Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Ryrie, Char Charles les Cald Caldw well, 192 19255Biblical theology theology of the New Testament / Charles Charles C. Ryrie. - Rev. Rev. ed. Includes bibliographical references and indexes. ISBN 1-59387-003-5 1. Bib Bible. le. N.T .T.-Th .-Theolo eology gy.. I. I.Title Title.. BS2397.R9 1998 230'.0415-dc21 98-10549
Printed in the United States of America
CONTENTS PREFACE ..........................................................................7 HAT T IS BIBLICAL THEOLOGY? .. INTRODUCTION: WHA .... .... .... .... .... .... ..9 9 PART I THE SYNOPTIC THEOLOGY
1. INTRODUCTORY MATTERS ..............................................25 2. THE CHR HRIS IST TOL OLOG OGY Y OF TH THE E S YNOPTICS ..........................35 3. THE ESC SCHA HAT TOL OLOG OGY Y OF TH THE E S YNOPTICS ..........................65 PART II THE THEOLOGY OF ACTS ACTS 1. BACKGROUND ................................................................89 2. THE PHI HILO LOSO SOPH PHY Y OF TH THE E PLAN OF ACTS ........................93 3. THE THEO EOLO LOGY GY OF ACTS ................................................99 PART III THE THEOLOGY OF JAMES 1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ..........................................121 2. THE THEOLOGY OF THE EPISTLE ..................................125 PAR ART T IV THE THEOLOGY OF PAUL 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
PREPARATORY QUESTIONS ............................................139 THE DOCT CTR RIN INE E OF GOD ..............................................153 SIN AND SALVATION ......................................................165 THE DOCT CTR RINE OF THE CHURCH ................................173 THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ....................................................187
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ..........................................207 THEOLOGY PROP OPER ER AN AND D CHRISTOLOGY ......................213 THE PRI RIES ESTH THOO OOD D OF CHRIST ......................................223 THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ....................................................233 PART VI VI THE THEOLOGY OF PETER AND AND JUDE
1. THE THEO EOLO LOGY GY OF PETER ............................................243 2. THE THEO EOLO LOGY GY OF JUDE ..............................................265 PAR ART T VI VIII THE THEOLOGY OF JOHN 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
INTRODUCTION ............................................................275 HIS IST TOR ORIC ICAL AL AN AND D CRITICAL BACKGROUND ....................277 THEOLOGY PROPER ....................................................289 THE DOCT CTR RIN INE E OF SALVATION ....................................305 ESCHATOLOGY ..............................................................317 CONCLUSION ................................................................335 ENDNOTES ....................................................................339 WORKS CITED ..............................................................357 SELECTED LIST OF NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGIES ......................................................................365 BASIC REFERENCE WORKS FOR THE STUDY OF NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY ........................367 SUBJECT INDEX ............................................................371 SCRIPTURE INDEX ........................................................373
his book is the product of preparing and teaching courses in Biblical theology.When I first began to teach in a department of systematic theology at the seminary level in 1954, I was assigned electives electives in Biblical theology simply simpl y because those wer weree the only electiv el ectives es availavailable to the new new teach teacher er in the the department. department. Prior to my my coming, coming, only two courses had been offered in Biblical theology—one covering covering all of Old Testament Biblical theology and the other cov cover ering ing New Testament Biblical theology as a whole.Af whole.After ter I came,additional came, additional courses courses were were develdeveloped and in time I taught all of them. Who is better be tter qualified quali fied to teach and wr write ite New Testament Biblical Biblica l theology: an exegete or a theologian? There is no general answer to that question, for so much depends on the training training and qualifications of the individual involv involved. ed. Biblical theology is related to the disciplines of both. In my my graduate studies abro abroad ad I took took Biblical Biblical theology theology courses taught by by a pro professor fessor of New New Testame estament nt exegesis.And exegesis.And I taught Biblica Biblicall theology when I was a professor of systematic theology. Nevert Nev ertheless heless the question que stion prompted a small smal l surve sur vey y of New Testament Biblical Biblical theologies. theologies. Older ones seem to be written by theolotheologians gia ns (for (for exam exampl plee, Be Beys ysch chla lag, g, Wei eiss ss,, Sc Schm hmid id,, Van Oos Ooste terz rzee ee,, an and d Stevens), Stev ens), while more recent ones seem to be written wr itten by New Testament scholars scholars (for example example,, Ke Kenned nnedy y, Moffatt Moffatt,, Ste Stewa wart, rt, Guth Guthrie, rie, Morris, and the New Testament facul faculty ty [with [wit h one exclusion] e xclusion] of Dallas Dall as Theological Seminary). Ho Howe wev ver er,, there are exceptio exceptions; ns; for example example,, Stauffer and I, theologians, wer weree among the more more recent writers.T writers. Two authors authors 7
