George Eldon Ladd on Biblical Theology

Biblical Theology is that discipline which sets forth the message of the books of the Bible in their historical settingBiblical Theology is primarily a descriptive discipline.  It is not initially concerned with the final meaning of the teachings of the Bible or their relevance for todayThis is the task of systematic theology.  Biblical theology has the task of expounding the theology found in the Bible in its own historical setting, and its own terms, categories, and thought forms.  It is the obvious intent of the Bible to tell a story about God and his acts in history for humanities salvation…. Biblical theology is theology:  it is primarily a story about God and his concern for human beings.  It exsits only because of the divine initiative realizing itself in a series of divine acts whose objective is human redemption.  Biblical theology therefore is not exclusively, or even primarily, a system of abstract theological truths.  It is basically the description and interpretation of the divine activity within the scene of human history that seeks humanity’s redemption (20-21).

Geroge Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, Revised Edition (Eerdmans, 1993).


I put up this quote because of some of the comments in my post about systematic theologies – I tend to think both biblical and systematic theology have their place – while biblical theology helps us get to the meaning and teaching of the Bible in its historical setting, systematic theology can help us understand how biblical theological themes are relevant for us today and how we can apply these teachings to our understanding of God and the world we live in.  So, that said, I think both systematic and biblical theology have their place.