This monumental work is the first comprehensive biblical theology to appear in many years and is the culmination of Brevard Childs’ lifelong commitment to constructing a biblical theology that surmounts objections to the discipline raised over the past generation.
Childs rejects any approaches that overstress either the continuity or discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments. He refuses to follow the common pattern in Christian thought of identifying biblical theology with the New Testament’s interest in the Old. Rather, Childs maps out an approach that reflects on the whole Christian Bible with its two very different voices, each of which retains continuing integrity and is heard on its own terms.
The problems that arise for such an approach can only, he argues, be resolved by theological reflection that moves from a description of the biblical witnesses to the reality toward which they point. This leads him to deal with complex theological and philosophical issues that have often been neglected in biblical theology and that give this book its exceptional richness.
After introductory chapters outlining the history of biblical theology and the search for a new approach, Childs examines in detail the witnesses of both Old and New Testaments. He then offers examples of exegesis in the context of biblical theology from both Testaments before presenting an extended theological reflection on the major themes of the Christian Bible: the identity of God, God the Creator, the covenant, Christ the Lord, reconciliation, law and gospel, humanity old and new, biblical faith, God’s kingdom and rule, and ethics. The volume ends with an account of a holistic reading of Christian Scripture.
Essential for students, scholars, pastors, and laypeople, this informative volume brings fresh perspectives on theological matters. With the Logos Bible Software edition, searching by topic or Scripture references will further help your understanding—you’ll compare, for example, the biblical theologies of various scholars or denominations.
“Actually Paul’s letters are filled with specific commands which are directed to the concrete problems of Christian daily life. They touch in detail on sexual morality (1 Cor. 7:1ff.), marriage and divorce (7:1ff.), food laws (8:1ff.), legal disputes between members (6:1ff.; 1 Cor. 9:3ff.), treatment of a slave (Philemon 1:4ff.), and even proper dress (1 Cor. 11:2ff.). To dismiss these concrete examples of specific imperatives as bourgeois moralism is fundamentally to misunderstand Paul. Rather it is in the concrete that the law of Christ is performed.” (Page 697)
“The role of the Bible is not being understood simply as a cultural expression of ancient peoples, but as a testimony pointing beyond itself to a divine reality to which it bears witness.” (Page 9)
“It has long been recognized that the term ‘Biblical Theology’ is ambiguous. It can either denote a theology contained within the Bible, or a theology which accords with the Bible (Ebeling, ‘The Meaning’, 79). The first definition understands the task of Biblical Theology to be a descriptive, historical one which seeks to determine what was the theology of the biblical authors themselves. The second understands the task of Biblical Theology to be a constructive, theological one which attempts to formulate a modern theology compatible in some sense with the Bible. From one perspective the entire modern history of the discipline of Biblical Theology can be interpreted as the effort to distinguish between these two definitions and to explore the important implications of the distinction.” (Page 3)
A significant contribution to the field of biblical theology . . . offers a text-oriented approach to theology.