Understanding Biblical Theology by Edward W. Klink III

Introduction: This volume is an attempt to bring a little clarity to the discussion about the nature, task, and methodology of biblical theology. The authors have, for the sake of a starting point and some kind of nomenclature for the discussion, created 5 different categories based upon some similarities they see in the field. Those categories are: BT-1 Biblical theology as historical description (e.g., James Barr); BT-2 Biblical theology as history of redemption (e.g., DA Carson, Vos); BT-3 Biblical theology as worldview-story (e.g., NT Wright); BT-4 Biblical theology as canonical approach (e.g., Brevard Childs); and BT-5 Biblical theology as theological construction (e.g., Francis Watson).

The Good: This book is a helpful introduction to the field of biblical theology because it succinctly describes the various conceptions of biblical theology as a discipline. Is is short, clear, and provides some helpful nomenclature to try and clarify the discussion that swirls around the question “What is biblical theology?” This book is also helpful to see what presuppositions lie behind how certain people use the term (e.g., what happens to someone’s idea of biblical theology when they deny inerrancy?).

The Bad: In trying to be succinct and clear, the authors necessarily had to lump certain people together in tight clean little boxes. Sadly, the reality does not always clean up so easily. The authors were forces to generalize and lump people together on a (to some degree arbitrary) spectrum.

Overall: While most of the readers of this blog will only be concerned with the biblical theology of group two (BT-2), this was a helpful little intro into the field. I am grateful for the authors’ attempt to bring a simple nomenclature to what has been a very confusing field.

Jon English serves as a Pastor of Morningview Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He has earned an undergraduate degree in Microbiology from Auburn University Montgomery, a Masters of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a PhD in Systematic and Historical Theology from SBTS. Jon English is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a fellow for the Center for Pastor Theologians.
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