Monday, December 07, 2009
Ignatius of Antioch on Interpretation
Ignatius of Antioch was likely trained by the Apostles themselves. He had the unenviable task of shepherding the church after the Apostles were gone. A controversy arose in which Christians were debating the proper interpretation of the Old Testament Scriptures (which they refered to as the archives). Some people were arguing with Ignatius' proclamation that Jesus was the subject and controlling hermeneutic of the Old Testament:
Ignatius Letter to the Philladelphians 8:2-9:2 -
"I urge you do nothing in a spirit of contentiousness, but in accordance with the teaching of Christ. For I heard some people say, "If I do not find it in the archives, I do not believe it in the gospel." And when I said to them, "It is written," they answered, "That is precisely the question." But for me, the 'archives' are Jesus Christ, the unalterable archives are His cross and death and His resurrection and the faith comes through Him; by these things I want, through your prayers, to be justified.
The priests, too, were good, but the High Priest, entrusted with the Holy of Holies, is better; He alone has been entrusted with the hidden things of God, for He Himself is the door of the Father, through which Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and the prophets and the apostles and the church enter in.. All these come together in the unity of God. But the gospel possesses something distinctive, namely, the coming of the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, His suffering, and the resurrection. For the beloved prophets preached in anticipation of Him, but the gospel is the imperishable finished work. All these things together are good, if you believe with love."