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.

New Book: Encountering the Book of Isaiah: A Historical and Theological Survey

isaiahBecause of all the crazy weather over the last month our family had a bit of a delayed Christmas time together in combination with Mercy’s brithday (you could say she got a lot of presents!).  One of my gifts was Dr. Bryan E. Beyer (PhD, Hebrew Union College) Encountering the Book of Isaiah: A Historical and Theological Survey (Baker Academic, 2007).   If you go to the Amazon page where this is, I was hpoing for the combo where it says “Frequently bought together.”  But, alas!  I’ll take this as a start! 

Here is a descriptor from the Baker website:

In this new addition to the Encountering Biblical Studies series, Bryan Beyer offers a comprehensive introduction to the book of Isaiah that surveys the book’s content, its meaning in its original context, and its application for people today. Beyer presents the prophet’s recurring themes of remnant, the sovereignty of God, the Day of the Lord, covenant obligations, Messiah, and God and the nations. He gives special attention to Isaiah’s use of geographical issues to illustrate his message, Isaiah’s place in the canon of Scripture, and the implications of the book for mission.

Beyer has provided a clear and readable text based on his experience of teaching the Old Testament for over twenty years. As with other volumes in the series, Encountering the Book of Isaiah is specifically designed with students in mind. Chapters begin with outlines and objectives that allow easy entry into the discussion and end with conclusions and study questions that aid comprehension and recall. Informative sidebars delve further into the language, theological connections, and controversies of Isaiah. This helpful survey will be valued by any serious student of the Bible. 

I was surprised in browsing the preface that he said he wrote it for upper undergrduate and graduate level students since it is pretty much a basic introduction/survey of the book of Isaiah.  Well, perhaps, he says one will need some prior knowledge of the Bible in general and biblical studies as well and even a working knoweldge of the issues in Isaiah to get the best use of the book.  I’ll have to read it and see how I do.  I did get OT studies in seminary but didn’t get the chance to do a study specifically on Isaiah (that came after I left the seminary (shouldn’t wonder)!  😉

Here are a couple of the endorsements/reviews:

“[An] accessible tour of one of the most complex and magisterial books of the canon. Beyer’s judicious discussions show a depth of knowledge and a balanced assessment of difficult issues. The student of Isaiah will find the book opened up in ways that will promote scholarship as well as faith.”–John H. Walton, Wheaton College


“[This book] is written in reader-friendly fashion, with sidebars, chapter outlines and objectives, glossaries of key terms, study questions, and suggestions for further reading. I think people with very little background would cope with it fine. . . . The book also works hard to show how Isaiah relates to people’s individual lives. It shows good awareness of many aspects of modern study of Isaiah. . . . It includes useful documents such as the Siloam inscription and Sennacherib’s account of his siege of Jerusalem. I can imagine it being useful in Bible College courses and in study groups in conservative churches.”–John Goldingay, Expository Times
Depending on how this book works out, if it goes well and I like it, I plan on getting one for each of the what I consider to be the major books of the Bible – Genesis, (I have Isaiah), one of the Gospels, maybe John, Romans, and the Revelation.

Conversation with Craig Keener

I came across a casual conversation on Rick Hogaboam‘s blog by way of the Gordon Fee Appreciation page on Facebook.  It is interesting.  Remember it is an unoffocial – off the record conversation.  General statements are being made.  The discussion centers primarily around Charismatic issues.  Let me know what you think!

New NSBT book on the Trinity

There is a new forthcoming addition to the NSBT series on the Trinity in John’s Gospel called: Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity in John’s Gospel. IVP Academic (July 2008).  It is co-authored by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Scott R. Swain.  You can read the excerpt on the IVP website and also some information about it from Dr. Köstenberger’s website: Biblical Foundations.  

Here is a snippet: 

Part One situates John’s trinitarian teaching within the context of Second Temple Jewish monotheism. Part Two examines the Gospel narrative in order to trace the characterization of God as Father, Son and Spirit, followed by a brief synthesis. Part Three deals more fully with major trinitarian themes in the Fourth Gospel, including its account of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and mission. A final chapter discusses the significance of John’s Gospel for the church’s doctrine of the Trinity, and a brief conclusion summarizes some practical implications.

Looks like a cut and past straight from the IVP website.  I am also way behind on posting this since Dr K’s post is dated 4/30/08.  So, I should assume most of you all know about it and that Nick is drooling over it? I am sure his connections at IVP will get him a review copy forthwith? Despite the fact that D. A. Carson is the general editor of the series and gives an endorsement of the book – it should still be considered priority reading and will give much food for thought.