December 10, 2006 Q & A

Hermeneutic Used by OPC


I was just curious: what is the "official" Biblical hermeneutic used by the OPC? I assumed it was the Historical-Grammatical but I'm not positive, seeing as many dispensational churches claim to use this hermeneutic as well.


What a great question! The truth is that we do not have an "official" hermeneutic, at least not one we have formally adopted. In fact the Historical-Grammatical method is the standard method of exegesis, simply because it makes sense and takes the Bible seriously in its historical and grammatical contexts and senses. But we also seek to be Christ-centered, i.e. we seek to see how Christ has revealed himself in all of Scripture—e.g. by types and shadows, by inspiration of writers to cast historical events in such a way that they both are historically accurate but reflect or resemble an aspect of Christ's character or work (Moses as a prophet, Aaron as a Priest or David as a King). In addition, we hold that the Old Testament cannot be understood fully unless it is seen in the light of the New Testament and vice versa. And then there is the Covenantal approach, seeking to see how God is working out his covenant purposes throughout the history of redemption, some times called the "Redemptive-Historical" approach.

Put very simply, we let Scripture interpret Scripture by comparing Scripture with Scripture. You might look at Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 1 for a fuller explanation of that.

In the end, the effectiveness or lack thereof of any hermeneutic lies in direct proportion to its fidelity to 2 Timothy 3:16.

God bless you as you study Scripture with the help of the Holy Spirit who is essential to that task.



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