In Themelios 39.1, Gerald Bray and Thomas Schreiner dialogue about doing/writing theology. Here is the closing paragraph from Bray’s review of Schreiner’s book, The King in HIs Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments.

This is ultimately why theology cannot be simply a running exposition of the biblical text, in whatever order it is taken. It must penetrate that text and reveal the foundations on which it is built, the principles that underlie the revelation that it contains. This search for meaning is not a departure from the Bible but an exploration of its hidden depths that will enable us to understand it better. Just as we look at how other people behave and try to work out from that what really makes them tick, so we read of the great acts of God among his people in order to understand better who he is and what his purposes are. The end result will be a systematic theology built out of the evidence culled from many different parts of the revelation and not simply an account of that revelation’s contents. It is here I think that biblical scholars need to rethink their discipline, recognise what its limitations are, and accept that not only is a systematic theology necessary, but that it can be constructed only by using the evidence of the narrative and going behind it in ways that do not contradict but illuminate it better. I hope and pray that evangelical biblical scholars will come to appreciate this and that their magnificent efforts in analyzing the Scriptures may bear fruit in a deeper synthesis of what their message and their ultimate purpose is.

You can read the full review here. (And here is Schreiner’s review of Bray’s book, God is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology.)

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