Isn’t Biblical theology just theology that is … Biblical?
As a pastor attempting to define the term “Biblical theology,” I’ve too-often bungled the explanation. Folks walk away glad to know their pastor isn’t one of those “unBiblical theology” liberal pastors.
Well, though I’m not one of those liberal pastors, that isn’t really what “Biblical theology” is all about.
In a new book by James Hamilton, professor of Biblical theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the pastor and layman can together gain clarity in what “Biblical theology” means. More importantly, it is the Bible itself which comes anew to the heart and mind of Christians who use tools like Hamilton has given to the church.
“To summarize, by the phrase Biblical theology I mean the interpretive perspective reflected in the way the Biblical authors have presented their understanding of earlier Scripture, redemptive history, and the events they are describing, recounting, celebrating, or addressing in narratives, poems, proverbs, letters and apocalypses.”
If some of this sounds familiar, it is because a dozen great works on Biblical theology have come forth in the last decade alone. Because there is a lot of ground to cover, these books are heavyweights — often too intimidating for the average Christian.
That’s where Hamilton’s new release fills a gap, by giving the church a brief (126 pages), clear and lively-worded introduction to Biblical theology.
What I really appreciate about Hamilton — the man and his book — his motivation is upfront and clear. He wants to help Christians know and love God better by knowing and loving the story of the Bible better. Hear Hamilton’s heart:
“Biblical theology is an attempt to get out of this world into another. We might call it a bridge; we might call it a rocket. The point is that we’re trying to get our minds and hearts out of worldliness and into the Bible’s symbolic universe. Caution: don’t think that studying Biblical theology is going to do this for you. The best way to learn Biblical theology, the best way to get yourself out of the world’s way of thinking and into the Bible’s is to study the Bible itself. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Read the Bible. A lot.”
Pastors, isn’t this what we desire for our congregations? Parents, isn’t this what we desire for our children? That they would know God more by knowing His Word … and taking this Word by faith?