In a summary of the patristic notion of the regula fidei in the Trinity Journal (2007), Paul Hartog helpfully stresses that the regulation of the regula was not only linguistic, doctrinal, dogmatic, or methodological. It had also to do with the reader’s disposition:

“Certainly hermeneutical methods were employed, and there were debates between the adherents of differing methods. But what was decisive was an attitude.2 The Christian interpreter does not approach Scripture with a tabula rasa . We believe in one God the Father Almighty, in one Christ Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. If one approaches Scripture with the regulafidei in hand, then one approaches with faith in the heart. According to Irenaeus, the gnostics with their corrosive curiosity recited, ‘Seek and you will find,’ But the faithful knew that on a foundational level ‘the search has ended.’ Although the Hebrew Scriptures are a ‘treasure, hid indeed in a field,’ they have been ‘brought to light’ and ‘explained’ by the cross. Confession of Jesus as the Christ was the result of the kerygma and the presupposition of biblical interpretation. Irenaeus cautioned, ‘If you do not have faith, you will not understand.’”

More on: Hermeneutics