Is Hermeneutics an Art or a Science?

Written by Josiah Nichols

April 30, 2024

Free Art Watercolors photo and picture

Hermeneutics is an art and a science.

Is hermeneutics an art or a science? This question stumps some people when it comes to interpreting literature. Therefore, it is appropriate to answer this question by examining both the art and the science side of biblical interpretation. The short answer is hermeneutics is both an art and a science.

Hermeneutics an Art

When one examines the art of interpretation, one must realize why it is an art. Looking at hermeneutics as an art, one must realize the rules are flexible when interpreting literature. The art side of interpreting literature shows a text must be treated with nuance. For example, poetry conveys meanings through symbolism, illustration, metaphors, and repetition. However, each piece of poetry is different from other poetry. So, each piece must be examined by itself.

Psalm 1, for example, is a wisdom psalm extolling the virtues of using God’s Law as the rule for one’s life. Yet, it is unique in that it parallels a blessed man as a tree with a wicked man as a chaff. The reader needs to know what these images mean when reading the passage.

Hermeneutics a Science

Iit is also important to understand the science behind hermeneutics. When one calls interpretation a science, it means there are rules to interpreting literature. The most important rule in interpretation is to examine the context. The context examines the surrounding passages, the historical situation of the author, the book itself, and the audience. The context also refers to the genre of the passage: such as poetry, historical narrative, prophecy, etc. Therefore, the second rule of interpretation is to find the author’s original intent. This is why the reader needs to examine the grammar and wording of the text as well. When these rules are kept in mind, one will come closer to the author’s original intent.


Is hermeneutics an art or a science? The answer is yes. It is both an art and a science. Therefore, we all need to understand the rules of interpreting literature and examine each text individually. When we keep these principles in mind, understanding is much easier. Hermeneutics, when properly applied, is extremely beneficial to the interpreter.

More From Striving for Eternity

More from Striving for Eternity

If you want more information on studying the Bible and how to interpret it correctly, check out the store section at There are tons of resources to help you get started on your journey to interpreting the Bible better. Also invite Andrew Rappaport and Aaron M. Brewster to come to your church and teach you biblical interpretation with their Biblical Interpretation Made Easy Seminar. Andrew Rappaport, Aaron M. Brewster, and other guests on Apologetics live would also enjoy answering your questions on the live show on Thursdays from 7pm–9pm CST with the link to the stream yard at Lord bless you and strive to make today and eternal day for Christ Jesus.

You May Also Like…