BASIC THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
were designated professors of Biblical theolo were theology: gy: Geerhardus Vos and W. Robert Cook. George E. Ladd is professor of New Testament and theology,, perhaps the ideal combination. theology My book was first published published by Moody Press Press in 1959, some years years before the appearance of a number of works by other evangelicals: for example example,, McDonald McDonald’’s (1972), (1972),Lehman’ Lehman’ss (1974), (1974),Ladd’ Ladd’ss (1974), (1974),Cook’ Cook’ss (1979) (19 79),, Gut Guthrie’ hrie’ss (1981 (1981), ), Mo Morr rris’ is’ss (1986 (1986), ), and Dal Dallas las The Theolo ologica gicall Seminary’ Semi nary’ss (1993). This increa increased sed interest interest is welcome welcome,, for Biblical Biblical theology furnishes a perspective on the Scriptures that other disciplines do not. The editor of the original edition of my book was my longtime friend, Dr Dr.. Ho Howa ward rd F.V F.Vos, os, who made many many helpful suggestio suggestions. ns. I am very grateful to ECS Ministries for undertaking the republication republication of the book. book. It has has only been been slightly slightly re revise vised, d, simpl simply y because because for for the most part part my mind has not not changed changed concerning concerning the emphase emphasess and interpretations in the original. Biblical Theology of the New Testament is to be used with a Bible always alw ays and with commentaries frequently. frequently. My hope is that the book will give the reader a new appreciation appreciation of the authors, circum circumstances, stances, and writings of the New Testament and will help help the preacher preacher or teacher present Bible doctrine in a unique and appealing way.
WHAT IS BIBLICAL THEOLOGY?
he approach of Biblical theology to the Scriptures is unique.
Biblical theology theology is not systematic systematic theology or exegesis; exegesis; nor is it merely a different arranging of the same material. material. Rather it is a combination bina tion that that is partly historical, historical, partly exegeti exegetical, cal, partly critical, critical, partly theologica theological, l, and there thereby by totall totally y distincti distinctiv ve. Bib Biblical lical theolo theology gy is concerned with the reason something was written as well as with the content of of what was was written. It not only examines examines the product, product, but also investigates the procedures and presuppositions that went into the writing of the Scriptures. Such a study is rewarding.The Word of God is seen in the manner in which it was revealed—progressiv revealed—progressively ely.. The whole is traced in the way God ga gav ve the Bib Bible— le—part part by part part.The .The perspe perspecti ctiv ve is that that of the historical setting in which the truth came.The theology of the Bible Bib le emerges emerges out out of the though thoughts ts of the the writers as seen in in their their writings writi ngs;; it is nev never superimp superimpose osed d on those those writings writings.. Ind Indeed eed the the approach of Biblical theology furnishes the best way to preach and teach doctrine, for through through it people will will realize that theology is a part of the very fabric of the Bible itself and not something that has been forced upon it or read read into it. The reward reward of studying the progress of revelation part by part will be to see the Scriptures in a detailed naturalness of beauty that Biblical theology theology alone can bring br ing out. 9
BASIC THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
The term Biblical theology then must have a very specific meaning since it stands for such a distinctive method of Bible study. How Ho wev ever er,, the term is not alwa always ys so understood understood,, for it can also also be used in a general general way way.. It could could indicate indicate any any theology theology that is based based on the Bible. Bible. Yet if what has has been said abov above is true, the term must havee a more particular meaning.Thus hav meaning. Thus our first task is to formulate for mulate an exact definition definit ion and understand under stand the concepts concept s involved involved in that definition of Biblical theology.
