I am currently doing exegetical work on the text of John’s Gospel and I thought I would share a bit of what it looks like.
I have taken two Greek exegesis courses at school with Stanley Porter and have benefited greatly from the method I developed for submitting my exegesis. We were required to translate and make notes on the Greek text (language and textual variants), theological issues, translational issues, etc. and any method that would show that interaction with the text was acceptable. I have found my approach to that so helpful that I continue to use it. Here is what the first page of hundreds looks like, this one being from my exegesis course on the Gospel of Matthew.
In order to get to this point I use several resources. The first, of course, is the Greek text. I consult two modern editions (NA27 and UBS3/4) and will consult the ancient manuscripts as needed. The modern editions alert me to where there are variants in the text and I have to make decisions about what text I think is original.
In addition, I have the OpenText.org analysis open on my Logos Bible Software which also houses more Greek texts, English translations, and Greek grammars. The OpenText.org analysis (www.opentext.org) is immensely beneficial for understanding the syntax of the Greek text, among other things.
Logos Bible Software (www.logos.com) is a wonderful piece of software that allows me access to thousands of resources at the click of a button. As an example, it allows me to select the verse I’m working on (e.g., John 1:1) and immediately pull up all the Greek grammars that refer to that verse. Or, I can select a word from the text (e.g., λόγος) and immediately pull up all the Greek lexicons I own that have an entry for that lexeme. That’s a small snapshot of what it provides me with.
One other thing I do, is try to track the aspect of the verbs and other linguistic devices (genitive absolutes, temporal markers, etc.) to see how the author is structuring their text. This gets me creative with making notes in colours and boxes and helps me note the structure and flow of the text.
Finally I also consult commentaries, books, and articles on the text to see what others have said. This step is important since I can’t claim that I will see everything there is to see in a text or ask all the right questions. I use print commentaries and ones on the Logos software as well.
After these steps I will be writing the studies you find here on this blog. All of this is, of course, bathed in prayer, seeking out God for understanding (2 Tim. 2:7).
So there you have it. My study in a nutshell.