by James M. Hamilton
Biblical Theology is a department of biblical studies that has become increasingly of interest in recent years, and this course is designed to introduce that discipline especially for those who are new to it.
The term “biblical theology” has been around for a long time, and it can be understood in various ways. On one level, biblical theology is, simply, the theology taught in the Bible—biblical teaching. But Biblical Theology as a specific department of biblical studies is so designated primarily to distinguish it from Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology approaches the teaching of the Bible as a whole, in its final, complete entirety, and asks the question, “What does the Bible teach about X?” And the job of Systematic Theology is to provide the answer—what the Bible teaches about God, about Christ, about salvation, the trinity, the church, and so on.
Biblical Theology, by contrast, approaches the Bible as a story and as unfolding revelation, and it does its work in tracking that developing story and revelation. Its work is not driven only by topic but also by time and chronology—how the story or a particular theme (like creation and new creation; promise and fulfillment; exile and return; rest, unrest, and final rest; the presence of God lost and returned) develops and unfolds. It watches and examines “the big story” and its progressive plotline and pays attention to how each book of the Bible contributes to it. It notices themes along the way that are picked up by later authors and developed further. It notices developing concepts, patterns of thought, and symbols or imagery that begin perhaps with some suggestive significance but are later filled with deeper significance.
In this course Dr. James Hamilton introduces Biblical Theology in a very simple way. His book, What Is Biblical Theology?, consists of three major parts:
- The Bible’s Big Story
- The Bible’s Symbolic Universe
- The Bible’s Love Story
Part 1: The Bible's Big Story (MP3)
The Bible's Sprawling, Ramshackle Narrative
Part 2: The Bible's Symbolic Universe (MP3)
A Set of Symbols, Images, Types, and Patterns
Part 3: The Bible's Love Story (MP3)
The Church and the Story of the Bible