An Exegetical Fallacy and Eisegesis?
By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed., PhD
In the course of history, many have distorted and misapplied the Sacred Text of the Holy Bible. Before the Holy Scripture was written, the father of all lies, distortions and misapplications, that Ancient Serpent called the Devil, maneuvered his way to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and sugarcoated God’s instruction on the forbidden fruit.
The Serpent succeeded when he cleverly enticed, deceived and misled Adam and Eve at their detriment and the detriment of mankind. In the Early Church, distortions and misapplications to twist the meaning of the Scripture were vigorously opposed by the early church fathers. For example, Polycarp, the disciple of John, one of the twelve disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ referred to Marcion, an early heretic as “the first born of Satan”.
Polycarp said to Marcion, “anyone who changes the things of God to suit his own evil desire, well that person is the first born of Satan”. Fast forward, the renaissance and emergence of the reformation which gave birth to too many denominations certainly derived in part from distortion and misapplication of the Scripture. What is dangerous and equally a threat to the word of God is wrongly using the Scripture to find support for one’s own actions or inactions.
Senator Darius Dillon of Montserrado County deliberate application of a biblical text to render support to Musa Bility, who allegedly is corrupt and who at the same time has been fined and banned by FIFA is disheartening. Senator Dillon is fully aware of the questionable character of Musa Bility yet, erroneously, misleadingly and deceptively convinced himself and allegedly chose transactional politics over honesty and bad over good. His actions undermined and certainly were an affront and an effort to dilute the word of God and the Church for which Christ died. We will argue in this article that Senator Dillon’s application of Saul’s conversion recorded in Acts Chapter 9 to that of Musa Bility has no place in actual biblical exegesis. His application was an exegetical fallacy and eisegesis.
Exegesis is the explanation of a biblical text based on careful and objective analysis. Simply put, it means the interpreter is led to his or her conclusions by following the text. The opposite of exegesis is eisegesis which means the interpreter injects his or her own subjective idea into the text to make it mean whatever he or she wants. In biblical theology, exegesis does justice to the text while eisegesis undermines, dilutes and mishandles. However, when an exegesis becomes fallacious, it is no longer useful for sound biblical and theological consumptions; it becomes intertwined with eisegesis and dangerous to biblical interpretation.
An unknown author once said,” eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words.” The comparison and contrast above clearly portrays that Senator Dillon’s application of Saul’s conversion to Musa Bility was wrong and misleading. Saul and Musa Bility apart from being male and human beings, have nothing in common.
Saul and Musa Bility compared and contrasted
In the Early Church, Christians were severely persecuted by the Jews especially the two major religious sects who were members of the Sanhedrin: Pharisees and the Sadducees. Saul was a Pharisee and a protégé of Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law held in respect by all the people (Acts 5:34). Saul was a morally upright person who followed and obeyed the Ten Commandments. Saul said of himself, “ I am indeed a Jew born in Tarsus of Cilicia, brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law and was zealous toward God as you are today” (Acts 22:3). The interaction of the Lord Jesus Christ and Saul on the road to Damascus in Acts Chapter 9 was divine. In that interaction, Christ manifested and demonstrated his power and that power blinded and made Saul to fall on the ground. The Lord said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said “who are you, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
So he, trembling and astonished said, “Lord what do you want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The interaction, as stated above, clearly was a divine encounter with the resurrected Christ. The interaction brought about Saul’s repentance and transformation. Henceforth, he began preaching and teaching and was entrusted by Christ through the Holy Spirit to write 13 of the New Testament Books. Apart from Saul’s persecution of the Church, he was a moral person who tried at every level to please God. It seems to us that there is a faulty understanding of Saul, his conversion and how he became known as Paul.
In the Hebrew Language, Saul means asked for or prayed for in the case of the people of Israel rejecting Samuel and asking for a new King (King Saul). Paul’s Hebrew name was Saul, perhaps named after King Saul, the first King of Israel. An unknown author once said, “The Latin name Paul, meaning small was not result of his conversion but a second name for communicating to the Greco-Roman world.” With this understanding, Saul became Paul since he was assigned by the resurrected Christ to preach to the gentiles (Greek and Romans). In light of this new understanding, it is wrong and misleading to insinuate that Saul means bad while Paul means good and worse of all to equate it to Musa Bility’s transgressions and transformation.
