Reflections on Question 1: What Do We Mean by "Biblical Theology"?
I have begun reading and learning from this new book by Jason DeRouchie, Oren Martin, and Andy Naselli, 40 Questions About Biblical Theology.
Here are my answers to their reflection questions followed by a quick take on the first chapter.
1. What is one of your favorite ways of doing biblical theology? Why?
One of my favorite ways of doing biblical theology is looking at the way later biblical authors quote and allude to earlier biblical authors and theological themes. It shows me the deeper connections of the Bible and helps me get more into the mind and worldview of the Bible through the later author's interpretive perspective. I also love finding ways to legitimately connect texts to Jesus Christ in all his glory because when I see him I am changed from degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18).
2. Do you tend to read the OT without Christian eyes? Why?
I used to try to read the OT without Christian eyes because that's what was modeled for me in my dispensational circles growing up. I no longer do that due to Christ's expectations of how we should read the OT, my delight and desire to see and know Jesus Christ more from all of Scripture, and the realization that trying to read the OT without Christian eyes doesn't mean I'm reading the OT without any presuppositions, it just means that I'm suppressing the biblically and theologically correct presuppositions. To be fair, one must read and understand OT authors on their own terms as an essential part of studying the text, knowing that Moses, for example, doesn't understand with specific comprehensiveness what we know from the later authors.
3. What is a biblical-theological theme you'd like to trace through the whole Bible?
The priest-king theme is one I'd like to go deeper into due to Jonathan Leeman's meditations in his book Don't Fire Your Church Members. More broadly, I'd like to do a deeper dive in studying the theme of the people of God as a pastor responsible to shepherd a local church today and read From Adam and Israel to the Church: A Biblical Theology of the People of God.
4. Pick a novel you enjoy reading. How might you analyze and synthesize themes in that novel.
I lack a record of reading novels. I am reading/hearing Harry Potter and begun reading The Lord of the Rings. I might analyze the themes by thinking first of the big picture of the protagonist, problem, guide, plan, climax, and the resolution and then seeing out other themes contribute to this storyline and overall message the author wants us to see. I'm thinking in terms that Vanhoozer sets: the world of the text (text), the world behind the text (author and original audience), and the world in front of the text (reader)
5. In your own words, how does biblical theology differ from systematic theology?
Systematic theology asks and answers questions of the Bible dictated by the world of the student in his/her world (in front of the text). Biblical theology focuses on asking questions of the Bible dictated by the world of the human authors and their original audiences from the beginning of the Bible to the end with John's writing and audience.
Quick take: I really enjoyed the first chapter. I think their shorter and longer definitions of biblical theology are really helpful. "Shorter definition: Biblical theology studies how the whole Bible progresses, integrates, and climaxes in Christ. Longer definition: Biblical theology is a way of analyzing and synthesizing the Bible that makes organic, salvation-historical connections with the whole canon on its own terms, especially regarding how the Old and New Testaments progress, integrate, and climax in Christ" (20). This is close to one of the ways I define biblical theology: "studying the Bible on its own terms in light of its chronological, canonical, and christological context." I think the chapter expands effectively on each of the elements of their longer definition except for how the Bible "climaxes in Christ." Footnote 13 quoting D. A. Carson points to it, but other than that the chapter fails to expand on that piece of the definition.