Biblical theology

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Because scholars have tended to use the term in different ways, biblical theology has been notoriously difficult to define.[1]


Although most speak of biblical theology as a particular method or emphasis within biblical studies, some scholars have also used the term in reference to its distinctive content. In this understanding, biblical theology is limited to a collation and restatement of biblical data, without the logical analysis and dialectical correlation between texts that systematic theology emphasizes.[2]

Although the distinction existed prior, the beginning of biblical theology as a significant and separate discipline can be traced to J. P. Gabler’s 1787 address upon his inauguration as professor at the University of Altdorf, when he used the term and called for a separate discipline apart from the dogmatic emphasis of the confessions.[3]

Today, the discipline of biblical theology is often associated with viewpoints that also adhere to a belief in biblical inerrancy and biblical inspiration. While it does engage with the work of philosophy and cultural and personal experience, it gives the Bible priority over each of these other lines of thought. Within this framework, biblical theology has been mostly carried out as either New Testament theology or Old Testament theology.

The work of Gregory Beale, Kevin Vanhoozer, Geerhardus Vos (Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments), Herman Nicolaas Ridderbos (The Coming of the Kingdom), Meredith Kline (Kingdom Prologue) Graeme Goldsworthy (According to Plan, Gospel and Kingdom), and Vaughan Roberts (God's Big Picture) have helped popularize this approach to the Bible.[4] They summarize the message of the Bible as being about "God's people in God's place under God's rule and blessing" (in Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom, Paternoster, 1981).

See also


  1. ^ Carson, D. A. "Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology". In New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by T. Desmond Alexander and Brian S. Rosner. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000, 89.
  2. ^ Carson, D. A. "Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology". In New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Edited by T. Desmond Alexander and Brian S. Rosner. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000, 102.
  3. ^ Gabler, Johann P. "An Oration on the Proper Distinction between Biblical and Dogmatic Theology and the Specific Objectives of Each". In Old Testament Theology: Flowering and Future. Sources for Biblical and Theological Study. Edited by Ben. C. Ollenburger. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2004.
  4. ^ Gaffin, Richard B. J. "Introduction". In Redemptive history and biblical interpretation: The shorter writings of Geerhardus Vos. Edited by Gaffin, Richard B. J. Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co, 1980, p. xiii.

External links

  • The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline - classic definition of Biblical theology by Geerhardus Vos (1894)
  • - writings of Geerhardus Vos, who is sometimes called "the father of Reformed Biblical Theology"
  • Kerux: The Journal of Northwest Theological Seminary - has been printing biblical-theological material in the Calvinistic tradition since 1986
  • Beginning With Moses: The Biblical Theology Briefings - articles, essays and book reviews by various scholars in biblical theology
  • The Reemergence of Biblical Theology: What is Going On? from Catalyst (United Methodist perspective)
  • WWW Biblical Theology Index
  • Biblical and Systematic Theology: A Digest of Reformed Opinion on Their Proper Relationship
  • - Directory of articles on Biblical Theology from the Reformed perspective.
  • What is Biblical Theology? - an article by Rich Lusk on Biblical Theology.
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