“Here’s the basic definition of “Biblical Theology” that I am leaning on for this series of posts: Biblical theology is the fruit of studying the Bible in such a way as to recognize the individuality of each biblical author, the progress of revelation over time and the unity of the canon resulting from the inspired nature of Scripture. The question is whether our preaching neglects one side of this triangle? Yesterday I considered the issue of authorial individuality (both in style/vocabulary and in content/theology). Now let’s look at the second “side of the triangle:”
“The Progress of Revelation – Over time, the revelation from God progressed. If our Bible’s stopped at Genesis 3, we’d know very little. If our Bibles stopped at Malachi, we’d be at a loss. Our Bibles do not stop at Deuteronomy, or Malachi, or 2Timothy, or Jude (contrary to the opinion of some – I recently read a well-known scholar arguing that Revelation doesn’t add anything to the Bible in terms of theology, it just adds imagination! We could play “spot the theological agenda” with that quote, but that’s going off point for this post!) God gave us 66 books and each is adding to the revelation. Thus it is important to recognize where your preaching passage sits in that progress. We neglect this aspect of understanding the Scriptures when we fail to recognize the meaning of a passage in its context, at that time in the progress of revelation. We can neglect this aspect when we always read everything through the “lens” of later revelation, without first honoring the fact that it is inspired Scripture even before that “lens” was added.”
“Guidelines – always seek to recognize the meaning of a passage as intended by the author at that point in the progress, before also recognizing how revelation progressed in the centuries that followed. Perhaps consider whether more time needs to be spent on helping listeners see what the original recipients would have received from the passage, before jumping to a contemporary application, or even a New Testament filtered interpretation. Always ask yourself, am I giving the impression that this text was not inspired or was not “useful” (2Tim.3:16) until a later book was written?”
Peter Meads writes the above over at Preaching and Biblical
Preaching in the Moment, I like that. Where the Scripture is teaching in the moment of the text is where I like to try to teach. In other words, I Thessalonians 2:10-11, what is Paul teaching us in these verses. I try not to put into the text what is not there. I try. Of course you do try to keep in mind what Paul has already side in the previous verses.
First I like to try to keep the thought that Paul is using in the book that I am teaching. What is the purpose of Paul writing the book of I Thessalonians in the first place? Then try to keep that before me as I am teaching through the book. Of course you try to keep in mind what Paul has taught in his other 11 books in the New Testament.
And I also like Peter’s definition of Biblical Theology. Our teaching should reflect the teaching of Christ through out the Bible. That is why I say I teach theologically in my sermons.