A Theology Of The New Covenant: The Foundations Of New Testament Theology -- By: Ronald E. Diprose

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 15:1 (Summer 2006)
Article: A Theology Of The New Covenant: The Foundations Of New Testament Theology
Author: Ronald E. Diprose

A Theology Of The New Covenant: The Foundations Of New Testament Theology

Ronald E. Diprose

Ron Diprose is the academic dean at Istituto Biblico Evangelico Italiano. This work was published in Italian by I.B.E.I. edizioni, as a Lux Biblica monograph, in 2002. The original title was La Teologia del Nuovo Patto: Elementi Fondamentali della Teologia del Nuovo Testamento. This is the first of nine chapters.


The idea that has taken shape in this book came to me while I was in Albania in November, 2000. That visit to Albania began badly. My suitcase had been mistakenly sent to an Italian airport so I had to do without it. Under my jacket I was dressed very lightly and the weather was cold. However, what worried me most was that I was without the documents and notes that I had prepared for some important meetings.

As things turned out, this negative circumstance gave rise to some very positive outcomes. For example, I experienced the practical love of Albanian Christians as never before. They lent me essential clothes, a Bible, and writing materials. Moreover, during the meetings at Tirana, I was particularly conscious of the guiding and empowering of the Holy Spirit. At Shkoder, I began reflecting on a New Testament Theology course that I was due to teach at the Italian Bible Institute after my return to Italy. Having been forcibly deprived of my notes that I had hoped to review, I decided to search the Scriptures in view of determining the most correct approach to this discipline.

As I reflected unhurriedly, three things came to mind that shaped my understanding of the theological significance of the New Testament. First, it

occurred to me that the point of departure for the theological understanding of these writings should be the new covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah and inaugurated by Jesus, the Messiah, because this corpus of literature is known as the “New Testament.”

Second, I realized that the distinctiveness of the New Testament writings, as compared with other writings dating from the same general period, depended to a large extent on the revival of the gift of prophecy.

Third, it seemed to me that Jesus’ unique role as testator and mediator of the new covenant, as well as his role as Teacher and Prophet, merited more attention than has generally been accorded them.

Reflecting on the theology of the new covenant in the context of the Balkan States, I was drawn to one of its primary provisions: the promise of eternal forgiveness (with the corollary that Jesus’ disciples are called to forgive each other from the heart). Some years earlier, while at Shkoder,...

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