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Creeds and Confessions
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics
Articles of Affirmation and Denial
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
WE AFFIRM that as Christ is God and Man in one Person, so Scripture is,
indivisibly, God's Word in human language.
WE AFFIRM that the person and work of Jesus Christ are the central
focus of the entire Bible.
WE AFFIRM that the Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture acts through it
today to work faith in its message.
WE AFFIRM that the Holy Spirit enables believers to appropriate and
apply Scripture to their lives.
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
WE AFFIRM that the meaning expressed in each biblical text is single,
definite, and fixed.
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 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 AFFIRM that Scripture communicates God's truth to us verbally
through a wide variety of literary forms.
WE AFFIRM that translations of the text of Scripture can communicate
knowledge of God across all temporal and cultural boundaries.
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 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 AFFIRM that the biblical record of events, discourses and sayings,
though presented in a variety of appropriate literary forms, corresponds
to historical fact.
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 AFFIRM that legitimate critical techniques should be used in
determining the canonical text and its meaning.
WE AFFIRM the unity, harmony, and consistency of Scripture and declare
that it is its own best interpreter.
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 necessarily involves the intention of God evidenced in the fulfillment
of those words.
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 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 AFFIRM the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore
of biblical teaching with the facts of nature.
WE AFFIRM that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book.
WE AFFIRM the clarity of Scripture and specifically of its message
about salvation from sin.
WE AFFIRM that a person is not dependent for understanding of Scripture
on the expertise of biblical scholars.
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.