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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

What Is Biblical Theology?

Though Bible readers may be familiar with all the individual stories recorded throughout Scripture, it seems that few are taught how all those stories fit together. What is the grand unifying theme of the Bible, and how do all the individual chapters and episodes point to a single coherent storyline that culminates in the person and work of Jesus Christ? On this program Michael Horton and Adriel Sanchez discuss these issues with Nancy Guthrie, author of Even Better Than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything About Your Story.


I know when I first heard the phrase (Biblical Theology), my thought was they were talking about theology that is biblical rather than unbiblical, and that’s not really what it is. I think about “What is Biblical Theology”… It is an understanding that the divine author of the Bible, over its 66 books written by many human authors, that there is a central story line that is coherent among all these different genres of scripture and throughout the Old Testament into the New Testament. It is telling us a coherent story of what God is doing in His world through Christ, and it has a beginning and it has a culmination.

All my life, I’ve known the likes of Bible “stories”, but ten or fifteen years ago I began to be introduced to Biblical Theology, this understanding that there is a central storyline, that all of these smaller stories fit into. When you just take one of the individual stories, we tend to make them about us and what we’re supposed to do. What Biblical Theology has done for me is it has helped me see in the Bible who Christ is and what He has done, and that changes everything.

Nancy Guthrie


“Covenant Theology”

Covenant theology is as vast as any systematic theology, touching on all the standard theological loci (topics), because it is simply systematic theology focused on the Bible’s own organizing principle of covenant…. Other theologies display the structure of more parochial interests—for example, liberation theology or feminist theologies—but Covenant theology is an attempt to capture the theology of the whole of Scripture.

Covenant, then, is not itself a locus (topic) of our theology like the Trinity, Christology, or justification. Rather, covenant is a main organizing principle of our theology and correlates with all—or nearly all—the loci. While covenant’s most direct impact is in soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), it extends far beyond this. For example, the economical doctrine of the Trinity is described in classic Covenant theology in terms of an eternal, intra-Trinitarian covenant, commonly called the pactum salutis (or, covenant of redemption). The Scriptures themselves can be seen as having the form of binding covenant documents (e.g., Rev. 22:18–19).

(Steven Baugh, “Covenant Theology Illustrated,” Modern Reformation, July/August 2000)