Editorial: Proclaim the Whole Counsel of God -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 09:3 (Fall 2005)
Article: Editorial: Proclaim the Whole Counsel of God
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: Proclaim the Whole Counsel of God

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. degree in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

Second Timothy 3:16 is one of the most foundational texts regarding an evangelical view of Scripture. In it, the apostle Paul reminds us that all Scripture is nothing less than God’s own breathed-out Word, graciously given to us in order to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and thus able thoroughly to equip the man of God, and by extension the people of God, for every good work. Interestingly, however, what we often forget is that the Scripture to which Paul is referring in this text is the OT. No doubt it is legitimate to appeal to this text to argue for the inspiration of both the OT and NT. At the time Paul penned this letter, the NT canon was in the process of being written. But with that said, we must not lose sight of the fact that Paul viewed the OT as fully authoritative, sufficient to lead us to Christ Jesus, and the church neglects it to her peril.

Even though most of us would agree with what has been said, it is a sad fact that too many of our churches neglect the OT. Unfortunately, many among us have only a cursory knowledge of it. For the most part, we have been taught various stories and moral lessons from the OT, which serve to instruct us how and how not to live our Christian lives. But what we often lack is an understanding of how these OT stories first fit into the larger story of God’s redemptive plan and purposes centered in Jesus Christ and, secondly, how they apply to us today. It is important to remember that Scripture does not come to us all at once. Rather, God has graciously chosen to reveal himself progressively to us over time, along a redemptive-historical storyline, ultimately centered in Jesus Christ (cf. Heb 1:1–2), and our reading and application of Scripture must take this into consideration. Otherwise we will misread and misapply Scripture. Thus, in reading any text, including the OT, we not only exegete it in terms of its syntax, context, historical setting, and genre, but we must also understand that text in light of its place in God’s unfolding plan, and, finally, where it is in light of the coming of Christ, that is, the entire canonical context. It is only when we do so that we learn to read Scripture accordi...

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