What is the central theme of the Bible? Given the diversity of authorship, genre, and context of the Bible’s various books, is it even possible to answer such a question? Or in trying to do so, is an external grid being unnaturally superimposed on the biblical text? These are difficult questions that the discipline of biblical theology has struggled to answer. In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of his classic Toward an Old Testament Theology, Walter Kaiser offers a solution to these unresolved issues. He proposes that there is indeed a unifying center to the theology and message of the Bible that is indicated and affirmed by Scripture itself. That center is the promise of God. It is one all-encompassing promise of life through the Messiah that winds itself throughout salvation history in both the Old and New Testaments, giving cohesiveness and unity to the various parts of Scripture.
After laying out his proposal, Kaiser works chronologically through the books of both testaments, demonstrating how the promise is seen throughout, how the various sub-themes of each book relate to the promise, and how God’s plan to fulfill the promise progressively unfolds. Here is a rich and illuminating biblical theology that will stir the emotion and the intellect.
“9. The New Testament writers make a strong connection between the promise and a number of other doctrines.” (Page 24)
“8. The New Testament writers teach that the promise of God is operating eternally and is irrevocable.” (Page 23)
“The theology of the whole book of Genesis is centered around the goodness of God in extending his ‘blessings’ of the promise-plan so generously all the way from creation to the choice of Abraham’s line to be the means by which God would bless the nations of the world with his gift of the good news. The word for the promise-plan of God that dominates the theology of Genesis is blessing, a word that occurs in both its verbal and nominal form some 88 times in the whole book of Genesis.” (Page 35)
“Traditionally, evangelicalism has seen two major proposals for locating a ‘unity of perspective’ between the two Testaments: the Covenantal, also called the Reformed view, and the Dispensational perspective.” (Pages 25–26)
“The content of this promise was basically threefold: a ‘seed,’ a ‘land,’ and a ‘blessing to all the nations of the earth’ of the gospel.” (Page 54)
Walter C. Kaiser (1933–) is an evangelical Old Testament scholar, writer, speaker, and educator. He earned degrees from Wheaton College and Brandeis University.
Kaiser taught Bible and archaeology at Wheaton College and taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in several capacities. He currently serves as the Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2006 retired as their President.
Kaiser has contributed to numerous publications like Journal for the Study of Old Testament and Westminster Theological Journal. He has also written over 30 books including Toward an Exegetical Theology and A History of Israel: From the Bronze Age through the Jewish Wars.