Unlike Gamaliel’s Saul now Paul, who is Musa Bility that Senator Dillon should compare the two? First, we do not know of any of Musa Bility’s religious teachers as Gamaliel was to Saul. Second, what we know thus far about Musa Bility’s record is that allegedly, he criminally misused FIFA’s funds. Punitive actions taken by FIFA for such alleged unbecoming behavior by Musa Bility included suspension for 10 years from all FIFA’s national and international activities and a fine of $ 5000,000 United States Dollars. Musa Bility as we compose this article is in court for alleged tax evasion; he is yet to clear his name. He did not admit his guilt to the decision taken by FIFA neither did he repent like Saul. Saul as stated above thrived to follow the Ten Commandments and was a righteous man to do what pleased God at the time. Paul was not criminally fined and banned for selfish reasons like in the case of Musa Bility. What then is Musa Bility’s transformation that prompted Senator Dillon to mortgage his character and the Liberty Party? Do we wonder whether Senator Dillon was in the right state of mind when comparing Musa Bility to Saul? Something sinister may be going on here.
In our previous article under the caption, “Liberty Party of Cllr Charles Walker Brumskine may be at a Brink of Losing Credibility If…, we told executives of the Liberty Party that Musa Bility was a liability and therefore, should not be elected the Chairman. For some undisclosed reasons, the leadership of Liberty Party and Darius Dillon, whom we thought we had confidence, whom we campaigned and advocated in writings on his behalf, betrayed our trust and equally ignored our professional recommendations. Instead, questionable Musa Bility has become the love child of Liberty Party’s elites at the exhumation of Cllr Charles walker Brumskine. Musa Bility and some former executives of the Liberty Party undermined Cllr Brumskine and went against his will. Senator Dillon is one of the living witnesses to what Musa Bility and colleagues did by their actions in their departure to support George Weah.
Senator Dillon is also aware of the role Senator Steve Zargo, who stood with Cllr Brumskine and the only party’s executive at the bedside of the late Political Leader when he took his last breath. By banishing Cllr Brumskine’s friend and elected Chairman, Steve Zargo who was there at the last minute of the Political Leader and ushering in an individual like Musa Bility is a disservice at the highest level and equally slaps in the faces of Brumskine’s family, founding and genuine members of the Liberty Party. We wonder how Senator Dillon can preach against corruptions in the Liberian Senate and at the same time, permit, condone and dine with questionable Musa Bility? By erroneously applying biblical text as justification in Senator Dillon’s support for Musa Bility, even though over and again, Musa Bility is under the radar for lack of integrity, in our opinion, Dillon out rightly presents himself as a legitimate target for intellectual and moral criticisms.
Indeed, we placed our intellectual and moral’s credibility’s at stake when we vigorously supported Senator Dillon first in the senatorial bi-election that brought him in as a result of the death of Senator Sheriff. We did same during the mid-term elections of December 2020. We urge you, Senator Dillon to recant your support for Musa Bility. We do not entertain situational ethics. It is a conundrum to be preaching righteousness in the Liberian Senate while your Party’s Chairman, Musa Bility is besieged and clouded by claims of corruption. Since Musa Bility’s controversial election as Chairman, Liberty Party has been and continues to be ridiculed. The dissentions in the Liberty Party since the ascendancy of Musa Bility speak for itself. There is a saying that, “wise man changes”. We urge you to immediately and publicly withdraw your support from controversial Musa Bility. Make a public apology for your comparison of Saul’s repentance and transformation to that Musa Bility.
As demonstrated in this article, Paul’s moral character cannot be compared to Musa Bility even when he was persecuting the church. Importantly, Saul and now Paul, moral’s character, religious upbringing, spirituality, honesty and the fear of God certainly cannot be compared to Chairman Musa Bility. Honorable Senator, with the definition, comparison and contrast of exegesis and eisegesis, we strongly believe that you will concur that you erred in your biblical application of Musa Bility’s transgressions and transformation to Saul. In the Spirit of the Easter, we demand that you extend an apology to the Christian community for misusing and misapplying the Holy Scripture and ignorantly comparing Saint Paul to questionable Musa Bility. Emphatically, your application and comparison of Saul’s conversion to Musa Bility’s transgressions and transformation was indeed an exegetical fallacy and eisegesis; it has no place in solid biblical understanding!!!
About the author
Kadiker Rex Dahn holds a Ph.D. in Historical, Philosophical, and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He is a member of the North America Scholar consortium. Membership with the Highest Honor. Contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.