Explaining Hermeneutics:Norman L. Geisler
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Explaining Hermeneutics:
A Commentary on
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics
Articles of Affirmation and Denial

 Norman L. Geisler

 


 

Article I.

WE AFFIRM that the normative authority of Holy Scripture is the authority of God Himself, and is attested by Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church.

WE DENY the legitimacy of separating the authority of Christ from the authority of Scripture, or of opposing the one to the other.

This first article affirms that the authority of Scripture cannot be separated from the authority of God. Whatever the Bible affirms, God affirms. And what the Bible affirms (or denies), it affirms (or denies) with the very authority of God. Such authority is normative for all believers; it is the canon or rule of God.

This divine authority of Old Testament Scripture was confirmed by Christ Himself on numerous occasions (cf. Matt. 5:17-18; Luke 24:44; John 10:34-35). And what our Lord confirmed as to the divine authority of the Old Testament, He promised also for the New Tes-tament (John 14:16; 16:13).

The Denial points out that one cannot reject the divine authority of Scripture without thereby impugning the authority of Christ, who attested Scripture's divine authority. Thus it is wrong to claim one can accept the full authority of Christ without acknowledging the complete authority of Scripture.

Article II.

WE AFFIRM that as Christ is God and Man in one Person, so Scripture is, indivisibly, God' s Word in human language.

WE DENY that the humble, human form of Scrip-ture entails errancy any more than the humanity of Christ, even in His humiliation, entails sin.

Here an analogy is drawn between Christ and Scripture. Both Christ and Scripture have dual aspects of divinity and humanity, indivisibly united in one expression. Both Christ and Scripture were conceived by an act of the Holy Spirit. Both involve the use of fallible human agents. But both produced a theanthropic result; one a sinless person and the other an errorless book. However, like all analogies, there is a difference. Christ is one person uniting two natures whereas Scripture is one written expression uniting two au-thors (God and man). This difference notwithstanding, the strength of the likeness in the analogy points to the inseparable unity between divine and human dimensions of Scripture so that one aspect cannot be in error while the other is not.

The Denial is directed at a contemporary tendency to separate the human aspects of Scripture from the divine and allow for error in the former. By contrast the framers of this article believe that the human form of Scripture can no more be found in error than Christ could be found in sin. That is to say, the Word of God (i.e., the Bible) is as necessarily perfect in its human manifestation as was the Son of God in His human form.

Article III.

WE AFFIRM that the person and work of Jesus Christ are the central focus of the entire Bible.

WE DENY that any method of interpretation which rejects or obscures the Christ-centeredness of Scripture is correct.

This Affirmation follows the teaching of Christ that He is the central theme of Scripture (Matt. 5:17; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Heb. 10:7). This is to say that focus on the person and work of Christ runs throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. To be sure there are other and tangential topics, but the person and work of Jesus Christ are central.

In view of the focus of Scripture on Christ, the Denial stresses a hermeneutical obligation to make this Christocentric message clear in the expounding of Scripture. As other articles (cf. Article XV) emphasize the "literal" interpretation of Scripture, this article is no license for allegorization and unwarranted typology which see Christ portrayed in every detail of Old Testament proclamation. The article simply points to the centrality of Christ's mission in the unfolding of God's revelation to man.

Neither is there any thought in this article of making the role of Christ more ultimate than that of the Father. What is in view here is the focus of Scripture and not the ultimate source or object of the whole plan of redemption.

Article IV.

WE AFFIRM that the Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture acts through it today to work faith in its message.

WE DENY that the Holy Spirit ever teaches to any one anything which is contrary to the teaching of Scripture.

Here stress is laid on the fact that the Holy Spirit not only is the source of Scripture, but also works to produce faith in Scripture He has inspired. Without this ministry of the Holy Spirit, belief in the truth of Scripture would not occur.

The Denial is directed at those alleged "revelations" which some claim to have but which are contrary to Scripture. No matter how sincere or genuinely felt, no dream, vision, or supposed revelation which contradicts Scripture ever comes from the Holy Spirit. For the utterances of the Holy Spirit are all harmonious and noncontradictory (see Article XX).

Article V.

WE AFFIRM that the Holy Spirit enables believers to appropriate and apply Scripture to their lives.

WE DENY that the natural man is able to discern spiritually the biblical message apart from the Holy Spirit.

The design of this article is to indicate that the ministry of the Holy Spirit extends beyond the inspiration of Scripture to its very application to the lives of the believer. Just as no one calls Jesus Lord except by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:3), so no one can appropriate the message of Scripture to his life apart from the gracious work of the Holy Spirit.

The Denial stresses the truth that the natural man does not re-ceive the spiritual message of Scripture. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit there is no welcome for its truth in an unregenerate heart.

This does not imply that a non-Christian is unable to understand the meaning of any Scripture. It means that whatever he may perceive of the message of Scripture, that without the Holy Spirit's work he will not welcome the message in his heart.

Article VI.

WE AFFIRM that the Bible expresses God's truth in propositional statements, and we declare that biblical truth is both objective and absolute. We further affirm that a statement is true if it represents matters as they actually are, but is an error if it misrepresents the facts.

WE DENY that, while Scripture is able to make us wise unto salvation, biblical truth should be defined in terms of this function. We further deny that error should be defined as that which willfully deceives.

Since hermeneutics is concerned with understanding the truth of Scripture, attention is directed here to the nature of truth. Several significant affirmations are made about the nature of truth.

First, in contrast to contemporary relativism it is declared that truth is absolute. Second, as opposed to subjectivism it is acknowl-edged that truth is objective. Finally, in opposition to existential and pragmatic views of truth, this article affirms that truth is what corresponds to reality. This same point was made in the "Chicago Statement on Inerrancy" (1978) in Article XIII and the commentary on it.

