In his third book, Irenaeus established the narrative of Christ as proclaimed by the four evangelists to be the canonical center that holds the prophetic scriptures and the apostolic witness together. In the fourth book, Irenaeus demonstrated the harmony between the Old Testament and the Gospels. The prophets are not understood rightly unless they are seen to be members of Christ’s own body and, therefore, icons of his salvific economy. Irenaeus weaves together the prophets and the evangelists into a single mosaic manifesting the beauty of the true king.

Also the remainder of the things, through which I have shown the prophets to have uttered through such a series of scriptures, the truly spiritual will interpret every saying by referring to the specific imprint (R: χαρακτῆρα) of the economy of the Lord, and demonstrate the whole body (integrum corpus, R: τὸ ὁλόκληρον σῶμα) of works belonging to the Son of God, always knowing the same God, and always acknowledging the same Word of God, as he has now been manifested to us, and always the same Spirit of God, as he has been poured upon us in a new way in these last times, even as he has been with the human race from the creation of the world to its end, out of him are those who believe God and, following his Word, they participate in the salvation which comes from him.

(AH iv, 33, 15) From this passage, it is quite evident that, for the bishop of Lyons, the evangelical narrative of Christ is not merely the fulfillment of ancient prophecies; rather, the crucified and risen body of Jesus is the genealogical source from which the prophetic scriptures proceed.