Exegete Your Family
I believe that all of life is an not just an experiment but an ongoing experience of exegesis. Whether you know that you’re engaged in it or not, you’re exegeting something. To “exegete” means literally “to lead out” or “exit.” Think “Exodus.” It is studying why something is the way it is. In Bible study, it is taking into account the date, the genre, the context, the author, the audience, words used, and a host of other things, so as to know who said what and why. Therefore, it is appropriate for the field of hermeneutics to be likened to the “science” of interpretation, for, it is an exercise in taking observable data and then reporting on that data after examination. I’d like to speak primarily to men here. Men, you all have an idea of what you want your family to be. If you’re like me, it’s one that loves the Lord and has tons of fun together. But the only way to get there is to know what’s going on here. To give you a corny way of saying it, "this is actual home-work."
Always Studying Our Family!
As Christians, the question is not “if” you’re studying something, the question is “what are you studying or exegeting? Christian men are called to exegete more than the Bible, but all of life. To be thinking men, to be sharp, considering who and what is before us. To live wisely in this age. Therefore, we are to be continually studying our wives and children. I know that might sound extreme, as though its more “work” for you to do, but bear with me. If you don’t study them, you’ll spend your life in the tumultuous waters of miscommunication. Our families, as you know, are ever-evolving. One minute, we have an infant, the next, a toddler, the next a high schooler, and before long, it seems that our kids will be taking care of us. Therefore, this takes meticulous study and calculation to be the men we need to be in the moment. Our teenage daughters do not need us relating to them as though they were merely four year olds (Oh that God would let them always remain four years old!!!). Men, we have to be studying our wives, where they are right here and right now and what brought them to this point. Are they healthy, happy, and holy? How are we helping them bloom into the woman that God created her to become as they are our partners?
Keep Asking Questions!
Who is in front of you? What do they need from you? What are they seeking to give you? How’s your wife feeling about herself, her faith, her life? What’s she excited about? What’s troubling her? What about your kids? Do they know you? How well do you know them? Exegete them. Reach in, and keep asking the questions until you strike gold! Study them. Such is an act of love. This takes time, thought, prayer, and intentionality. Men, talk to a pastor or trusted friend as you figure your family out. Women, you too! Men, this is not to give you one more thing to do, but simply call you back to what you are intended to do from the outset when you married your bride. Studying our families will help us maximize their (your!) joy and to the glory of God! It may seem daunting, but it isn’t.
1) Put down your phone when you come in the door and engage even after a hard day.
2) Ask your kids tons of questions about how they feel, how their day was, and what they’re excited about or concerned over.
3) Ask your wife what she needs from you and how you can serve her.
4) Pray and ask Jesus to help you be gentle and to smile a ton as you give your life up for them. You won’t regret this!
God bless you men, for studying your families.
Ultimately, you have to be reminded that God studied his family, and yes, he certainly exegetes the hearts of men, and provided just what was needed in love, grace, and atonement through Jesus. Thus we should study our families and seek to provide what we can through the grace of God the Holy Spirit.