Scope, in this sense, refers to the center or target of the entire canonical revelation; it is that to which the entire Bible points. And whatever that is, it must condition our interpretation of any and every part of Scripture. For the covenant theologians of the seventeenth century, the scope of Scripture was the glory of God in the redemptive work of the incarnate Son of God. Their view of the scope of Scripture was itself a conclusion from Scripture, not a presupposition brought to Scripture and it conditioned all subsequent interpretation.
William Ames: “The Old and New Testaments are reducible to these two primary heads. The Old promises Christ to come and the New testifies that he has come” (Ames, Marrow, 202).
John Owen: “Christ is…the principal end of the whole of Scripture…” (Owen, I:74). “This principle is always to be retained in our minds in reading of the Scripture,–namely, that the revelation and doctrine of the person of Christ and his office, is the foundation whereon all other instructions of the prophets and apostles for the edification of the church are built, and whereunto they are resolved… So our Lord Jesus Christ himself at large makes it manifest, Luke xxiv. 26, 27, 45, 46. Lay aside the consideration hereof, and the Scriptures are no such thing as they pretend unto,–namely, a revelation of the glory of God in the salvation of the church…” (Owen, I:314-15).
Nehemiah Coxe: “…in all our search after the mind of God in the Holy Scriptures we are to manage our inquiries with reference to Christ” (Coxe/Owen, 33).
In conclusion, their Christocentric interpretation of the Bible was a principle derived from the Bible itself and an application of sola Scripturae to the issue of hermeneutics. The Bible’s authority extends to how we interpret the Bible. In other words, they saw the authority of Scripture applicable to the interpretation of Scripture.Richard Barcellos Grace Reformed Baptist Church Palmdale, CA www.grbcav.org .