I. DEFINITION OF BIBLICAL THEOLOGY Biblical theology is the branch of theological science that deals systematically with the historically-conditioned progress of the selfrev re velation of God, as deposited in the the Bible. Bible. Biblical theology theology is not not always alw ays defined defined thus, nor has it alw always ays been been applied to the the same branch of theological theological science. In Pietistic circles circles it denoted a more more popular (as opposed to scholastic or ecclesiastical) presentation of the doctrines of Christianity. Christianity. In other circles circles the term is taken to mean the early creed of apostolic Christianity Chr istianity in contrast contras t to the later develdevelopment of doctrine in the history of the church.1 Mo Morre rec ecen entl tly y with the rise of evangelical evangelical Bible schools, schools, Biblical theology theology has come to stand for any any theology that that claims to be based solely on the the Bible. Bible. In other words, words, this popular notion notion makes makes Biblical theology theology that that which emphasizes the revelational nature of Christianity while minimizing or ignoring rational or philosophical aspects.Though such a theology theolog y may be Biblical, it is not necessarily necessar ily Biblical theology. theology. If Biblical theology is the branch of theological science that deals systematically with the historicall historically-conditioned y-conditioned progress progress of revelation as deposi deposited ted in the the Bible Bible,, it has four four major major chara characte cteristic ristics. s. First First,, the results of its inv investigations estigations must be presented in a systematic form. In this, Bibli Biblical cal theolo theology gy is lik likee any other branch of theolo theological gical science science.. Howe Ho wev ver, to say that Biblical theology must be systematized is not to identify it with systematic theology theology,, but it is to say that whatever it is, it is not formulated in an unsystematic manner.This first characteristic,, thoug tic though h a necessary necessa ry one, is not atheology distinguishing distinguis hingdistinguish one. one. The second feature of Biblical does it from 10
Introduction: What Is Biblical Theology?
other Biblical studies. studies. Biblical theology theology pays careful careful attention to the fact that revelation was embodied in history and communicated through thr ough men. men. It is not, not, ho how wev ever er,, mer merely ely a historical historical scienc science, e, nor are are its investigations only of historical circumstances.2 Neither is this historical emphasis, major as it is in Biblical Biblical theology theology,, a minimizing minimizing of the fact that although rev revelation elation may may have have been conditioned by by historic his torical al circ circum umsta stance nces, s, it is giv given in wor words ds (see (see 1 Corin Corinthi thians ans 2:13). Nev Nevertheless, ertheless, in inv vestigation into into the lives lives of the various various writers wr iters of Scripture, Scripture, into the circumst circumstances ances that compelled compelled them to write, and into the historic situation of the recipients of their letters will aid immeasurably our understanding of the doctrine revealed in the words they wrote.This study of the historic conditioning of doctrine is a major emphasis of Biblical theology. The third third feature of Biblical Biblical theology theology is also a distinguishin distinguishing g one, one, for it concerns the progressiv progressiveness eness of rev revelation. Biblical theology theology investigates the progress of doctrine not only as it was revealed by various writers of the Bible, but also in its different different stages of develdevelopment. It is obvious but too little recognized recognized that what we now now call the completed revelation of the Bible was not given all at once. Neither was was it given given uniformly, uniformly, for God chose chose to give give differing amounts to different men in various periods of human history. Revelation Rev elation was not completed in one act, but was unfolded in a long series of successive acts and through the minds and hands of many men of varying backgrounds. backgrounds. This characteristic of Biblical theology—pres gy—p resenti enting ng the progr progress ess of doctrine—re doctrine—repre present sents, s, so to speak, speak, a theistic view view of rev revelation as contrasted contrasted with a deistic view view,, for Biblical theology recognizes the fact that God’s work of revelation was not completed all at once and then left to run its own course. Biblical theology then is a very profitable method of studying the Word of God, for it views the text in the same way in which it was written.Y writt en.Years ago Bernar Bernard d in hi hiss most most valu valuab able le work work,, The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament, emphasized the importance of this approach appro ach to the Scriptures. He said:
