13.07.2006 · Biblical Essays (1904) [J
1904 biblical essay, Coursework Writing Service
This is one of the few proposals which has been made for an 'all-biblical' theology and it certainly has its attractive features. It attempts to do justice to the Old Testament on its own terms stressing that all areas of life belong to life under God. It seeks to recognize elements of both continuity and discontinuity in the relation between the Testaments (Klein recognizes that there are considerable differences in the understanding of 'life' in Old Testament and New Testament, and indeed in different parts of the New Testament). Nevertheless as the whole scheme is developed one has to ask whether it does not begin to become somewhat artificial. Subthemes are introduced which are not related to 'life' in the biblical material itself. 'Life' is an important biblical theme, but not the only one. Once again, exclusive emphasis on one theme tends to downplay other major themes which run through both Testaments (in this case, for example, the theme of 'the People of God' appears to be under-represented).
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If finding one central theme for the Old Testament and for the New Testament poses difficulties, this is even more the case in relation to one theme which could serve as an organizing principle for a Biblical Theology which embraces both Testaments. Yet suggestions have not been lacking. One of the commonest is the theme of 'the Kingdom of God'. A recent example is G. Goldsworthy's Gospel and Kingdom which utilizes the following outline: The Kingdom pattern established (Eden), The Kingdom promised (Abraham), The Kingdom foreshadowed (David, Solomon), The Kingdom at hand (Jesus Christ) and The Kingdom consummated (Return of Christ). Using one term as the key to the whole of Scripture in this way inevitably appears somewhat forced and artificial. A particular problem with the expression 'the Kingdom of God' is that while it is a major theme in the Synoptics the actual phrase does not even occur in the Old Testament and it plays almost no role in the New Testament outside the Synoptics. It can however be argued that a more general expression such as 'the rule of God', 'the reign of God' or 'the sovereignty of God' does identify one of the major themes of the Bible. G. Fohrer contends that it would be possible to sketch a Biblical Theology on the basis of the twin themes of 'the rule of God' and 'communion between God and man '.