According to Walter Kaiser, a gap exists in the academic preparation of ministers. It is the gap between the study of the biblical text (most frequently in the original languages) and the actual delivery of messages to God's people. Very few centers of biblical and homiletical training have ever taken the time or effort to show the student how one moves from analyzing the text to constructing a sermon that reflects and is dependent on that analysis. The author intends to bridge this gap with Toward an Exegetical Theology. He proposes a syntactical-theological method of exegesis consisting of the following steps: (1) contextual analysis, (2) syntactical analysis, (3) verbal analysis, (4) theological analysis, and (5) homiletical analysis.
Kaiser finds no fault with the time-honored grammatical-historical method except that it failed to go far enough in describing the main job of exegesis. In the syntactical-theological method the accent falls on syntactical analysis of the text and on biblical theology. Syntactical analysis systematically operates from three basic building blocks: (1) the concept, (2) the proposition, and (3) the paragraph. It is the precise way in which these three units are organized and arranged that provides the exegete all the data necessary to begin the journey of moving from the text to the destination of using that text in a teaching and preaching situation.
“Good exegetical procedure dictates that the details be viewed in light of the total context.” (Page 69)
“four levels of context: sectional context, book context, canonical context, and the immediate context” (Pages 70–71)
“(1) prose, (2) poetry, (3) narrative, (4) wisdom, and (5) apocalyptic” (Page 91)
“canonical context must appear only as part of our summation and not as part of our exegesis” (Page 83)
“Search first to see if the writer himself clearly sets forth his purpose in the preface, conclusion, or body of the text” (Page 79)