Biblical Theology is all the rage these days. A quick Amazon search will turn up all kinds of books on biblical theology, many of them written in just the last few years. But if you skim through those books, you’ll quickly notice something rather interesting: no one really seems to know what “biblical theology” means.
Biblical theology is one of those phrases with an obvious surface meaning (who wouldn’t want their theology to be biblical?) that grows hazy the minute you begin to ask some of the difficult questions:
- What is “theology”?
- What does it mean to be “biblical”?
- Whose theology are we after (e.g. the Bible, the biblical authors, the religious communities of the biblical authors)?
- Given the different perspectives in the Bible, can we really talk about just one biblical theology or are there many biblical theologies?
And we could keep going. With just a few questions, we begin to see why it can be so frustrating to figure out what people mean when they talk about biblical theology. It’s because biblical theology is a label that covers a multitude of differences.