The Denial makes P evident that views which redefine an error to mean what "misleads," rather than what is a mistake, must be rejected. This redefinition of the word "error" is both contrary to Scripture and to common sense. In Scripture the word error is used of unintentional acts (Lev. 4:2) as well as intentional ones. Also, in common parlence a statement is in error if it is a factual mistake, even if there was no intention to mislead anyone by it. So to suggest that the Bible contains mistakes, but that these are not errors so long as they do not mislead, is contrary to both Scripture and ordinary usage.

By this subtle redefinition of error to mean only what misleads but not what misrepresents, some have tried to maintain that the Bible is wholly true (in that it never misleads) and yet that it may have some mistakes in it. This position is emphatically rejected by the confessors of this document.

Article VII.

WE AFFIRM that the meaning expressed in each biblical text is single, definite, and fixed.

WE DENY that the recognition of this single meaning eliminates the variety of its application.

The Affirmation here is directed at those who claim a "double" or "deeper" meaning to Scripture than that expressed by the authors. It stresses the unity and fixity of meaning as opposed to those who find multiple and pliable meanings. What a passage means is fixed by the author and is not subject to change by readers. This does not imply that further revelation on the subject cannot help one come to a fuller understanding, but simply that the meaning given in a text is not changed because additional truth is revealed subsequently.

Meaning is also definite in that there are defined limits by virtue of the author's expressed meaning in the given linguistic form and cultural context. Meaning is determined by an author; it is discovered by the readers.

The Denial adds the clarification that simply because Scripture has one meaning does not imply that its messages cannot be applied to a variety of individuals or situations. While the interpretation is one, the applications can be many.

Article VIII.

WE AFFIRM that the Bible contains teachings and mandates which apply to all cultural and situational contexts and other mandates which the Bible itself shows apply only to particular situations.

WE DENY that the distinction between the universal and particular mandates of Scripture can be determined by cultural and situational factors. We further deny that universal mandates may ever be treated as culturally or situationally relative.

In view of the tendency of many to relativize the message of the Bible by accommodating it to changing cultural situations, this Affirmation proclaims the universality of biblical teachings. There are commands which transcend all cultural barriers and are binding on all men everywhere. To be sure, some biblical injunctions are directed to specific situations, but even these are normative to the particular situation(s) to which they speak. However, there are com-mands in Scripture which speak universally to the human situation and are not bound to particular cultures or situations.

The Denial addresses the basis of the distinction between universal and particular situations. It denies that the grounds of this distinction are relative or purely cultural. It further denies the legiti-macy of relativizing biblical absolutes by reducing them to purely cultural mandates.

The meaning of this article is that whatever the biblical text means is binding. And what is meant to be universally binding should not be relegated to particular situations any more than what is meant to apply only to particular circumstances should be promulgated as universally applicable.

There is an attempt here to strike a balance between command and culture by recognizing that a command transcends culture, even though it speaks to and is expressed in a particular culture. Thus while the situation (or circumstances) may help us to discover the right course of action, the situation never determines what is right. God's laws are not situationally determined.

Article IX.

WE AFFIRM that the term hermeneutics, which historically signified the rules of exegesis, may properly be extended to cover all that is involved in the process of perceiving what the biblical revelation means and how it bears on our lives.

WE DENY that the message of Scripture derives from, or is dictated by, the interpreter's understanding. Thus we deny that the "horizons" of the biblical writer and the interpreter may rightly "fuse" in such a way that what the text communicates to the interpreter is not ultimately controlled by the expressed meaning of the Scripture.

The primary thrust of this Affirmation is definitional. It desires to clarify the meaning of the term hermeneutics by indicating that it includes not only perception of the declared meaning of a text but also an understanding of the implications that text has for one's life. Thus, hermeneutics is more than biblical exegesis. It is not only the science that leads forth the meaning of a passage but also that which enables one (by the Holy Spirit) to understand the spiritual implica-tions the truth(s) of this passage has for Christian living.

The Denial notes that the meaning of a passage is not derived from or dictated by the interpreter. Rather, meaning comes from the author who wrote it. Thus the reader's understanding has no hermeneutically definitive role. Readers must listen to the meaning of a text and not attempt to legislate it. Of course, the meaning listened to should be applied to the reader's life. But the need or desire for specific application should not color the interpretation of a passage.

Article X.

WE AFFIRM that Scripture communicates God's truth to us verbally through a wide variety of literary forms.

WE DENY that any of the limits of human language render Scripture inadequate to convey God's message.

This Affu'mation is a logical literary extension of Article II which acknowledges the humanity of Scripture. The Bible is God's Word, but it is written in human words; thus, revelation is "verbal." Reve-lation is "propositional" (Article 1I) because it expresses certain propositional truth. Some prefer to call it "sentential" because the truth is expressed in sentences. Whatever the term--verbal, propositional, or sentential--the Bible is a human book which uses normal literary forms. These include parables, satire, irony, hyperbole, metaphor, simile, poetry, and even allegory (e.g., Ezek. 16-17).

As an expression in finite, human language, the Bible has certain limitations in a similar way that Christ as a man had certain limita-tions. This means that God adapted Himself through human language so that His eternal truth could be understood by man in a temporal world.

Despite the obvious fact of the limitations of any finite linguistic expression, the Denial is quick to point out that these limits do not render Scripture an inadequate means of communicating God's truth. For while there is a divine adaptation (via language) to human ~nitude there is no accommodation to human error. Error is not essential to human nature. Christ was human and yet He did not err. Adam was human before he erred. So simply because the Bible is written in human language does not mean it must err. In fact, when God uses human language there is a supernatural guarantee that it will not be in error.

Article XI.

WE AFFIRM that translations of the text of Scripture can communicate knowledge of God across all temporal and cultural boundaries.

WE DENY that the meaning of biblical texts is so tied to the culture out of which they came that understanding qf the same meaning in other cultures is impossible.

Simply because the truth of Scripture was conveyed by God in the original writings does not mean that it cannot be translated into another language. This article affirms the translatability of God's truth into other cultures. It affirms that since truth is transcendent (see Article XX) it is not culture-bound. Hence the truth of God expressed in a first-century culture is not limited to that culture. For the nature of truth is not limited to any particular medium through which it is expressed.

