article in this series discussed the importance of a vision for preaching, focusing on hermeneutics for homiletics.1 Authors do things with what they say, and this goes for productions scripted and spoken, sacred and secular. The thrust of the text, its pragmatics, must be discerned. Only then can we move to valid application. In developing this vision, I have borrowed from Paul Ricoeur and his understanding of the world in front of the text. The Bible as a whole projects a world in front of the text—God’s ideal world—segments of which are portrayed by individual pericopes. Each sermon on a pericope is God’s gracious invitation to live in God’s ideal world by meeting the requirements of that world called for in that pericope’s world-segment. Or to put it another way, as they accept the divine invitation in each pericope, sermon by sermon, God’s people apply pericopal theology and increasingly inhabit God’s ideal world. One pericope at a time, the various aspects of Christian life are gradually brought into alignment with the will of God for the glory of God: theology is put into shoe leather, and God’s ideal world is becoming reality. This is the goal of preaching.

The second article in this series developed the impact of such a vision for preaching, focusing on christiconic interpretation.2 Since only one Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, has perfectly met all of God’s demands, being without sin, one can say that this Person alone has

fully met every theological thrust of every pericope. He alone has abided by the theology of every pericope. In other words, Christ alone has perfectly inhabited the world in front of the text. So each pericope, portraying a world-segment, depicts a facet of the image of Christ, showing what it means to perfectly fulfill, as he did, the values of God’s ideal world as depicted in that pericope (i.e., pericopal theology). The Bible as a whole, then, portrays what a perfect human looks like, exemplified by Jesus Christ, God incarnate, the perfect Man. So Scripture depicts Christ’s image. And living by the theology of each pericope, we become progressively more Christlike as we align ourse...

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