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Childs on the Development of Biblical Theology as a Discipline

Posted by on Jan 6, 2010 in biblical theology | Comments Off

It has long been recognized that the term “Biblical Theology” is ambiguous. It can either denote a theology contained within the Bible or a theology that accords with the Bible. The first definition understands the task of Biblical Theology to be a descriptive, historical one that seeks to determine what was the theology of the biblical authors themselves. The second understands the task of Biblical Theology to be a constructive, theological one that attempts to formulate a modern theology compatible in some sense with the Bible. From one perspective, the entire modern history of the discipline of Biblical Theology can be interpreted as the effort to distinguish between these two definitions and to explore the important implications of the distinction. (Brevard S. Childs, Biblical Theology: A Proposal, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993, p. 1)

I believe the distinction that Childs makes is valid and important. I would then go a step further and say that our Biblical Theology (in the sense of a theology contained within the Bible) should come first, and should then shape our “modern theology.”