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Question and Answer

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.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

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Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references or from some source may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

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