The Denial notes that since meaning is not inextricably tied to a given culture it can be adequately expressed in another culture. Thus the message of Scripture need not be relativized by translation. What is expressed can be the same even though how it is expressed differs.

Article XII.

WE AFFIRM that in the task of translating the Bible and teaching it in the context of each culture, only those functional equivalents that are faithful to the content of biblical teaching should be employed.

WE DENY the legitimacy of methods which either are insensitive to the demands of cross-cultural communication or distort biblical meaning in the process.

Whereas the previous article treated the matter of the translat-ability of divine truth, this article speaks to the adequacy of transla-tions. Obviously not every expression in another language will appropriately convey the meaning of Scripture. In view of this, cau-tion is urged that the translators remain faithful to the truth of the Scripture being translated by the proper choice of the words used to translate it.

This article treats the matter of "functional" equivalence. Often there is no actual or literal equivalence between expressions in one language and a word-for-word Wanslation into another language. What is expressed (meaning) is the same but how it is expressed (the words) is different. Hence a different construction can be used to convey the same meaning.

The Denial urges sensitivity to cultural matters so that the same truth may be conveyed, even though different terms are being used. Without this awareness missionary activity can be severely hampered.

Article XIII.

WE AFFIRM that awareness of the literary categories, formal and stylistic, of the various parts of Scripture is essential for proper exegesis, and hence we value genre criticism as one of the many disciplines of biblical study.

WE DENY that generic categories which negate historicity may rightly be imposed on biblical nar-ratives which present themselves as factual.

The awareness of what kind of literature one is interpreting is essential to a correct understanding of the text. A correct genre judg-ment should be made to ensure correct understanding. A parable, for example, should not be treated like a chronicle, nor should poetry be interpreted as though it were a straightforward narrative. Each pas-sage has its own genre, and the interpreter should be cognizant of the specific kind of literature it is as he attempts to interpret it. With-out genre recognition an interpreter can be misled in his understand-ing of the passage. For example, when the prophet speaks of "trees clapping their hands" (Isa. 55:12) one could assume a kind of ani-mism unless he recognized that this is poetry and not prose.

The Denial is directed at an illegitimate use of genre criticism by some who deny the truth of passages which are presented as factual. Some, for instance, take Adam to be a myth, whereas in Scripture he is presented as a real person. Others take Jonah to be an allegory when he is presented as a historical person and so referred to by Christ (Man. 12:40-42). This Denial is an appropriate and timely warning not to use genre criticism as a cloak for rejecting the truth of Scripture.

Article XIV.

WE AFFIRM that the biblical record of events, discourses and sayings, though presented in a variety of appropriate literary forms, corresponds to historical fact.

WE DENY that any such event, discourse or saying reported in Scripture was invented by the biblical writers or by the traditions they incorporated.

This article combines the emphases of Articles VI and XIII. While acknowledging the legitimacy of literary forms, this article insists that any record of events presented in Scripture must corre-spond to historical fact. That is, no reported event, discourse, or saying should be considered imaginary.

The Denial is even more clear than the Affirmation. It stresses that any discourse, saying, or event reported in Scripture must ac-tually have occurred. This means that any hermeneutic or form of biblical criticism which claims that something was invented by the author must be rejected. This does not mean that a parable must be understood to represent historical facts, since a parable does not (by its very genre) purport to report an event or saying but simply to illustrate a point.

Article XV.

WE AFFIRM the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal, sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text.

WE DENY the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attributes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support.

The literal sense of Scripture is strongly affirmed here. To be sure the English word literal carries some problematic connotations with it. Hence the words normal and grammatical-historical are used to explain what is meant. The literal sense is also designated by the more descriptive title grammatical-historical sense. This means the correct interpretation is the one which discovers the meaning of the text in its grammatical forms and in the historical, cultural context in which the text is expressed.

The Denial warns against attributing to Scripture any meaning not based in a hteral understanding, such as mythological or alle-gorical interpretations. This should not be understood as eliminating typology or designated allegory or other literary forms which include figures of speech (see Articles X, XIII, and XIV).

Article XVI.

WE AFFIRM that legitimate critical techniques should be used in determining the canonical text and its meaning.

WE DENY the legitimacy of allowing any method of biblical criticism to question the truth or integrity of the writer's expressed meaning, or of any other scriptural teaching.

Implied here is an approval of legitimate techniques of "lower criticism" or "textual criticism." It is proper to use critical techniques in order to discover the true text of Scripture, that is, the one which represents the original one given by the biblical authors.

Whereas critical. methodology can be used to establish which of the texts are copies of the inspired original, it is illegitimate to use critical methods to call into question whether something in the origi-nal text is true. In other words, proper "lower criticism" is valid but negative "higher criticism" which rejects truths of Scripture is invalid.

Article XVII.

WE AFFIRM the unity, harmony, and consistency of Scripture and declare that it is its own best interpreter.

WE DENY that Scripture may be interpreted in such a way as to suggest that one passage corrects or militates against another. We deny that later writers of Scripture misinterpreted earlier passages of Scripture when quoting from or referring to them.

Two points are made in the Affirmation, the unity of Scripture and its self-interpreting ability. Since the former is treated elsewhere (Article XXI), we will comment on the latter here. Not only is the Bible always correct in interpreting itself (see Article XVIII), but it is the "best interpreter" of itself.

Another point made here is that comparing Scripture with Scrip-ture is an excellent help to an interpreter. For one passage sheds light on another. Hence the first commentary the interpreter should consult on a passage is what the rest of Scripture may say on that text.

The Denial warns against the assumption that an understanding of one passage can lead the interpreter to reject the teaching of an-other passage. One passage may help him better comprehend another but it will never contradict another.

This last part of the Denial is particularly directed to those who believe the New Testament writers misinterpret the Old Testament, or that they attribute meaning to an Old Testament text not expressed by the author of that text. While it is acknowledged that there is sometimes a wide range of application for a text, this article affirms that the interpretation of a biblical text by another biblical writer is always within the confines of the meaning of the first text.

