The Necessity of Biblical Theology

Just finished The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen.

I the loved the authors’ call for Biblical theology, reading the Bible along its narrative as opposed to just Systematic Theology, proof texting, etc.

We must resist the temptation to read the Scriptures as if they were a religious flea market, with a basket of history and old doctrines here, a shelf full of pious stories there, promises and commands scattered from one end to the other. Some readers of the Bible turn it into little more than an anthology of proof texts assembled to support a system of theology. Others seek only ethical guidance, ransacking the Old Testament for stories of moral instruction. Still others look just for inspirational or devotional messages, for comforting promises and lessons for daily living. The result may be that we lose sight of the Bible’s essential unity and instead find only those theological, moral, devotional, or historical fragments we are looking for.


The world of the Bible is our world, and its story of redemption is also our story. This story is waiting for an ending—in part because we ourselves have a role to play before all is concluded. We must therefore pay attention to the continuing biblical story of redemption. (page 196)


The first part of the book was amazing as the authors depicted the history of Israel in a concise and engaging manner. The end was disappointing as the authors mistakenly take the Gospel and impose it to include and encompass cosmic restoration, instead of cosmic restoration in Christ being the implication and trajectory of the Gospel. This deficient is likely attributed to the influence of NT Wright and the reconfiguration of Justification from soteriology to ecclesiology. Something I’ll blog on more when I get the chance.

Nevertheless I agree with their view of salvation, though it should be more carefully nuanced.

John’s vision in Revelation, indeed, in the whole New Testament, does not depict salvation as an escape from earth into a spiritualized heaven where human souls dwell forever. Instead, John is shown (and shows us in turn) that salvation is the restoration of God’s creation on a new earth. In this resorted world, the redeemed of God will live in resurrected bodies within a reviewed creation, from which sin and its effects have been expunged. This is the kingdom that Christ’s followers have already begun to enjoy in foretaste. (page 211)


Overall, it’s a very usefully and concise Biblical theology, as I heartedly recommend it despite disagreeing with some of it.



About adoption through propitiation

I like theology. And I love my wife Katie. Enjoy my blog. View all posts by adoption through propitiation

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