My colleague (Dr. Darian Lockett) and I are almost finished writing a book that we want to read – due to the publisher by January 15, 2012! This is not to say the book is really well written; it is saying, rather, that it is a book that addresses an important and complex topic that we have always wanted help to explore. That topic is Biblical Theology.
We rather suspect that on our ears the term “Biblical Theology” might seem more obvious than it is in actuality. Is not “Biblical Theology” a theology that is characterized by the Bible? Viewed in this light, “Biblical Theology” is a theology that accords with the Bible. While intuitively correct, the problem with this is evident—all forms of Christian theology claim to be based in some way upon the Bible. Whether neo-orthodox theology or Evangelical theology, from Karl Barth to Wayne Grudem, each theologian will declare that their theology is seeking to understand biblical revelation. We might say that Wayne Grudem’s theology is “biblical” in comparison to say, Paul Tillich’s theology, but both in their own way are seeking to understand the Bible and thus articulate a “Biblical Theology.”
The innate complexity of Biblical Theology is what made us crave an exploration of its theory and practice. Hence the book:Understanding Biblical Theology: A Comparison of Theory and Practice (Zondervan). In the book we attempt to break down the plethora of biblical theologies into five types and plot them heuristically so as to make sense of their assumptions regarding the Bible (e.g., history vs. theology, the relation between the Old and New Testaments, its location in the academy or the church). We do this for each of the five types in two ways. First, we define each type by exploring its particular theory of Biblical Theology. Second, we offer an example of a contemporary proponent of that type of Biblical Theology. For example, two of the proponents we posit as representative of a particular type are D. A. Carson and N. T. Wright, both of whom frequently use and refer to “biblical theology” but do so in very different ways.
Writing this book has given us the opportunity to explore the complex issues surrounding the topic of Biblical Theology, allowing us to make sense of the diversity of approaches and methods. We hope the book will also prove useful to readers – fellow students of the Bible and its theology.