Sunday, August 20, 2006

How Far is Too Far?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked regarding reading the Bible in a biblical-theological manner is whether we have the right to make connections that the Biblical texts themselves do not explicitly make. In other words, when reading an OT passage (such as Psalm 1) that is not explicitly quoted or strongly alluded to, am I on shaky ground to connect the concepts, themes, etc. to corresponding NT ones? I suspect that most of the people who read this blog would say such an approach is fine with appropriate constraints. But that raises the $64,000 question - what are those appropriate contraints? If you were helping someone to learn to read the bible in a biblical-theological manner, what sort of principles would you pass on to them to enable them to make good, substantive and appropriate connections?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Carson Quote on NT Theology

The following is one of my favorite quotes on NT Theology, but properly tweaked it would also apply to Biblical Theology:

Those who write NT theology should ideally become intimately acquainted with the text of the NT, develop a profound grasp of the historical (including social and cultural) frameworks in which the NT books were written, maintain and sharpen the horizon provided by the entire canon, foster literary skills that permit varied genres to speak for themselves, spot literary devices and correctly interpret them, learn to fire imagination and creativity in a disciplined way and acknowledge and seek to accommodate and correct their own cultural and theological biases. All of these elements must be maintained in appropriate balance, nurtured by love for God and fear of God and growing hunger to serve his people.”

D.A. Carson, “New Testament Theology,” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Development, 810.

Oh that God would raise a generation of pastors, missionaries, scholars and lay people who are able to handle God's Word in such a manner!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Psalm 1

Psalm 1 is a fascinating beginning to the entire Psalter. There are many angles one might take in studying and teaching this psalm, but I want to focus on the psalm within its biblical-theological context. Throughout the history of the church some commentators have read the psalm Christologically (if I remember correctly including Calvin), seeing the description of the blessed man as pointing forward to fulfillment in Christ.

Is this legitimate? Why or why not? Are there indications in the text of Psalm 1 that such a reading is justified? And does the the fact that Psalm 2 which follows is clearly messianic in nature play any role in reading Psalm 1 christologically?