While there is no substitute for personal, faithful, and careful Bible reading and prayer, the Bible’s vast size and diversity can make distilling its truth a daunting task. Thus most Christians benefit from supplemental resources to help learn and apply what Scripture teaches. Renowned theologian, Gerald Bray has produced just such a resource in his new biblical theology. Though packed with robust content, he writes about this volume: “the aim … is to reach those who would not normally find systematic theology appealing or even comprehensible.” This volume is unique from others in that Bray traces the common theme of God’s love through the Bible categorically—from God’s love for himself and his creation to the cross as the ultimate expression of God’s love, among other categories. The centrality of God’s love in Bray’s theology reflects a deep conviction that the Bible shows us God for who he really is. This volume is of interest to Christians seeking to grow in their faith.
“If the fundamental principle of our theology is that God is love, then we must start with the divine persons and not with the unity of God’s being. The concept of love implies that there must be someone or something to be loved. Of course it is possible to argue that, even if God were a single person, he would still be self-aware and could love himself, but the biblical idea of love is something more than self-esteem. The love which the Bible speaks about is not a self-centered kind of preening in the mirror, but a concern for others.” (Page 107)
“Our knowledge of God is not rooted in mental constructs, even if they are correct, but in personal experience. That experience is not the result of intellectual deduction from the nature of reality, but is the fruit of an encounter expressed in the Bible as a relationship of faith.1 This faith is more than simple belief because it involves commitment of a kind that is possible only between persons.” (Page 106)
“The first is that the Holy Spirit has given us the revelation of God in written form. The main question we must ask of every biblical text is, what does it tell us about God? What does it say about who he is and about what he does? The second question is, what does this text say about us human beings? What are we meant to be and what has gone wrong? The third and final question is, what has God done about this problem and what does he expect of us in the light of what he has done? Seeking answers to these questions will help us interpret the Spirit’s message to Christ’s people collectively and to each of us as individuals.” (Page 58)