Article XVIII.

WE AFFIRM that the Bible's own interpretation of itself is always correct, never deviating from, but rather elucidating, the single meaning of the inspired text. The single meaning of a prophet's words includes, but is not restricted to, the under-standing of those words by the prophet and nec-essarily involves the intention of God evidenced in the fulfillment of those words.

WE DENY that the writers of Scripture always understood the full implications of their own words.

This Affirmation was perhaps the most difficult to word. The first part of the Affirmation builds on Article VII which declared that Scripture has only one meaning, and simply adds that whenever the Bible comments on another passage of Scripture it does so correctly. That is, the Bible never misinterprets itself. It always correctly under-stands the meaning of the passage it comments on (see Article XVII). For example, that Paul misinterprets Moses is to say that Paul erred. This view is emphatically rejected in favor of the inerrancy of all Scripture.

The problem in the second statement of the Affirmation revolves around whether God intended more by a passage of Scripture than the human author did. Put in this way, evangelical scholars are divided on the issue, even though there is unity on the question of "single meaning." Some believe that this single meaning may be fuller than the purview of the human author, since God had far more in view than did the prophet when he wrote it. The wording here is an attempt to include reference to the fulfillment of a prophecy (of which God was obviously aware when He inspired it) as part of the single mean-ing which God and the prophet shared. However, the prophet may not have been conscious of the full implications of this meaning when he wrote it.

The way around the difficulty was to note that there is only one meaning to a passage which both God and the prophet affirmed, but that this meaning may not always be fully "evidenced" until the prophecy is ful~lled. Furthermore, God, and not necessarily the prophets, was fully aware of the fuller implications that would be manifested in the fulfillment of this single meaning.

It is important to preserve single meaning without denying that God had more in mind than the prophet did. A distinction needs to be made, then, between what God was conscious of concerning an affirmation (which, in view of His foreknowledge and omniscience, was far more) and what He and the prophet actually expressed in the passage. The Denial makes this point clear by noting that biblical authors were not always fully aware of the implications of their own affirmations.

Article XIX.

WE AFFIRM that any preunderstandings which the interpreter brings to Scripture should be in harmony with scriptural teaching and subject to correction by it.

WE DENY that Scripture should be required to fit alien preunderstandings, inconsistent with itself, such as naturalism, evolutionism, scientism, secular humanism, and relativism.

The question of preunderstanding is a crucial one in contem-porary hermeneutics. The careful wording of the Affirmation does not discuss the issue of whether one should approach Scripture with a particular preunderstanding, but simply which kinds of preunder-standing one has are legitimate. This question is answered by affirm-ing that only those preunderstandings which are compatible with the teaching of Scripture are legitimate. In fact, the statement goes further and demands that all preunderstanding be subject to "correction" by the teaching of Scripture.

The point of this article is to avoid interpreting Scripture through an alien grid or filter which obscures or negates its true message. For it acknowledges that one's preunderstanding will affect his under-standing of a text. Hence to avoid misinterpreting Scripture one must be careful to examine his own presuppositions in the light of Scripture.

Article XX.

WE AFFIRM that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extrabiblical, are consistent and cohere, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases extrabiblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.

WE DENY that extrabiblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it.

What is in view here is not so much the nature of truth (which is treated in Article VI), but the consistency and coherence of truth.

This is directed at those views which consider truth paradoxical or contradictory. This article declares that a proper hermeneutics avoids contradictions, since God never affirms as true two propositions, one of which is logically the opposite of the other.

Further, this Affirmation recognizes that not all truth is in the Bible (though all that is affirmed in the Bible is true). God has revealed Himself in nature and history as well as in Scripture. How-ever, since God is the ultimate Author of all truth, there can be no contradiction between truths of Scripture and the true teachings of science and history.

Although only the Bible is the nonnative and infallible rule for doctrine and practice, nevertheless what one learns from sources out-side Scripture can occasion a reexamination and reinterpretation of Scripture. For example, some have taught the world to be square because the Bible refers to "the four comers of the earth" (Isa. 11:12). But scientific knowlodge of the spherical nature of the globe leads to a correction of this faulty interpretation. Other clarifications of our understanding of the biblical text are possible through the study of the social sciences.

However, whatever prompting and clarifying of Scripture that extrabiblical studies may provide, the final authority for what the Bible teaches rests in the text of Scripture itself and not in anything outside it (except in God Himself). The Denial makes clear this priority of the teaching of God's scriptural revelation over anything outside it.

Article XXI.

WE AFFIRM the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore of biblical teaching with the facts of nature.

WE DENY that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the true meaning of any passage of Scripture.

This article continues the discussion of the previous article by noting the harmony of God's general revelation (outside Scripture) and His special revelation in Scripture. It is acknowledged by all that certain interpretations of Scripture and some opinions of scientists will contradict each other. However, it is insisted here that the truth of Scripture and the facts of science never contradict each other.

"Genuine" science will always be in accord with Scripture. Science, however, based on naturalistic presuppositions will inevitably come in conflict with the supernatural truths of Scripture.

Far from denying a healthy interchange between scientific theory and biblical interpretation, the framers of this statement welcome such. Indeed, it is acknowledged (in article XX) that the exegete can learn from the scientist. What is denied is that we should accept scientific views that contradict Scripture or that they should be given an authority above Scripture.

Article XXII.

WE AFFIRM that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.

WE DENY that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of humanity may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

Since the historicity and the scientific accuracy of the early chapters of the Bible have come under severe attack it is important to apply the "literal" hermeneutic espoused (Article XV) to this question. The result was a recognition of the factual nature of the account of the creation of the universe, all living things, the special creation of man, the Fall, and the Flood. These accounts are all factual, that is, they are about space-time events which actually happened as re-ported in the book of Genesis (see Article XIV).

