Biblical Theology Briefing (#1)

The new “Biblical Theology Briefings” are an opportunity to share observations, arguments, outlines, books, articles, reviews, sermons, videos, diagrams — anything I’ve found that could foster a clearer understanding of the Bible’s parts as they relate to its whole.

“Biblical Theology” is a specific discipline within biblical studies (it doesn’t mean “theology that’s biblical in content”). Although the phrase has carried various definitions in its history within biblical studies, here I mean the science and art of tracing the progressive scriptural storyline as promises and themes are unfolded across the many texts that make up the one Text.


Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Crossway) by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum drops June 30. Gentry teaches languages, OT, and biblical theology while Wellum teaches systematic theology, both at Southern Seminary. Justin Taylor highlights the book, the blurbs, and separate author interviews. Recently, during a class lunch break, I asked Dr. Gentry about the book. He said he’s been developing this material over decades, and added, “Books that are worth reading take a long time to write.” The $22.97 pre-order price for this 848-page hardback is sure not to last. The description:

Many theological discussions come to an impasse when parties align behind either covenant theology or dispensationalism. But Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum now propose a significant biblical theology of the covenants that avoids the extremes of both classical systems and holds the potential to break the theological impasse. Kingdom through Covenant is not a system-driven work, but a careful exposition of the covenants as key to the narrative plot structure of the whole Bible.

Kingdom through Covenant emphasizes the importance of the covenant concept throughout Scripture, showing that crucial theological differences can be resolved by understanding how the biblical covenants unfold and relate to one another. Rather than looking at covenant as the center of biblical theology, the authors show how the covenants form the backbone of Scripture and the key to understanding its overarching story. They ultimately show that the covenant concept forms a solid platform for systematic theology.

By incorporating the latest available research from the ancient Near East and examining implications of their work for Christology, ecclesiology, eschatology, and hermeneutics—Gentry and Wellum present a thoughtful and viable alternative to both covenant theology and dispensationalism.

A Theology of Luke and Acts: God’s Promised Program, Realized for All Nations (Zondervan) by Darrell Bock releases today, June 4. Bock, author of the three commentaries Luke 1:1–9:50, Luke 9:51–24:53, and Acts in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series, has contributed this new theology of Luke-Acts in Zondervan’s new Biblical Theology of the New Testament Series. This is the second installment in the series, following Andreas Köstenberger’s first volume on the theology of John’s gospel and letters.

The first ten pages can be sampled as a PDF here, and the table of contents is below:

Part One: Introductory Matters

  • The Often Lost Importance of Luke-Acts and the Orientation of this Study
  • Ch. 2: The Context of Luke-Acts: A Short Introduction
  • Ch. 3: The Case for the Unity of Luke-Acts and Reading the Volumes as Luke-Acts and as Luke and Acts
  • Ch. 4: Outline and Narrative Survey of Luke-Acts

Part Two: Major Theological Themes

  • Ch. 5: The Plan, Activity, and Character of God: A Survey in Narrative Order
  • Ch. 6: The God of Promise, Fulfillment, and Salvation: Synthesis of Texts on the Plan of God
  • Ch. 7: Jesus the Messiah Who Is Lord and Bringer of the New Era: Narrative Order
  • Ch. 8: Messiah, Servant, Prophet, Savior, Son of Man, and Lord: A Synthesis on the Person and Work of Jesus
  • Ch. 9: The Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts: Power and Enablement for the Promise and Witness of the New Era
  • Ch. 10: The Salvation of God through Christ and the Healings That Picture It: Narrative Order
  • Ch. 11: The Many Dimensions of Salvation in Luke-Acts: A Synthesis
  • Ch. 12: Israel in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 13: The Gentiles and the Expression “the Nations” in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 14: The Church and the Way in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 15: Discipleship and Ethics in the New Community
  • Ch. 16: How Response to Jesus Divides: The Opponents, the Crowds, and Rome as Observer of Events in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 17: Women, the Poor, and the Social Dimensions in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 18: The Law in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 19: Ecclesiology in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 20: Eschatology, Judgment, and Hope for the Future in Luke-Acts
  • Ch. 21: The Scriptures in Luke-Acts

Part Three: Luke and the Canon

  • Ch. 22: Luke-Acts in the Canon
  • Ch. 23: Conclusion


Dan Phillips from TeamPyro observes parallel elements between the mission of Joshua and the mission of Jesus.

Charles Halton summarizes Jeffery Leonard’s principles for (1) evaluating evidence for textual links and (2) determining direction of influence. The principles come from Leonard’s 2008 JBL article entitled “Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test Case,” Journal of Biblical Literature 127 no. 2 (2008): 241-65. HT: Jim Hamilton.


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