Into all our parishes and all our missions the thousands of evangelists, pastors, past ors, and teachers teachers are sent sent forth with the Bible Bible placed placed in their 11
BASIC THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT hands, and with solemn solemn charges to draw from its its pages the the Gospel which they they preach. preach. But when those those pages are opened, opened, they present present,, not the exposition of a revelation revelation completed, but the records of a revelation revelation in progres progress. s. Its parts and and features features are are seen, not as arranged arranged after their their development, dev elopment, but as arranging themselves in the course of their develdevelopment,, and growing, opment growing,thr through ough stages stages which can be marked, marked, and by accesaccessions which can be measured, into the perfect form which they attain at las ast. t.3
The fourth characteristic of Biblical theology theology is that its source of doctrine is the Bible.This is not to rule out the use of historical facts that may may come from from other sources, sources, but it is to affirm that the doctrine to be systematized is found in the words words of the Bible. Bible. Not all writerss on this writer this subject accept the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures as well as their authority, authority, as does the author of this book, but all do recognize recognize that Biblical Biblical theology theology is not concerned with any any other means of rev revelation than that that which is found in the Bible. Bible.
II. RELATION OF BIBLICAL THEOLOGY TO OTHER BIBLICAL STUDIES The validity of the definition above is further substantiated by comparing Biblical theology with the other branches of theological science. A. I TS TS R R ELATION ELATION TO A APOLOGETICS
Biblical theology assumes the results of the discipline of apologetics and builds upon upon them. Ob Obviously viously the kind of results results that are assumed will make make a great deal of difference. difference.The The present present writer believ believes that apologetics apologetics has confirmed, confirmed, among other other things, the case for theism; theism; supernatural miracles; miracles; and verbal, verbal, plenary inspiration inspiration of the Scriptures. Scriptures.4 That is the foundation on which this work builds. B. I TS TS R R ELATION ELATION TO N N EW EW T ESTAMENT ESTAMENT I I NTRODUCTION NTRODUCTION
As with apologetics, apologetics, the results results of the inv investigations of of New 12
Introduction: What Is Biblical Theology?
Testament introduction are for the most part merely assumed and not reiterated in a work on Biblical theology. theology. How Howev ever, er, since Biblical theology cannot do without the critical investigations of introduction, the latter must must precede precede the former, and to some some extent must must be included incl uded in it. Matt Matters ers of authorship authorship,, date of writing, writing, and destinat destination ion are of utmost importance to the historical perspective of Biblical theology theolog y, and in most instances these matters can be stated in summary fashion on the basis of the results of New Testament introduction. Occasionally New Testament scholars are in such disagreement concerning certain of these critical matters that the Biblical theologian must concern himself in greater detail with them in order to lay a solid foundation foundation on which to build his his theology theology.. For instance instance it is deemed necessary necessary to deal in in detail with with the matter matter of the the authorship of the pastoral Epistles before proceeding proceeding with Pauline theology theology,, for New Testament scholars s cholars are divided on this question. questio n. It has to be setset tled in order to determine the amount of source source material that rightr ightfully belongs to Pauline Pauline theology. theology. But in general Biblical theology theology does not enter into detailed critical cr itical investigations, investigations, for as Weiss correctly pointed pointed out,“It is only a historico-descriptiv historico-descr iptive, e, not a historicocritical, science science..”5 C. I TS TS R R ELATION ELATION TO E E XEGESIS XEGESIS
