The Early Rule-of-Faith Pattern as Emergent Biblical Theology

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This article discusses the Rule of Faith (regula fidei) as a normative hermeneutical tool that promotes the textual and theological unity of the Old and New Testament Scriptures. It is argued that the close connection between the Rule of Faith and scriptural interpretation in Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria and other early church teachers may be understood as expressions of an incipient biblical theology. Two editorial characteristics of Christian Scripture appear to be linked to this notion of regula fidei: the triadic system of nomina sacra (“God,” “Jesus” and “Spirit” written in contracted form) and the bipartite OT–NT arrangement. Such textual–interpretative features, as well as creedal and ritual practices associated with baptism, are presented as integral to the early church’s Rule, or Rule-of-Faith pattern of biblical reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-75
Number of pages19
Issue number1 (Suppl.)
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2015


  • Rule of Faith
  • regula fidei
  • baptismal teaching
  • Irenaeus
  • Clement of Alexandria
  • creed
  • nomina sacra
  • biblical theology


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