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Introduction to BiblicalTheology: Lecture 15 - Dr. Thomas Schreiner

Introduction to BiblicalTheology: Lecture 15 - Dr. Thomas Schreiner

What is Biblical Theology and Do We Need It?

"The term biblical theology is used differently by different people. But as I use it, it has two or three different foci.

Book by Book

In one focus, you work really carefully with each biblical book or corpus by corpus. I mean something like the John corpus (John, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Revelation) or the synoptic corpus (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) or the Pauline corpus or something like that. You work carefully with each particular book or corpus to make sure you understand what God is saying through that corpus at that time in history with their words, vocabulary, and so on, before you ask what contributions they make to the entire canon. In other words, biblical theology is interested in the careful exegesis of individual books and corpora within the canon and their place in the progress of redemption, not because it wants to despise systematic theology or canonical theology or big-picture theology, but because it insists that, if you don’t ask those kinds of questions, you can sometimes blur over distinctions that God himself has placed in Scripture and miss connections that are a bit different.

Even the most casual reader of Scripture knows that John’s vocabulary is not the same as Matthew’s. And Paul’s vocabulary is not the same as Peter’s in 1 Peter. And their emphases are a bit different and so on. They are mutually complementary. They tie together, but if you work only at the canonical or systemic level, then there tends to be a very important set of inferences about what the whole Bible teaches that is right, but sometimes at the expense of listening carefully to the particular emphases of particular biblical books.

And ideally, a good preacher will not only handle the individual texts at hand but show how this text at hand (not in every sermon, but in some sermons) is tied to the book or corpus in question, and then is tied to the whole Christian confessional stance. Now that is one form of biblical theology. And from this form comes New Testament theology and Old Testament theology and so on.." from the article: What is Biblical Theology and Do We Need It?

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