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Central Themes of Biblical Theology

Trent A. Rogers reminds us that Scripture has one Author.

Trent A. Rogers offers helpful insights for a method of Biblical theology that establishes the unity of Scripture without overshadowing or ignoring its lesser themes (“Song, Psalm, and Sermon: Toward a Center of Biblical Theology,” JETS, March 2021).

He summarizes, with approval, various approaches that have been undertaken thus far, before offering his own. He looks at four texts – Deuteronomy 32, Psalm 78, Acts 7, and Hebrews 11 – which are lengthy and which cover the history of God’s dealings with His people. From these texts he derives the common themes of God’s faithfulness – to His Word and covenant, and for His glory – and the faithlessness of His people – leading to the need for the Messiah. These themes, he argues, provide the unifying structure for understanding the Bible in whole and in part.

This helpful study reminds us that the Bible is the product of one Author, and He has a few basic themes and objectives in mind. It behooves us, in reading and studying Scripture, to keep these in mind, so that we allow Scripture at to set the priorities and guidelines for interpretation, rather than our own historical or psychological interests.

I appreciate Dr. Rogers’ approach, but I think it works best as a subset of a larger overall approach which can be derived from a close reading of Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Here, on the eve of His crucifixion, and the hinge of history and the apex of redemption, Jesus focused on three themes: the glory of God, the creation of a people for God to glorify and enjoy Him, and the work of Christ (His “hour”), in bringing that people into being for God’s glory.

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