Childs: The Christological Enterprise

Biblical Theology: A Proposal (Facets)

“Because Biblical Theology grapples with the reality of the biblical witnesses, and moves beyond the historical moorings of the text, the accusation is often made that such a model is anti-historical, philosophically idealistic, and abstract.  Such a characterization badly misunderstands the approach that is being suggested [in this booklet].  Biblical theological reflection is not timeless speculation about the nature of the good, but the life and death struggle of the concrete historical communities of the Christian church who are trying to be faithful in their own particular historical contexts to the imperatives of the gospel in mission to the world.  But the heart of the enterprise is christological; its content is Jesus Christ and not its own self-understanding or identity.”

“Therefore the aim of the enterprise involves the classic movement of faith seeking knowledge, of those who confess Christ struggling to understand the nature and will of the One who has already been revealed as Lord.  The true expositor of the Christian scriptures is the one who awaits in anticipation toward becoming the interpreted rather than the interpreter.  The very divine reality which the interpreter strives to grasp, is the very One who grasps the interpreter.  The Christian doctrine of the role of the Holy Spirit is not a hermeneutical principal, but that divine reality itself who makes understanding of God possible.”

I really appreciate this description of Biblical Theology by Brevard Childs in this book.  This is far better than what we saw in Goldingay’s commentary on the Psalms; I’d even prefer Childs’ approach to that of Greg Beale’s (though the two would certainly overlap somewhat).  If you can pick this booklet, Biblical Theology: A Proposal (quoted above – page 68-9) for a low price, it is worth the read.  It is short (under 100 pages) and very insightful, especially if you’re studying the nature of Biblical Theology.

shane lems