The article left open the question of the age of the earth on which there is no unanimity among evangelicals and which was beyond the purview of this conference. There was, however, complete agreement on denying that Genesis is mythological or unhistorical. Likewise, the use of the term "creation" was meant to exclude the belief in macro-evolution, whether of the atheistic or theistic varieties.

Article XXIII.

WE AFFIRM the clarity of Scripture and specifically of its message about salvation from sin.

WE DENY that all passages of Scripture are equally clear or have equal bearing on the message of redemption.

Traditionally this teaching is called the "perspicuity" of Scrip-ture. By this is meant that the central message of Scripture is clear, especially what the Bible says about salvation from sin.

The Denial disassociates this claim from the belief that every-thing in Scripture is clear or that all teachings are equally clear or equally relevant to the Bible's central saving message. It is obvious to any honest interpreter that the meaning of some passages of Scrip-ture is obscure. It is equally evident that the truth of some passages is not directly relevant to the overall plan of salvation.

Article XXIV.

WE AFFIRM that a person is not dependent for understanding of Scripture on the expertise of biblical scholars.

WE DENY that a person should ignore the fruits of the technical study of Scripture by biblical scholars.

This article attempts to avoid two extremes. First, it aftinns that one is not dependent on biblical "experts" for his understanding of the basic truths of Scripture. Were this not true, then a significant aspect of the priesthood of all believers would be destroyed. For if the understanding of the laity is contingent on the teaching of experts, then Protestant interpretive experts will have replaced the teaching magisterium of Catholic priests with a kind of teaching magisterium of Protestant scholars.

On the other hand, biblical scholars do play a significant role in the lay understanding of Scripture. Even the very tools (Bible, dictionaries, concordances, etc.) used by laypersons to interpret Scrip-ture were produced by scholars. And when it comes to more technical and precise understanding of specific Scripture the work of experts is more than helpful. Hence the implied exhortation in the denial to avail oneself of the fruit of scholarship is well taken.

Article XXV.

WE AFFIRM that the only type of preaching which sufficiently conveys the divine revelation and its proper application to life is that which faithfully expounds the text of Scripture as the Word of God.

WE DENY that the preacher has any message from God apart from the text of Scripture.

This final article declares that good preaching should be based in good hermeneutics. The exposition of Scripture is not to be treated in isolation from the proclamation of Scripture. In preaching the preacher should faithfully expound the Word of God. Anything short of a correct exposition of God's written Word is pronounced insufficient.

Indeed, the Denial declares that there is no message from God apart from Scripture. This was understood not to contradict the fact that there is a general revelation (affirmed in Article XXI) but simply to note that the only inspired and infallible writing from which the preacher can and must preach is the Bible.

 




