The book has several strengths. It is strong in focusing on Christ as the hermeneutical key of Scripture (Luke 24:27, 44), and even reality. “The principles of hermeneutics are to be found within the Scriptures themselves,” the author writes (22). These matters are often not considered enough in standard hermeneutics texts, and we certainly need to pay attention to these areas. In addition, proper hermeneutics are part of our sanctification. A good overview detailing the eclipse of the Gospel in hermeneutics is given. The Gospel can be obscured by alien influences and wrong presuppositions in our hermeneutics, so we should be careful to know what our foundation is.
The reader should also be aware of the author’s view on literal interpretation. He does not see support for a literal fulfillment of the promises of restoration of Israel and even asserts that this was an error in those to whom Jesus spoke (170). Related to this is Goldsworthy’s amillennial eschatology (224-225, cf. 82). (Vaughan Roberts shares this viewpoint, as well as thinking that the interpretation of the days in Genesis as literal twenty-four hour days or long ages is inconsequential, a point I must take issue with!)
Despite these caveats, the book is still a worthwhile read, but I would not recommend it for everyone. The trained pastor or scholar will be challenged and benefit from Goldsworthy’s ideas. Whether or not one agrees with everything, this is a useful book for thinking through hermeneutical theory. Certainly we need to come to grips with a Scriptural philosophy of hermeneutics and a way to rightly see the relation of the Bible’s unity to its diversity. However, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics would not make a great hermeneutics textbook by itself.
For other opinions on the book, check out: