10. Is a “grammatical-historical hermeneutic” different from a “Christ-centered hermeneutic”?

According to Martin Luther, who led the return to a grammatical-historical hermeneutic, there was no difference whatsoever between that and the “hermeneutic of Christ”; in fact, his grammatical-historical hermeneutic was, in his own words, simply the interpretation that “drives home Christ”. Or, as he elsewhere expressed it, “He who would read the Bible must simply take heed that he does not err, for the Scripture may permit itself to be stretched and led, but let no one lead it according to his own inclinations but let him lead it to its source, that is, the cross of Christ. Then he will surely strike the center.” In other words, all the teaching of the bible is intended to point the way to the Cross of Calvary, which is its great climax, and that apart from which nothing makes sense or can be understood.

This means that a grammatical-historical hermeneutic is not antagonistic to typology; and demands that the bible be read, in every part, as an eminently Christian document. Unfortunately, many Christians today miss this point, and think that the Old Testament is primarily about Israel, and only contains a few prophecies about Christ, scattered here and there. To see Christ in anything other than an explicit prophecy is “allegorizing,” and is thus a breach of the grammatical-historical hermeneutic. In reality, this is a naturalistic, or literalizing hermeneutic, and certainly not the hermeneutic of the reformers, who taught, with very good reason, that a proper hermeneutic sees Christ displayed everywhere, foreshadowed, typified, promised, and prepared for in the Old Testament, and bringing all its mysteries and hidden gospel-treasures to light in his life and accomplishment in the New Testament. In other words, to quote the Church Father Augustine,
“The Old [Testament] is in the New revealed, the New is in the Old concealed”.

Monergism Copyright © 2008