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Apostasy Larry McCall
Are You Saved By Faith In Christ?
Article 1 John Piper In Chinese
Atonement DR John Murray
Babylonian Talmud
Barren Fig Tree John Bunyan
Beacon of Holiness Alistair Begg
Before Scholasticism
Before the Carolingian Empire
Beginning The Christian Life DR Torrey
Beyond Reason?John Lennox
BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES
Biblical Hermeneutics
Biblical Interpretation By Craig S. Keener
Biblical Objectivity Nick Eicher
Biography of John Owen
Building with Conviction R.C. Sproul
Building with Conviction R.C. Sproul
Calvin And The Reformation
Careers Colleges and Seminaries
Carnal Or spiritual ? Rev Andrew Murray
Causes of the Corruption of the Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels
Charles Henry Mackintosh Sermons
Charnock, Stephen (1628-1680)
Chesterton, G.K. (1874-1936)
Childhood in the Moslem World (1915) Dr Samuel Zwemer
Christ and Criticism Sir Robert Anderson
Christ Is The Life Thomas Brooks
Christian Exiles Pastor John Piper
Christian Influences In Early Islam Richard Bell
Christianity & Our Times by B B Warfield
Christianity and Culture DR J Gresham Machen
Christological controversy after Chalcedon
Christ's Agony by Jonathan Edwards
Chritianity without Christ Dr Charles Hodge
Classic Sermons
Comfort by John Owen
Commentary on Revelation Bullinger, Ethelbert William (1837-1913)
COMO PREPARAR/FORMAR UN SERMON EXPOSITIVO
COMO PREPARAR/FORMAR UN SERMON TOPICO
Compendium of Theology part 3 by Dr Baier
Compendium of Theology part 4 DR Baier
Compendium of Theology part 5 DR Baier
Compendium of Theoloy part 1 DR Baier
Confessions of a Bibliophile Keith Mathison
Congregational Counseling Eric Bancroft
COUNSELING HELPS
Creeds and Confessions by Dr A A Hodge
CULTS
Cyril of Alexandria, St. (d. 444)
Daily Meditations by Richard Sibbes
Death and Dying as Gain St. Ambrose of Milan
Death Does Not Have the Last Word R C Sproul
Death, Disease & the Gospel Burk Parsons
Desiring God 2011 National Conference
Desiring God Seminar video 1 Pastor John Piper
Desiring God Seminar Video 2 Pastor John Piper
Desiring God Seminar video 3 Pastor John Piper
Desiring God Seminar Video 4 Pastor John Piper
Dimensions of Faith -- FREE online courses from Gordon Conwell Seminary
Directions for the holy spending of every day by Richard Baxter
Divine Healing Andrew Murray
Do We Believe the Whole Gospel ? by R.C. Sproul
Does the Church Know Her Commission? Denny Burk
Donne, John (1572-1631)
Don't Waste Your Cancer by Matt Chandler
Early Islam
Early Jewish theology
Early Scholasticism and its contemporaries
Eckhart, Johannes (c. 1260-1327)
Edwards and The New England Theology Dr Warfield
Egypt
El Credo Niceno
El Nos Dio Profetas - 1 Perspectivas Hermenéuticas Esenciales
El Nos Dio Profetas - 2 La Labor de un Profeta
El Nos Dio Profetas - 3 El Pueblo del Pacto
El Nos Dio Profetas - 7 El Popósito de las Predicciones
El Nos Dio Profetas - 8 Revelación Escatológia
El Nos Dio Profetas -4 Dinámicas de los Pactos
El Nos Dio Profetas -5 Análisis Literario de los Profetas
Engagaing the Doctrine of God Book Review Bruce L McCormack
Evangelism & Missions
Ezra, According to the Gospel: Ezra 7:101Philip Graham Ryken
Faith Born of Need Dr J G Machen
Faith in God Dr J G Machen
Fénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe (1651-1715)
Fiction and Truth in the Old Testament Wisdom Literature
Flavel, John (1627-1691)
Flesh and Spirit by John Bradford
Footprints in the Sand Burk Parsons
Forsyth, Peter Taylor (1848-1921)
Forward by C H Spurgeon
Freedom From The Law John Calvin
G E N E S I S John Bunyan
Gardner, Edmund Garratt (1869-1935)
Gathering Clouds: A Tale of the Days of St. Chrysostom
Genesis
Gleanings In Exodus A W Pink
Gleanings In Genesis A W Pink
Gleanings In Joshua A W Pink
Godly Boasting Pastor John Piper
God's Peacemakers Rev Alexander Maclaren 1826- 1910
Googling Oureselves To Death Rev Jason Stellman
Grace Abounding John Bunyan
Grace Transforms Everything Sean Michael Lucas
Great books
Greece
Gregory of Nyssa
Guthrie, William (1620-1665)
Guyon, Madame Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Mothe (1647-1717)
Habermann, Johann
Harnack, Adolf (1851-1930)
Hastings, James (1852-1922)Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels: Volume I,2
He Loves Me,He Really Loves me Tim Challies
HEIRS OF THE PROPHETS DR Samuel Zwemer
Help Heavenward Octavius Winslow
Help Heavenward part 2 Octavius Winslow
Help Heavenward part 3 Octavius Winslow
Helps To Devotion by Reobert Murray M'Cheyne
Herbermann, Charles George (1840-1916)
Herbert, George (1593-1633)
Hilary of Poitiers, St.
Hindrances To Prayer Dr A Torrey
Historia Calamitatum: Abelard, Peter (1079-1142)
History and Faith by Dr J G Machen
Holding The Line Dr Albert Mohler
Holiness and Humility Rev Andrew Murray
Holiness by Thomas Manton
Holy Scripture and Modern Nagations Professor James Orr
Homily 1 on Hebrews by St Chrsostom
Hooker, Richard (c. 1554-1600)
Hort, Fenton John Anthony. (1828-1892)
How Evolution Undermines The Savior by Tom Stewart
How God Guides DR A Torrey
How to Do Good So That God Gets the Glory Pastor John Piper
How Tod Study The Bible Dr R A Torrey
Howe, John (1630-1705)
Human Trafficking In God's Worl Justin Holcomb
Humility A A Hodge
Humilty by Jonathan Edwards
Hutton, J. E. History of Moravians
Iconoclasts and iconophiles
IDRIS, OR ENOCH.DR. G. WEIL
In Christ Bishop H C G Moule
In Praise of Folly Erasmus, Desiderius (c. 1466-1536)
Incarnate Truth DR Warfield
Individuality In Religion Rev G Campell Morgan
Inspiration of Scriptures Dr. B.H. Carroll
INTERPRETATION OF THE SCRIPTURES A W Pink
Irenaeus, St. (c.130-c.200)
Is Mankind Lost In Sin? Dr J G Machen
Is the Reformation Over? John Calvin, Roman Catholicism, and Contemporary Ecumenical Conversations 1
Islam In Africa J Du Plessis 1909
It Takes A Church To Raise A Child, Mark Bates
Jerome: The Principal Works of St. Jerome
Jesus and Paul Dr J G Machen
Jesus Christ The Son of God Theodore Beza
Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes Book Review
John Calvin and His Work DR Philip Schaff
JOHN, MARY, AND CHRIST DR. G. WEIL
JOSEPH DR. G. WEIL
JOSEPH DR. G. WEIL
JOSHUA: Captain of Our Salvation
Jowett, Benjamin (1817-1893)
Justification by Death?R.C. Sproul
Justification by Dr Abraham Kuyper
Justification By Faith A W Pink
Key Word Studies
Killing Anger Pastor John Piper
Knowing Scripture R.C. Sproul
Kuyper, Abraham (1837-1920)
La Historia Primigenia -4 La Dirección Correcta (Génesis 6:9-11:9)