Biblical theology theology stands in the closest connection to exegesis, exegesis, for it builds directly directly upon it. Ex Exegesis egesis must be grammatical (it must must tell us exactly what the author said) and it must be historical (it must tell us what the writer said in the context of his own own time).This historihistor ico-grammatical interpretation is the basis of all Biblical theology. The careful, thoro thorough ugh Biblical theologian theologian will have have included in the preparation for his task an exegesis of all the Biblical material under consideration. consideratio n. It makes makes some difference difference to a proper proper conception of Pauline Pau line theology theology,, for instance, instance, whether in Ephesians Ephesians 5:26 the the writer was speaking speaking of sanctification sanctification or the rite of baptism or both; therefor fore e a car careful eful ex exegesi egesiss of such a verse verse is is an absol absolute ute nece necessity ssity for accurate theology. 13
BASIC THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
The solution of of textual problems, problems, which is a part of the task of exegesis, ex egesis, is also foundational foundational to the science of Biblical theology theology.. One cannot be a theologian without being being an exegete, exegete, although one can be an exegete exegete without without being a theologian. theologian. Biblical theology theology goes beyond bey ond exegesis, exegesis, for it not only presents what the writer said but also seeks to discov discover the theological theological pattern in his mind, of which the writing was a reflection. D. I TS R ELATION H ISTORY C HRISTIAN D OCTRINE TS R ELATION TO THE H ISTORY OF C HRISTIAN D OCTRINE
Biblical theology theology has a close connection to certain aspects of historical theology, theology, but it it is certainly different different from the history history of Christian doctrine.The latter science is the study of what the readers of the Bible thought about the Word either individually individually or collectively lectiv ely in church councils. councils. Biblical theology theology is the study of what the writers of the Bible thought and said. It studies rev revelation at its human source source,, while the history of Christian doctrine doctrine studies the interpretation of the church church.. E. I TS TS R R ELATION ELATION TO S S YSTEMATIC YSTEMATIC T HEOLOGY HEOLOGY
There is undoubtedly widespread confusion or vagueness concerning the distinction between Biblical theology and systematic theology theolog y. This may be largely due to the fact f act that there are many similarities between between the tw two o sciences. sciences. For example both both are are (or should be) based on the Bible (although systematic theology may include other sources of of knowledge). knowledge). Both are are Biblical. Both are systematic.. It is far from the truth to think tematic think of systematic theology as unbiblical unbiblic al or Biblical theology theology as unsystematic. unsystematic. Nev Nevertheless ertheless there are some basic differences that distinguish these two areas of learning: 1. Pr Prece eceden dence. ce. Strictly speaking Biblical theology is foundational foundational to systematic theology theology.. In practice in our educational educational institutions sys-
tematic theology theology courseslyare courses usually prescribed, prescribed, while Biblic al theology courses are generally general elective elective.This .This would give the Biblical false fal se appear14
Introduction: What Is Biblical Theology?
ance that Biblical theology logically follows the study of systematic theolog theo logy y. Lo Logically gically and chro chronolo nologically gically,, Bib Biblical lical theolo theology gy should should take precedence precedence ov over systematic theology theology,, for the order of study ought ou ght to be intr introd oduct uction ion,, ex exege egesis sis,, his historic torical al backgro backgroun und, d, Bib Biblic lical al theology theolog y, and finally systematic theology.That theology.That is, such an order ought to be followed followed if we are going to start from scratch. scratch. But since we do not, we teach systematic systematic theology theology in the prescribed prescribed courses. Actually this is as it should be, be, for in the limited scope and time of a theologtheological curriculum, curr iculum, students should should reap the the benefit of the the thought and and work of others, others, as they they do in systematic theology theology courses. Later they they can study the method and results of Biblical theology. 2. Purpose. The purpose of Biblical theology is to discover what the writers of Scripture Scripture themselv themselves es regar regarded ded as truth, truth, not only only from from what they wrote but also from what their writings reflect of their
theological thinking. thinking. The purpose of systematic theology theology is to to set forth not only only the truth, truth, but also also why why it is truth. In this contra contrasting sting frame of reference reference then, then, the former is purely purely historical and the latlatter is historico-philosophical. By so much it may may be said that Biblical theology theolog y has no need of systematic theology, theology, but systematic theology has every need of Biblical theology. 3. Perspective. Systematic theology displays displays Christian Chr istian thought in one harmonious har monious whole from today’s today’s viewpoint. Biblical theology, theology, on the other hand, hand, presents the the thought of the leaders of Judaism Judaism and Christianity from the historical standpoint of the particular period in which they labored.The labored.The perspective perspective of the one is that of today; of the other, other, that of the Biblical writer. writer. 4. Con Conten tent. t. Systematic theology theology of course,as course, as far as its Biblical sources sources are conc concerned, erned, is based based on all all of the the Bible Bible as a whole whole.. Bib Biblical lical theoltheology inv investigates particular parts of the Bible, and although the sum of all these parts will be the entire Scriptures, the inv investigations are are divided divide d so that the contents of each particular period per iod or the thought
of eacha blossom, particulareach particular writer is of surve survey yed Biblical separately. separately . Syst Systemati ematic theology theology is like petal which theolo theology gy hascexamined 15
BASIC THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
separately and in detail. In conclusion then it is apparent that although Biblical theology sustains relationships relationships to other branches of Biblical study, study, it nonetheless is a distinct science of its own.The Biblical theologian must know something of the conclusions of apologetics apologetics and introduction, he must be a thoroughly thoroughly qualified exegete, exegete, and he must be a competent hishistorian. He is then ready to inv investigate and systematically set forth the historically-conditioned pro progress gress of the the self-rev self-revelation elation of of God, as deposited in the Bible.The results of his impartial historical inquiry into the original orig inal founts of truth will not be a systematic theology theology but a Bib Biblical lical theolo theology gy..6
III. METHODOLOG M ETHODOLOGY Y IN BIBLICAL BI BLICAL THEOLOGY THEOLOGY The method of systematic theology is to systematize all the truth revealed on any given subject under generally accepted and humanly devised categories such as theology theology proper proper,, anthr anthropology opology,, and soteriology.The method of Biblical theology is to systematize the truth rev re vealed during dur ing a giv g iven en period per iod or through a given given author. author. Generally speaking, Biblical theology theology of the Old Testament presents the truth as it was was progressiv progressively ely rev revealed in various various periods, per iods, while Biblical Biblical theology of the New Testament systemat systematizes izes the truth as it was progressively revealed through the various writers of the New Testament. The reason for this is apparent.The doctr doctrine ine of the Old Testament was revealed rev ealed throughout many many centuries, while that of the New was was confined to t o less than one centur century y.Therefore New Testament Biblical theothe ology,, while not unaware of the progressi logy progression on of time involved involved in the writing of the New Testament, is chiefly concerned concer ned with the pro progress gress of doctrine as revealed through the various human authors. Thus the plan of this book on New Testament Biblical theology is to present, in order order,, the theology theology of the Synoptics, Synoptics, the theology theology of Acts, the theology of James, James, Paulin Paulinee theology, theology, the theology of of Hebrews, the theology theology of Peter Peter and Jude Jude,, and Johannine Johannine theology theology.. Such an arrangement emphasizes the writer writerss in inv volv olved ed while also recognizin recognizing g —in a seco secondary ndary mann manner er and as mu much ch as poss possibl ible—ch e—chro ronol nologica ogicall pr proogression. 16
Introduction: What Is Biblical Theology?
Having decided that New Testament Biblical theology should shou ld be concerned mainly with development development through through men rather than periper iods, the student is faced with another decision decision of methodolo methodology gy.. He must decide what sort of outline to use in his development of the thought of these men.A few have chosen to follow the same outline that is generally generally used in systematic systematic theology theology.. In other words, words, all the teaching of an author is merely catalogued under the usual categories. This does show show at a glance what the writer taught on each subject,but subject, but it tends to be little more than a subdividing of the science of systematic theology and it certainly does nothing toward toward revealing revealing the theological bent of the mind of the author involved. Therefore it seems preferable to develop Biblical theology according to the outstanding areas of the thinking of the writer involved or according to the particular par ticular distinctiv distinct iveness eness of revelation to and through that man or dur dur ing that period. (Some of these distinctiv distinctivee categories may be the same as the categor categor ies used in systematic theology; theology; for example,, Christology). This approach example approach will be follow followed ed in this book book so that the student student of Biblical Biblical theology theology will remember that Pauline Pauline theology is outstanding for such-and-such doctrines or that the theology of James centers around certain categories of thought.This historical rather than dogmatic approach will also help give to the student an insight insight into why why the theology theology of James, James, for instance instance,, has certain certain doctrines at its core; and it will do this in a way way that no no mere systematizing of the record record into standard categories categories can possibly do. do. Sometimes it will also be helpful to summarize certain aspects of a man’s theology theolog y for the sake sake of completeness, but in the main main the purpose will be to accentuate his emphases and try to account for the principal theological theological patterns of his mind, as rev revealed in his wr wr itings.7
IV. VALUE OF THE STUDY OF BIBLICAL THEOLOGY It sho should uld be be clear clear by by no now w tha thatt Bibl Biblica icall theolo theology gy is not not a mini miniaature systematic systematic theology subdivided subdivided into periods or persons. It is not the mere repetitio repetition n of dogmas under under the accepted systematic systematic outline as thosea dogmas stated a particular writer ofW Scripture or during particularwere per iod. period. It isbya fresh approach approach to the ord of God 17
BASIC THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
that is neither neither entire entirely ly exegeti exegetical, cal, nor historical, historical, nor theolo theological, gical, nor expository,, but a combination expository combination of all these approaches. approaches.What What then in particular is the value of this approach? A. B IBLICAL IBLICAL T HEOLOGY HEOLOGY V IEWS IEWS D D OCTRINE OCTRINE IN I I TS TS H H ISTORICAL ISTORICAL C ONTEXT ONTEXT
Failure to view doctrine in its historical context is often a serious weakness of systematic theology, theology, for frequently the theological system determines the meaning of a verse or passage rather than the passage molding the system.Viewing doctrine in its historical context is the best preventiv preventivee against this misuse of a theological system. syste m. For instance a student of mine once once concluded that since he could not not find sin sin specifically mentioned mentioned in Acts 2, Peter did not preach about about sin on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost. His error was simply that that he failed to understand the doctrine of repentance (Acts 2:38) in its historical setting in the sermon and against the background of the recent crime of the crucifixion of Christ.The Christ. The Biblical theology viewpoint viewpoint guards one against making such mistakes. B. B IBLICAL IBLICAL T HEOLOGY HEOLOGY E E MPHASIZES MPHASIZES T HEOLOGICAL HEOLOGICAL S S UBSTRUCTURE UBSTRUCTURE
Biblical theology relieves relieves the situation wherein fundamental doctrines of the faith seem to depend mainly on the testimony of isolated proof-texts.8 The doctrines do not depend on such testimony, but often the presentation of certain doctrines in systematic theology gives the impression that they depend on one or two Biblical texts. The doctrine of inspiration is a good example. example. Usually two two texts are set forth as the New Testament proof proof of the doctrine (2 Timoth Timothy y 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21). 1:21). The impr impressio ession n is sometim sometimes es left with the student stud ent that that these are are the only only two two text textss that can be be used to demondemonstrate the inspiration of the Scriptures.There is no better corrective for such a misconception than the study of James from the viewpoint of Biblical theology theology.. Although James James does not make make any direct direct statements inspiration, the investigation investigation ofof thedoubt doctrine the Word concerning in his Epistle reveals beyond any shadow that of there 18
Introduction: What Is Biblical Theology?
was in his mind a definite substructure of the doctrines of the inspiration and authority author ity of the Word. ord.Theological Theological substructure is just as valid proof proof of any doctrine as explicit statements, and no discipline in all the realm of theological studies reveals reveals theological substructure as Biblical theology does. C. B IBLICAL IBLICAL T HEOLOGY HEOLOGY H H ELPS ELPS G G IVE IVE P P ROPER ROPER B B ALANC ALA NCE E TO TH THE E D OCTRINE OCTRINE OF I I NSPIRATION NSPIRATION
Inspiration may be defined as God’ God’ss superintending super intending human authors so that, using their their own own individual individual personalities, personalities, they composed and and recorded without error His revelation to man in the words of the original orig inal autographs. autographs. Such a definition definition of course includes the the ideas of God’ss supe God’ superintenden rintendence ce (not (not dictat dictation) ion) of the the entir entiree Bible Bible,, verbal inerrancy,, and the prop inerrancy proper er place of the human instrument. In recent recent times the doctrine of inspiration has suffered at the hands of both friend and foe. foe. Liberal scholarship scholarship has virtually virtually denied any any divine divine element in inspiration by redefining inspiration in terms of the author instead of the writing.The liberal critic cr itic maintained that that insofar as the Bible Bible was was true, true, it was was inspir inspired, ed, but it it became became his task task to determine at what points the Bible was true. In combating this religious-historical relig ious-historical approach, conservati conservativ ves have have had to emphasize the divine authorship of the Scriptures.The result of this emphasis has been the accusation by liberals and more recently by neo-orthodox theologians that dictation is the conservative doctrine of inspiration.This is done in spite of the fact f act that the conservaconservativee disavowal tiv disavowal has been widely widely publicized publicized for for many years.9 Nevertheless it must be admitted that there has been an underemph underemphasis asis of the human factors in inspiration.This inspiration. This lack of emphasis Biblical theology theology corrects, for its historical histor ical approach looks behind the words words of the writings wr itings and points up the individual individual backgrounds, backgrounds,intere interests, sts, and styles of the authors. Biblical theology emphasizes the part that the writers had in the composition posi tion of of the Wor ord d of God, God, while of course course building on the divine superintendence of the writings.
BASIC THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
D. B IBLICAL IBLICAL T HEOLOGY HEOLOGY F F OSTERS OSTERS A D EEP EEP A APPRECIATION OF THE G RACE RACE OF G G OD OD
The benefit of Biblical theology as stated in the preceding section is realized when the approach is mainly from the viewpoint of the variety of authors.The authors. The benefit before us now is realized realized when the approach is made from the viewpoint of the different periods in revelation.When one studies for instance the theology of the Penta-teuch and then Pauline theology theology,, he cannot help being impressed with the sharp contrast in the content of revelation.This revelation.This is true of course only if in the study of the theology of the Pentateuch one is careful not to read the New Testament back into the Old; but if that is not done done,, one can only stand in amazement at the fullness of the re revelat velation ion of the grace of God in Jesus Christ in contrast to that which was revealed in the shadows shadows of the Old Testament. Such a contrast can only bring thankfulness and humility to the heart of the one who lives today in the blazing glory of the fullness of revelation, revelation, and that contrast is one of the certain products of the study of Biblical theology. This then then is the subject subject that that we we in inv vestig estigate ate in this this book. book. That investigation in vestigation can be pursued in several several ways. ways. Some who use this book may only want to scan it in order to trace the central thoughts in the progress pro gress of revelation. revelation. Others, and we trust this will be the larger group, group, will want to study it thoroughly with an open Bible.They should read several sev eral times the books of the Bible involv involved ed in each theological division and look up each reference mentioned in this text as they study it page by page. The author has endeavored to hit some sort of balance between tracing the overall movement of thought and the specific development of individual individual doctrines.This doctrines. This has not always always been easy to do, do, for the temptat temptations ions to go ov overboa erboard rd in both direc direction tionss have have pr present esented ed themselves themselv es many many times. The result result could undoubtedly undoubtedly be impr improv oved ed upon, but any any deficiencies in this matter are are not due to a lack of sinceree desi cer desire re to maintai maintain n a balance balance within within the the work work and and a reasona reasonable ble limit the total work. work.This This require d condensation ing intomany places, which canhas be required compensated for only by band y theoutlinread20
Introduction: What Is Biblical Theology?
er’s faithful use of his Bible along with this book. Differing interpreer’s inter pretations of some Biblical Biblica l texts have have had to be passed by without much discussion. In such cases the reader should avail avail himself of commentaries on those passages. Biblical theology theology is one approach to the Scriptures. Scr iptures. Distincti Distinctiv ve as it may be and fruitful as its benefits are, profi profitt and blessing cannot be guaranteed the reader or student apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is He who takes of of the things of Christ and shows shows them to us (John 16:13–15) and unless that ministry is operative operative in the heart, there can be no benefit benef it from the study. study. To reap the fullness fullne ss of His ministry should be the constant concern of every student of the Word of God. May God grant it to all who read this book.