Perhaps most interesting—and potentially disturbing—is the dearth of Old Testament references among the 100 most-cited verses. This raises the question of whether the Old Testament is necessary for Christian theology, and whether it should be included in systematic theology more often.
Is such a strong preference for the same key verses, especially those in the New Testament, a problem in systematic theology? CT asked experts to weigh in.
There then follows a paragraph each from Kevin Vanhoozer, Craig Keener, John Stackhause, Michael Bird, Michael Allen, and William Dyrness.
What is immediately striking to me is the frequency of Old Testament references. Systematic theologies had nine OT references in the top 100. In Biblical theologies, seven of the top ten references are from the Old Testament, and 29 of the top 100.
Twenty-nine is markedly larger than nine. But, the still-substantial slant to the New Testament perhaps suggests a tendency to do primarily “New Testament biblical theology” in practice, if not always in title. As a balancing resource, perhaps we need a new sub-publishing genre of “Old Testament biblical theology”?
The folks at Zondervan sponsored this year’s Institute for Biblical Research meeting reception. In addition to the deserts there, they very kindly provided attending members with a copy of the recent (2012) Counterpoints volume on Paul, edited by Michael Bird. According to the publisher’s description:
The apostle Paul was a vital force in the development of Christianity. Paul’s historical and religious context affects the theological interpretation of Paul’s writings, no small issue in the whole of Christian theology.
Recent years have seen much controversy about the apostle Paul, his religious and social context, and its effects on his theology. In the helpful Counterpoints format, four leading scholars present their views on the best framework for describing Paul’s theological perspective, including his view of salvation, the significance of Christ, and his vision for the churches.
Contributors and views include:
Reformed View: Thomas R. Schreiner
Catholic View: Luke Timothy Johnson
Post-New Perspective View: Douglas Campbell
Jewish View: Mark D. Nanos
Like other titles in the Counterpoints: Bible and Theology collection, Four Views on the Apostle Paul gives theology students the tools they need to draw informed conclusions on debated issues.
General editor and New Testament scholar Michael F. Bird covers foundational issues and provides helpful summaries in his introduction and conclusion. New Testament scholars, pastors, and students of Christian history and theology will find Four Views on the Apostle Paul an indispensable introduction to ongoing debates on the apostle Paul’s life and teaching.