John Calvin's use and hermeneutics of the Old Testament
John Calvin's use of the Old Testament reveals his deep commitment to it. Calvin made use of the Old Testament in all areas of his life and work as a Reformer. However, the continued use of the Old Testament within the Christian Church of the 16th Century was not without its problems. Calvin discerned in the approach to the Old Testament taken by the Anabaptists and the Roman Catholics what he saw as a 'Judaizing' tendency. Calvin's own approach and understanding of the Old Testament was shaped by his confrontation with these groups and his perception of their 'Judaizing' of the Old Testamegt. His Old Testament hermeneutics were in part an attempt to appropriate the Old Testament for the Christian Church. For Calvin the Old Testament belongs to the Christian Church because Christ is present in it. Hence Calvin's fundamental hermeneutical goal is to read the Old Testament with the aim of finding Christ. This goal, however, does not lead Calvin into an allegorical method of Old Testament exegesis. On the contrary, Calvin repudiates allegory and adheres tenaciously to the literal meaning of the Old Testament as discovered by a grammatical-historical form of exegesils. Calvin's historical-grammatical exegesis, however, seems A be in tension with his hermeneutical presupposition of reading the Old Testament with the aim of finding Christ there. This tension is overcome by the twin ideas of accommodation and typology which in Calvin's Old Testament Hermeneutics form a bridge between his christological hermeneutical goal and his exegetical method. Calvin's doctrine of the unity of the two Testaments can be seen to be in full harmony with his Old Testament hermeneutics and is in fact their quintessence. Thus for Calvin the Old Testament is emphatically Scripture for the Church of Christ.