Biblical Theology is a discipline within Christian theology which studies the Bible from the perspective of understanding the progressive history of God revealing God's self to humanity following the Fall and throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. It particularly focuses on the epochs of the Old Testament in order to understand how each part of it ultimately points forward to fulfillment in the life mission of Jesus Christ.

Biblical theology seeks to understand a certain passage in the Bible in light of all of the Biblical history leading up to it. It asks questions of the text such as:

  • How much does this person or group know about the attributes of God?
  • To what extent are God's plans revealed, such as future plans of sending Jesus as the Messiah?
  • How has Israel responded to God's interactions with them up to this point?

Biblical Theology puts individual texts in their historical context since what came before them is the foundation on which they are laid and what comes after is what they anticipate. Biblical Theology is sometimes called the "History of Special Revelation" since it deals with the unfolding and expanding nature of revelation as history progresses through the Bible.

The motivation for this branch of theology comes from such passages as Luke 24.27: "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, (Jesus) explained to (the disciples) what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." The assumption of this text seems to be that the Old Testament anticipated the Messiah and that Jesus fulfilled those prophecies. Thus, Biblical Theologians suggest that, in order to understand the intended meaning of a Biblical text, one must understand what the text points toward or back to. For instance, when reading about the sacrificial system in the Old Testament, Biblical Theologians follow the trajectory the Bible lays out for that system (namely, pointing to Jesus as the true sacrifice), and likewise, when a New Testament text refers back to the Old Testament (for example, Jesus being the son of David and heir of his covenant), they try to understand that text against its proper, specified background.

Biblical theology can be compared with and is complemented by systematic theology in that the former focuses on historical progression through out the Bible while the latter focuses on thematic progression. Systematic theology deals with a single topic in each place it is dealt with, whereas Biblical Theology seeks to follow the flow of "redemptive narrative" as it unfolds. In this way, Biblical Theology reflects the diversity of the Bible, while systematic theology reflects its unity.

The Christian concept of progressive revelation differs from the Islamic understanding in which successive revelations of God might annul former revelations, completely replacing them with a new truth. The Christian model within Biblical Theology sees the concept of progressive revelation as progressive revelation of new truth which supports, expands, and stands upon former revelations of God's truth like brick laying. This progressive revelation ultimately climaxes in Christ, and ends with the New Testament acts of the Apostles under the direction of the Holy Spirit awaiting the Second Coming of Christ.

The discipline of Biblical Theology is primarily associated with viewpoints that also adhere to a belief in biblical inerrancy and biblical inspiration. Consequently, the work of Walter Brueggemann, Rudolf Bultmann, and other such exegetes is not dealt with in the discipline. While it does engage with the work of philosophy and cultural and personal experience, it gives the Bible priority over each of these other lines of thought.

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Question: "What is Bibliology?"

Answer: Bibliology is the study of the Bible, the Word of God
. The Bible is the inspired source of knowledge about God, Jesus Christ, salvation, and eternity. Without a proper view of the Bible, our views on these other issues become clouded and distorted. Bibliology tells us what the Bible is. Common questions in Bibliology are:

Is the Bible truly God's Word? Our answer to this question will not only determine how we view the Bible and its importance to our lives, but also it will ultimately will have an eternal impact on us.

What is the canon of Scripture? The basis of Christianity is found in the authority of Scripture. If we can't identify what is Scripture, then we can't properly distinguish any theological truth from error.

What does it mean that the Bible is inspired? While there are different views as to what extent the Bible is inspired, there can be no doubt that the Bible itself claims that every word, in every part of the Bible, is inspired by God (1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Does the Bible contain errors, contradictions, or discrepancies? If you read the Bible, at face value, without a preconceived bias for finding errors – you will find it to be a coherent, consistent, and relatively easy-to-understand book.

Is there proof for the inspiration of the Bible? Among the proofs for the divine inspiration of the Bible are fulfilled prophecy, the unity of Scripture, and the support of archeological findings. Its most important proof, however, is in the lives of those who read it, believe it, and live according to its precepts.

Bibliology teaches us that the Bible is inspired, meaning it is "breathed out" by God. A proper Bibliology holds to the inerrancy of Scripture—that the Bible does not contain any errors, contradictions, or discrepancies. A solid Bibliology helps us to understand how God used the personalities and styles of the human authors of Scripture and still produced His Word and exactly what He wanted to be said. Bibliology enables us to know why other books were excluded from the Bible. For the Christian, the Bible is life itself. Its pages are filled with the very Spirit of God, revealing His heart and mind to us. What a wonderful and gracious God we have! He could have left us to struggle through life with no help at all, but He gave His Word to guide us, truly a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

A key Scripture on Bibliology is 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."