the weblog of Alan Knox

Biblical Theology – Static or Dynamic?

Posted by on Jan 18, 2010 in biblical theology | 2 comments

[O]ur New testament authors were not attempting to write a ‘theology’, but were engaged in apologetic and dialogue. The real problem with talking about ‘New Testament theology’, however, is that it suggests something static and complete, whereas what we have in the New Testament is a number of different people all ‘doing theology’ in different situations. We do not have an inanimate corpse, labelled ‘New Testament theology’, laid out on a mortuary slab and waiting for dissection; rather we have a series of photographs of people vigorously engaged in the process of ‘theologizing’, trying to work out the significance of their faith. (Morna Hooker, “The Nature of New Testament Theology,” in The Nature of New Testament Theology, Ed. Christopher Rowland and Christopher Tuckett, Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2006, p. 77)


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  1. 1-18-2010

    I could not agree more. Of course, the objection to this line of thinking is always, “But truth is absolute and objective. If we imply that it’s dynamic, then it becomes subjective and anyone can believe whatever they want to believe.”

    I believe that objection is false and serves as nothing more than a red herring in any theological discussion. Because we have a living Truth in the person of Jesus, our theology also is living and organic.

    This is why, in my opinion, we rarely, if ever, see the Gospel being presented the same way twice in the New Testament. The story is told in the context of particular people who have particular understandings. No two people or people groups are the same, and thus, our discussion of theological concepts should not be static. Each one of us needs to work out our own salvation, to borrow Paul’s phrase.

    The beauty of this kind of living, breathing theology is that each one can contribute some thought, some understanding, some analogy, some concept that edifies the rest of the body. My understanding of the Father is often challenged and shaped by comments by my children, discussions with my wife, nuances expressed by my podcasting co-host, your blog posts, etc. And so it should be.

  2. 1-19-2010

    Refreshing observations. Too many theologians seem bent on reducing the great themes of scripture to something that can be contained in human-sized boxes and organized to fit their particular prejudices. If love is the essential nature of Father it follows that the ways in which it is given, received and lived in are as diverse as are people, cultures and needs. And as both the Holy Spirit and those born of him are compared to the wind it would seem that relationship with God and church life would be too fluid and spontaneous to fit into any static theological concepts or structures.