La oración de Nehemías
Lake, Kirsopp (1872-1946)
Latimer, Hugh (1485-1555)
Law, William (1686-1761)
Learning Greek
Lectures on the Acts of the Apostles.Dick, John (1764-1833)
Liberty by John Calvin
Life Is Not Trivial John Piper
Listening Before Answering Pastor John Piper
Looking To Jesus DR R A Torrey
Love by John Bunyan
Love The Lord Thomas Brooks
Luther, Martin (1483-1546)
MacLaren, Alexander (1826-1910)
Manhood, Womanhood, and God
Medieval Jewish theology
Meeting Jesus at an Old testament feast DR Sittema
Mercy Ministry Elliot Grudem
Ministerial Pride by Richard Baxter
Ministering By The Life Giving Spirit David Hall
Mission: A Problem of Definition Keith Ferdinando
Mohammed without Camouflage W H T Gairdner
Mohammed without Camouflage W H T Gairdner
More Sermon Links
MOSES AND AARON DR. G. WEIL
Motive Power R C Sproul Jr
Moule, Handley C. G. (1841-1920)
Muhammad His Life and Doctrines Arthur N Wollaston
My Idea of God Dr J Gresham Machen
Mystical theology
Mysticism by Dr Charles Hodge
NEW TESTAMENT STUDIES
NOAH, HUD, AND SALIH DR. G. WEIL
Nothing Like the Church by Robert Rayburn
Obeying and Praying Dr A Torrey
Ockenga Lectures on Preaching, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Old Testament Criticism and New Testament Christianity Professor W H Griffith Thomas
OLD TESTAMENT STUDIES
On God
One Isaiah professor George Robinson
Our Ancient Foe Keith Mathison
Our Comforter in Life and Death Larry Edison
Our Liberating God Burk Parsons
Our Moslem Sisters, Zwemer, Samuel Marinus, 1867-1952
PASTORAL HELPS
Patristic theology
Personal Holiness by A W Pink
Philip Jenkins. The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the
Philippians Introduction DR Bob utley
Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan
Prayer and Revival Dr A Torrey
Prayer by Hudson Taylor
Prayer by Stephen Charnock
Prayer by Thomas Watson
Praying In The Spirit DR A Torrey
Praying To God Dr A Torrey
Praying With Thanks DR A Torrey
Preaching Christ DR R C Sproul
Prize Winning Author Blats New Atheists
Profitable Bible Study Dr R A Torrey
Prophecies of The Messiah by John Gill
Providence by A W Pink
Public Prayer John Newton
R.C. Sproul Jr.Jerusalem and Athens
Rationalism DR Charles Hodge
RAYMUND LULL DR Samuel Zwemer
Receiving the Baton Bob Kauflin
Reclaiming The Old Testament for Christian Preaching
Reformation Fisher, George Park (1827-1909)
Rejoice with Trembling Pastor John Piper
Reproaches Improved by Thomas Manton
Resisting the Devil Burk Parsons
ROBERTSON'S NT WORD STUDIES
Rome
Salt of the Earth by Phil Johnson
Salvation History, Chronology, and Crisis: A Problem with Inclusivist Theology of Religions, Part 2
SAMUEL, SAUL, AND DAVID DR. G. WEIL,
Sanctified Sex Before Marriage
Schism And the Local Church Michael G Brown
Scholasticism and its contemporaries
Semon Video:Suffering Glorifies God Pastor John Piper
Sermon Links
Sermon on Hebrews chapter 1 by Thomas Goodwin
Sermon Vide:The Life of George Whitefield by Pastor Piper
Sermon Video (Boasting In The Cross)Pastor J Piper
Sermon Video (The Free Wiil of The Wind) Pastor J Piper
Sermon Video :Abortion by Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video :Behold The Lamb of God Pastor Piper
Sermon Video :Love by Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video :No one ever spoke like this man Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video :Staying Married Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video :The Lord's Supper Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video :The Supremacy of Christ Pastor Piper
Sermon Video :The Value of The Bible Pastor Piper
Sermon Video :Was This Child Born Blind?Pastor J Piper
Sermon Video 1 When The Righteous Suffer J Piper
Sermon video 2 When The Righteous Suffer p2 J Piper
Sermon Video Resting and Wrestling Pastor John
Sermon Video: Judas Iscariot by Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:All Things Were Created Through Him Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Being Single Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Don't Waste Your Life Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Feed The Flame of Gods Gift by Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:For Judgement I came Into This World Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:He Knew What Was In Man Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:How God Word's Produces Are Work John Piper
Sermon Video:Jesus Christ In Romans Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Lionhearted Pastor John Piper
Sermon video:Marriage Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Marriage Pursuing Conformity to christ Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Pray Like This by Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:Racial Diversity Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:The Light of The World Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:The Obedience of Faith Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:The Recession Pastor J Piper
Sermon Video:The Truth Will Set You Free Pastor John Piper
Sermon Video:We Found The Messiah Pastor J Piper
Shared Intentions? Reflections on Inspiration and Interpretation in Light of Scripture's Dual Author
Sin and God's Gift Dr J Gresham Machen
SOLOMON AND THE QUEEN OF SABA DR. G. WEIL,
Spanish Theology Video ,La Perspectiva Circunstancial:Revelacion y Situación
Spanish Theology VideoLa Perspectiva Normativa: Dios y Su Palabra
St Anselm R C Sproul
St Cyprian Epistle 1
Strange Fire by A W Pink
Studies In Acts Group
Studies In Matthew Group
Studies in Popular Islam Dr Samuel Zwemer
Suffering And Consolation Rev C H Spurgeon
Sufferring Christians by A W Pink
Systematic Theology DR Cheung
Testament Hebrew Lexicon
That the Scriptures Might Be Fulfilled Piper
The Atonement by Dr J Gresham Machen
The Attributes of God by A W Pink
The Bands of Brotherhood Dr R C Sproul
The Bible and Modern Criticism by Professor F Bettex
The Bible Is The Word Of God A W Pink
The Book of Daniel Professor Joseph Wilson
The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
The Cambridge 7
The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts: Deliverance and Damnation Display the Divine
The Children's crusade DR R C Sproul Jr
The Christian Faith DR Geerhardos Vos
The Christian in Complete Armour;William Gurnall, M.A.,
The Consecrated Life:The Life and Times of Francis Ridley Havergal by J J Burns
The Conversion of Dr Martin Luther
The Covenant Way Susan Hunt
The Cross by J C Ryle
The Cross John Newton 1725-1807
