New SBJT: The Bible is all about Christ

Communications Staff — April 13, 2009

Any properly Christian interpretation of the Bible must center itself on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, essayists in the latest edition of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology assert.

Four writers, including renowned biblical theologian Graeme Goldsworthy, unpack the discipline of biblical theology, which is studying individual passages of Scripture in light of the entire Bible.

Journal editor Stephen J. Wellum, who serves as professor of Christian Theology at Southern, asserts in his opening editorial that few tasks are more crucial for every Christian than learning to properly interpret and apply God’s Word. Thus, biblical theology is not merely a task for the Christian academician, but is a discipline that every follower of Christ should put to use.

“We believe biblical theology and its actual use in the seminary, church, and home is vitally important for the life and health of God’s people,” Wellum writes.

Goldsworthy is the author of numerous popular and scholarly books on biblical interpretation including “According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible,” and “The Goldsworthy Trilogy.”

Three essays by Goldsworthy, taken from his Gheens Lectures at Southern in 2008, form the centerpiece of the latest SBJT. In his opening essay, Goldsworthy establishes the necessity of biblical theology and then unfolds its significance in the academy, church and home in the other two articles.

“As I understand it, biblical theology involves first of all the close reading or exegesis of the parts (of Scripture) in order to understand the theological perspectives contained. These must then be synthesized into an understanding of the unity of the theology of the whole canon. The wider synthesis will then affect our understanding of the significance of the parts,” Goldsworthy writes in his opening article.

The writers of the four New Testament Gospels provide the paradigm for how the canon as a whole should be understood, Goldsworthy argues; the Bible, from “In the beginning” in Gen. 1:1 to “Surely I am coming soon” at the close of Revelation, is focused on God’s redeeming love in Christ as expressed in the Gospel.

“The writers of the four Gospels point the way by their handling of distinct aspects of the relationship of the person and ministry of Jesus to the Old Testament Scriptures,” he writes.

“This theologizing of the evangelists, that is integral to their historiography, leaves us in no doubt about the conviction of Jesus and his apostles as to the unity of the biblical message with its center in the person of Jesus.”

The journal also features articles by Southern professors James M. Hamilton (“Was Joseph a Type of Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification Between Joseph, David and Jesus”) and Mark A. Seifrid (“Story-Lines of Scripture and Footsteps in the Sea”) as well as an article by Robert W. Yarbrough (“The Practice and Promise of Biblical Theology: A Response to Hamilton and Goldsworthy”), chairman of the New Testament department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Hamilton serves as associate professor of biblical theology and Seifrid is Ernest and Mildred Hogan Professor of New Testament. For more information or to subscribe to the journal, please call 502-897-4413 or e-mail

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