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Helyer on Evangelical Definitions and Presuppositions in Biblical Theology

Posted by on Feb 10, 2010 in biblical theology | 1 comment

Evangelical definitions [of Biblical Theology] incorporate the following elements:

  • Biblical theology confines itself to the Bible. Thus, it is canonical in scope.
  • Biblical theology seeks to trace the progressive unfolding of God’s revelation through time and space. Thus, it is descriptive and historical in method.
  • Biblical theology seeks to summarize the basic teachings of the Bible in regard to its theological content (i.e., what it teaches concerning God, human beings, sin, salvation, ethics and final destiny). Thus, its task is theological in nature.
  • Biblical theology seeks to present these teachings in the categories that are actually used by the biblical writers themselves. Thus, it is foundationally exegetical.
  • Biblical theology seeks to organize and state these teachings, themes, and ideas in a coherent manner. Very often, this involves central or controlling ideas that give coherence to all the other ideas. Thus, it is synthetic and systematic in organization.

Evangelical biblical theology also assumes certain, basic presuppositions. These may be stated as follow:

  • God exists and has revealed himself in human language in the canonical Scriptures.
  • The inspired, canonical Scriptures possess an inherent authority and are trustworthy.
  • The message of Scripture is coherent and exhibits an essential unity.
  • The message of Scripture functions as a rule of faith and practice. Biblical theology is thus not merely descriptive but rather is normative as well.

(Larry R. Helyer, The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John: An Exploration in Biblical Theology (Downers Grove: IVP, 2008),p. 21-22) (italics in original)


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  1. 5-23-2012

    what is the stated definition of biblical theology?