Mike Baird is Professor Emeritus, College of Theology, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona.
Abstract: This paper is about a method of exegesis, an exegetical procedure. It addresses the issue of reading the text in a way that respects and takes seriously all three traditional foci of interpretation, the author, the text, and the reader in one holistic approach to interpreting the text. Thus, the core issue is the focus of exegesis of the text (Is it the world of the reader or of the author?) and the locus of meaning (Is it in the text or in the mind of the reader?). Exegesis should focus on the lifestory of the text (or passage of Scripture) as the primary context. The life-story is the reconstructed story behind and revealed in the passage. The life-story provides the common ground for the author, text, and reader to interact in a holistic way in the work of the exegete. Underlying this method is the assumption that the passage represents and reveals the world of the ancient community of faith, which can be imaged in such a way that the modern reader can participate in it and interact with author and community in a meaningful way. This interaction allows the exegete not only to discern the meaning of the text for the ancient community, but also to find the patterns of application for the ancient community and for the church today.
Key Words: exegesis, life-story, imagination, historical-grammatical, deep structure, transformation