The Cross: A Call To The Fundamentals Of Religion J C Ryle
The Cup of Wrath Andrew Bonar
The Dangers of Mixing Law and Gospel Jason Stellman
The Dazzling Darkness of God’s Triune Love: Introducing Evangelicals to the Theology of Hans Urs von
The Death and Resurrection of Christ W. H. Griffith Thomas
The Death of Pride
The Deity of Christ & the Church Robert Peterson
The Divine Refuge Rev Charles Spurgeon
The Doctrinal Value of The First Chapters of Genesis Rev Dyson Hague
The Doctrinal Value of The First Chapters of Genesis Rev Dyson Hague
The Duties of Parents by Bishop J C Ryle
The Early Narratives of Genesis Professor James Orr
The End of Soap Oprah Dr Carl Trueman
The Excellence of Christ by Jonathan Edwards
The Faithful Promiser John MacDuff
The Fallacies of the Higher Criticism by Professor Franklin Johnson
The Fiture of Justification John Piper Book Review
The Fool's Creed DR Torrey
The Genesis of the New Faith Charles Cutler Torrey
The German Reformation part 1 DR Philip Schaff
The German Reformation part 2 Dr Philip Schaff
The Glory of God In Preaching Darrell W. Johnson
The Glory of The Cross Part 1 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 10 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 2 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross Part 3 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross Part 4 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 5 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 6 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 7 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of the Cross part 8 Samuel Zwemer
The Glory of The Cross part 9 Samuel Zwemer
The Goodness of The Law DR R C Sproul
The Gospel and the Poor Tim Keller
The Gospel of John A W Pink
The Gospel of John Set Free: Preaching without Anti-Judaism.
The Grace of Cheerful Giving Frank Cavalli
The Heart of The Gospel DR A T Pierson
The Historical Basis Of The Historical Faith by DR James Denney
The History of Justification by faith James Buchanan
The History of The Higher Criticism by Canon Dyson Hague
The Holy Spirit A W Pink
The Holy Spirit Rev C H Spurgeon
The Idea of Biblical Theology DR Geerhardus Vos
The Importance of Christian Scholarship Dr J G Machen
The Importance of Prayer DR A Torrey
THE IMPROVEMENT OF AFFLICTION Robert Murray McCheyne
The Internal Evidence For The Fourth Gospel Canon G Osborne
The Jewish World In The Days Of Christ Dr Edersheim
The Kingdom of God DR Geerhardus Vos
The Koran H A R Gibb
THE LAW OF APOSTASY IN ISLAM Dr Samuel Zwemer
The Life of Adoniran Judson
The Life of Dr Martin Luther part 1 by Philip Melanchon
The Life of Dr Martin Luther part 2 by Philip Melancthon
The Life of Elijah by A W Pink
The Life of Faith A W Pink
The Life of John Bunyan
The Life of King David A W Pink
The Life of King David part 2 A W Pink
The Life Of Matthew Henry
The Life of Stephen Charnock by William Symington
The Magic Bullet Sebastian Heck
The Mohammedan Controversy (1897) Dr Samuel Zwemer
The Mosaic Authorship by Professor George Wright
THE MOSLEM DOCTRINE OF GOD Dr Samuel Zwemer
The Most Important Question DR Torrey
The Need For Revival Dr A Torrey
The New Life Andrew Murray
The Oppresion of Man Thomas Manton
The Origin of Paul's Religion by Dr J G Machen
The Origin of the 'ID AL-ADHA Dr Richard Bell
The Origins of The Qur'an Rev W Goldsack
The Pastor and the Funeral by Harry Reeder
The Peace that Passes R.C. Sproul Jr.
The Persecution of the Church by Dr Philip Schaff
The Person of Christ Dr John Owen
The Place of Christ In The New Testament by Dr James Denney
The Pleasures of God video 4 Pastor John Piper
The Pleasures of God Video 1 John Piper
The Pleasures of God Video 2 Pastor John Piper
The Pleasures of God video 3 Pastor John Piper
The Pleasures of God video 5 Pastor John Piper
The Power of Prayer Andrew Murray
The Power of The Word Of God R A Torrey
The Precious Gift of Baby Talk John Piper
The Rainbow In The Clouds John MacDuff
The Reformation by Dr Philip Schaff
The Refutatation of Dispensationalism by A W Pink
The Resurrection of Christ Dr J G Machen
The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ John Calvin
The Secret of Blessing DR R A Torrey
The Secret of Blessing DR R A Torrey
The Soul-Shaping Reality of the Gospel: An Interview with David Wells
The Spirit of Rebellion R C Sproul jr
The Study Bible developed and located around the world!
The Tabernacle In The Wilderness by Professor David Heagle
The Testimony of Christ To The Old Testement William Cavan DD
The Theology of John Calvin by DR Philip Schaff
The Theology of Romans by Dr Charles Hodge
The Things of God R.C. Sproul
The Triune God: Good, Beautiful, and True Harry Reeder
The Unholy Pursuit of God in Moby Dick Dr R C Sproul
The Vanity of the world Rev John Newton
The Victory Parade We Don't deserve R C Sproul Jr
The Way of Holiness Jonathan Edwards
The Way The World Thinks DR A Mohler
The Westminster Assembly Project Chad Dixhoorn
The Will of God In Prayer DR A Torrey
The Witness of Paul by Dr J G Machen
The Word Of God B B Warfield
The Work Of The Holy Spirit Dr A Kuyper
The Works Flavius Josephus
The Year in Books Keith Mathison
Theological Articles
Theology in the time of Charlemagne
This Isn’t Going to Be As Easy As It Looks by Keith Mathison
Time to (Re)Discover Hebrews Sinclair Ferguson
To Be Deep in History Keith Mathison
Truly Reformed Theology Burk Parsons
Truth of the Christian Religion in Six Books by Hugo Grotius. Corrected and Illustrated with Notes b
Two Thumbs Down by R.C. Sproul Jr.
United in the (whole) Truth Burk Parsons
Unqualified Christians Burk Parsons
'Uthman and the Recension of the Koran Leon Caetani
Vehicles for Giving the Self: An Interview with Michael Card
Video on the Prosperity gospel John Piper
Video:The Prosperity gospel Pastor John Piper
Video:The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World Dr D. A .Carson
VINCENT'S NT WORD STUDIES
Walking With God George Whitefield
Water of Life John Bunyan
Way to Christ Boehme, Jakob (1575-1624)
We Believe the Bible and You Do Not Keith Mathison
Western Seminary Missions Conference
What is Christianity? Dr J G Machen
What makes the Apostles Creed so special? By Simon Peter Sutherland
When To Pray Dr A Torrey
Who Belongs To The Church? by John Calvin
Who Is My Brother Dr R C Sproul jr
Why Jesus Christ Died Rev T .T. Shields Famous Canadian Preacher
With Passion R C Sproul jr
Work of Jesus Christ John Bunyan
Writing Fo God 's Glory Burk Parson
Young Women,Idolatry and The Powerful Gospel Elyse
神的意思原是好的