Editorial: “Biblical Theology”— Reflections on its Importance -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 12:4 (Winter 2008)
Article: Editorial: “Biblical Theology”— Reflections on its Importance
Author: Stephen J. Wellum

Editorial: “Biblical Theology”—
Reflections on its Importance

Stephen J. Wellum*

*Stephen J. Wellum is 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.

The topic of “biblical theology” is not a new one to our SBJT readers, nor is it a new topic to our seminary community. In fact, just two volumes ago (vol. 10.2, Summer 2006), we addressed various aspects of the discipline such as the relation between biblical theology and hermeneutics and the preacher's task of proclaiming the whole counsel of God, as well as seeking to demonstrate biblical theology’s value by showing how it specifically is used in our reading and application of Scripture. Why, then, return to the theme again? The most straightforward answer is that we believe the subject of biblical theology and its actual use in the seminary, church, and home is vitally important for the life and health of God’s people.

It is no doubt the case that every generation must affirm anew a correct doctrine of Scripture. From the halls of church history, we learn the sad yet important lesson that once people move away from a high view of Scripture—namely, that Scripture is nothing less than God’s Word written, fully authoritative in all that it addresses and completely reliable in all that it affirms—it does not take long for God’s people to be weakened in their understanding of the gospel and less effective in their kingdom service. However, we also learn that it is not enough for the church merely to affirm a high view of Scripture in order to preserve God’s people from error. In reality, the most pressing need is a commitment both to affirm Scripture as God’s Word, coupled with a burning desire to study, understand, and apply Scripture, by God’s grace, to our daily lives for God’s glory. Sadly, today, among many evangelicals, we witness the diminishing of Scripture’s authority both in terms of its doctrinal affirmation and its actual use in our churches and our individual lives. Even among conservative evangelicals and Southern Baptists who gladly embrace a high view of Scripture, there is far too much biblical illiteracy which, in the end, leaves us with a failure to understand and apply rightly the “whole counsel of God” to every aspect of our lives. One of the reasons we believe biblical theology is so important for the church is because we are convinced that it can practically help us remedy our biblical illiteracy...

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