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Religion & Philosophy Research Guide: Biblical Theology

This research guide features resources and strategies for finding information and conducting research related to Religion and Philosophy.

What is Biblical Theology?

Series that focus on Biblical Theology

The following are representative volumes from various series that model a biblical theology approach. Look for the series title when searching your subject terms.

New Studies in Biblical Theology

Search for: NSBT AND topic

Essential Studies in Biblical Theology

Search for: ESBT AND topic

Biblical Theology for Life

Search: "Biblical theology for Life" AND topic

Short Studies in Biblical Theology

Search for "short studies in biblical theology" and topic

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Types of Biblical Theology

Biblical Theology can be a confusing topic. What counts as 'biblical theology' and how does that differ from Systematic, Dogmatic, NT, OT, or other theologies? Are there different goals or techniques when writing a biblical theology? Below are some considerations for what makes BT distinctive.

1. Theology that comes from Scripture
          In this first sense, Biblical Theology is a presentation of scriptural teaching, apart from other scholarly discussions or sources of knowledge. It is 'biblical' in that it is simply descriptive of what the sacred text says. This approach does not overtly incorporate philosophy, logic, historical debates, appeals to tradition, confessions, or traditional categories of systematic theology in the act of drawing out and identifying the theology of text. Here, Biblical Theology only asks what the text teaches, in its final canonical form, as opposed to employing historical criticism on the text, or making claims about the composition and transmission of the text. In most cases, biblical theology does not make ideological judgements about the historical truthfulness, religious authority, or modern applications of the text. A Biblical Theology 'from the text' aligns well with the grammatical-historical method of interpretation in that it seeks to describe what is communicated by the text, apart from the presuppositions of the interpreter.  

2. Theology by Thematic Unity
          In this second sense, Biblical Theology begins with a designated theme and then traces that topic throughout Scripture, both in the OT and the NT. Systematic Theology often does something similar when it looks for the total scriptural teaching on a particular doctrine and then summarizes the collected findings. What makes Biblical Theology distinct is that the offered theme is presented as a unifying element that connects the 66 biblical books together, and that provides a basis for unity within diversity. Some biblical theologies will offer several complimentary themes, while others trace a single concept such as God's Presence with His people, God's Glory, Dominion, the plan of Redemption, covenants, the Promise-Fulfillment of Prophecy, or the larger narrative story of Creation-Fall-New Creation. While these approaches may seem like different models of doing Biblical Theology, they all share in the same approach of demonstrating a thematic unity to the Bible.

3. Theology through Intertextuality
          In this third sense, Biblical Theology examines the patterns, motifs, and intertextual connections between the various books, especially in terms of how the NT uses the OT. In this manner, BT demonstrates a cohesive unity of the biblical text, not just through a centralized theme, but also by means of hermeneutical concerns like typology, direct citations of earlier texts, echoes and allusions, or special patterns in narratives and characterization. 

Biblical Theology - General Textbooks