n Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship = Koers : Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap - The Triune God who speaks : Calvin's theological hermeneutics : research article

Volume 66, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0023-270X
  • E-ISSN: 2304-8557



The Triune God who speaks : Calvin's theological hermeneutics

The purpose of this article is to make a contribution to the theme of "Calvin as servant of the Word" by exploring some hermeneutical implications of Calvin's theological commitment to the doctrine of God as Triune. In doing so, it seeks to follow a hermeneutical principle Calvin himself held, that Biblical interpretation had to pass through three distinct but related phases; exegesis (represented by his commentaries), dogmatics (represented by the Institutes), and preaching (represented by his sermons). For Calvin, if any of these phases were omitted, the text would not be interpreted properly, and the message of Scripture would not rightly be applied to the life of the church. The place and importance of the doctrine of the Trinity in Calvin's theology (often neglected in Calvin scholarship) are first explored, followed by displaying the importance Calvin attached to the integration of doctrine into the hermeneutical process (often disregarded by modern-day exegetes), and finally, all three phases of the interpretational process are brought to bear on Calvin's sermonic treatment of John 1:1-5. Through expository preaching of the Scriptures, hermeneutics finds its completion, and believers will have a personal encounter with God. As such, Calvin will be shown to be a most excellent servant of the Word.

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