It’s not a mechanical or engineering or scientific formula. You do this and you do this and this and then you have an exegeted passage! I may sound mystical, but there is an art in this thing that can’t be taught or caught by any method. Yes, there must be the data. The languages have to be learned in and out, so much that we begin to think the author’s thoughts after him. Minds marinated in the OT and infused with the Spirit and the power of the resurrected Jesus. No short cuts, just reading and thinking and praying through that passage until we start to see its inner logic, and also its fire!
This is not just a good textbook definition from Varner; this is lived out in his very own preaching, of which I have had the pleasure of sitting under on many occasions. To get an example of this, see the mp3’s from his Sunday school class at Grace Community Church in California.