I’ve actually heard it that way, even when I still did not know His Hebrew Name. But, that is NOT what this is about, so chill!
There is a word, “eisegesis”, and THAT is the phenomenon I am pondering today. And that sounds very much like my title here. I see cheeses/eisegesis. Hear it? Exegesis is good; eisegesis, not so much.
Eisegesis, you may have by now inferred, means ‘reading something into a text.’ It happens ALL the time. It happens to me a lot, and I’m sure to most people, at some point or another. There are whole sitcoms loosely based on the concept of misunderstanding or ‘reading into’ something that simply is not there.
I heard a story once, where an author audited a college class incognito that was teaching his book. He disagreed with the teacher as to the conclusion on what the author was trying to communicate, and since he was the author, he was right. But the teacher surmised that the author did not know what the teacher knew. As a writer, I have had people misinterpret not only any symbolism I may use, but also very direct statements I have made. That is indeed human nature, so, not everyone who does it should be excoriated for it. But, we should be teaching readers not to read into a text nonetheless, or at least to be very cautious about it.
Watching facebook, I see this happen all the time. It just did today, and that is what prompted my train of thought. And I’m reminded, I used to have to moderate meetings at a company I worked for, because we were multinational, and too many times people did not understand each other. I have an ability at times to be able to interpret or re-state such that the hearer actually hears what the speaker says.
People read ‘into’ scripture, however, what is not there, ad nauseum. They sometimes do not realize this is what they are doing, because they have preconceptions about what they believe, and so when they read a scripture, they assume the interpretation before they read, and read into the text what is not there. This is exacerbated by bad translations that have also written words into the texts that are not in the originals, which, oddly enough, creates further eisegesis.
One of the most egregious violations of proper interpretation is in the book of Hebrews. People have understood chapter 8 to say that there is a new covenant, when in fact that passage, and the whole of the book of Hebrews, is to say that there is a new MINISTRY, a new PRIESTHOOD, in a different Temple. They seem to ignore verse six, “But now Yeshua HaMashiakh has received a MINISTRY which is higher than that [the Levitical priesthood].” The previous paragraph about the Levitical priesthood makes this abundantly clear. So, the covenant was ‘renewed’, under the second MINISTRY (verse 7), with Yeshua as the Kohen HaGadol of a second priesthood, which actually preceded the Levitical priesthood.
And then there’s this whole “godhead” thing. That word is not even in the original texts, greek nor Aramaic. What is in the text is “Elohim” [God]. “In Him, [Messiah Yeshua] all the fulness of God dwells.” That is all it says. [Col 2:9] Sha’ul expresses hope that each of us have this same thing, the ‘fulness of God’ dwelling inside of us. [Eph 3:19] I have been ridiculed simply for not passing the litmus test by saying “Jesus is God.” I won’t say it, because it is not written. He is divine [which is one of the words that gets translated into English as ‘godhead’, btw], and preceded the creation, and is the power of the creation, because He is the Word of G-d, and came out of G-d, and is the perfect image of His Father. And I say every bit of that, with fervor and conviction, repeatedly, but I am still not ‘heard,’ for doctrine. But, He, the man Yeshua, the Word, is NOT “G-d” BY HIMSELF. So-called scholars commit eisegesis on me, telling me what they think I said, when in fact I simply will not submit and say something their way.
The last one I’ll mention, though certainly the list is much longer, is the whole ‘day’ that is inserted in Ma’asei HaShlikhim [Acts] 20.
Most good translations read this way in 20:7, a verse most use to continue to justify the papal, sunday-sabbath: “And upon the first day of the week….” A really good translation has ‘day’ italicized, as it is in the version from which I extracted it [KJV]. Some don’t. The italics tell the reader that the word ‘day’ is NOT in the Greek. But most readers are not diligent enough to look that up at the front of the book.
A better translation reads:
“And at the beginning of the week, when we assembled to break bread, Pavlos declared to them, and because he was going to leave the next day, he prolonged his speech until midnight. Now there was a great glow of light from the lapidot in the upper chamber where we were gathered together.”
This actually changes the interpretation of this drastically, especially if we understand biblical Jewish culture. The beginning of the week is Saturday night, and follows “Motza’ei Shabbat”, the departure of the Sabbath, and a ceremony called Havdallah. All biblical days begin at night. This ceremony ends the Sabbath, and is the ‘signal’ that we can begin our own work. The ‘lapidot’ mentioned are the Havdallah candles, where today a single Havdallah candle could be called a “Lapidot” because it has multiple wicks. This was a Saturday night, in-home fellowship in order to eat dinner, at night, and NOT a called-out assembly of the brethren. And, it did NOT happen on Sunday, which did not start for another three hours [at midnight on Roman day-reckoning]. This is the beginning of the biblical first day, and of the week.
Yet icey-cheeses [eisegesis] has the world thinking they gathered on Sunday, and from this one, thin reference, the whole world demolishes the Sabbath of the Creator, completely ignoring His obvious affection for the day [Is 56], and Yeshua’s own observance of it. They have written into their texts what is NOT there, and for some reason, cannot let go of their intellect long enough simply to see “IT IS WRITTEN.” “It is written” is how we fight off HaSatan. He changed the Sabbath. Not Kefa [Peter], not Sha’ul [Paul] and certainly not Yeshua.