We are pleased to release 42 volumes of the ongoing New Studies in Biblical Theology series from InterVarsity Press. Edited by D. A. Carson, these titles are now available for the Accordance Bible Software Library as a bundle or by individual title.
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What’s the difference between biblical theology and systematic theology? The IVP Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms is a good source for finding descriptions that distinguish between the two. I’ve added a screenshot above for you to read the full definitions of both disciplines. The definition for systematic theology has a key phrase: “an organized system of thought.” The definition for biblical theology describes it as a summary of “a biblical text or of a biblical author without imposing any modern categories of thought on the text.”
Think of it another way: systematic theology begins with just that—a system, and biblical thought is then organized according to that system. Biblical theology begins with describing what the Bible says without concern for systematic categories. Biblical theology can be referred to with subsets such as Old Testament Theology, New Testament Theology, Pauline Theology, Johannine Theology, or theology of Proverbs or Isaiah or Psalms, for instance. Biblical theology will often focus on specific topics or themes: the Holy Spirit in Ezekiel, grace in Deuteronomy, or eschatology in Mark. There’s an effort to make systematic theology avoid discrepancies or seeming contradictions. Biblical theology can sometimes be a bit more “messy.” There’s not as much interest for everything in biblical theology to fit into nice and neat categories. Biblical theology simply lets the data fall where it may.
As mentioned earlier, the New Studies in Biblical Theology series (NSBT) is ongoing. The series began in the mid-90s and volumes are still being published. As stated in the series preface,
Contributions to the series focus on one or more of three areas: 1. the nature and status of biblical theology, including its relations with other disciplines (e.g.historical theology, exegesis, systematic theology, historical criticism, narrative theology); 2. the articulation and exposition of the structure of thought of a particular biblical writer or corpus; and 3. the delineation of a biblical theme across all or part of the biblical corpora.
The series itself covers a variety of topics, written by top scholars. Note the titles and subtitles listed below. If you’re still struggling with understanding the distinction between biblical and systematic theology, the focus of these subjects may give you a better grasp of the differences.
- Vol. 1 Possessed by God: A New Testament Theology of Sanctification and Holiness by David G. Peterson
- Vol. 2 God’s Unfaithful Wife: A Biblical Theology of Spiritual Adultery by Raymond C. Ortund, Jr.
- Vol. 3 Jesus and the Logic of History by Paul W. Barnett
- Vol. 4 Hear, My Son: Teaching and Learning in Proverbs 1-9 by Daniel J. Estes
- Vol. 5 Original Sin: Illuminating the Riddle by Henri Blocher
- Vol. 6 Now Choose Life: Theology and Ethics in Deuteronomy by Gary Millar
- Vol. 7 Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions by Craig L. Blomberg
- Vol. 8 Slave of Christ: A New Testament Metaphor for Total Devotion to Christ by Murray J. Harris
- Vol. 9 Christ, Our Righteousness: Paul’s Theology of Justification by Mark A. Seifrid
- Vol. 10 Five Festal Garments: Christian Reflections on the Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther by Barry G. Webb
- Vol. 12 Now My Eyes Have Seen You: Images of Creation and Evil in the Book of Job by Robert Fyall
- Vol. 13 Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme by David W. Pao
- Vol. 14 From Every People and Nation: A Biblical Theology of Race by J. Daniel Hays
- Vol. 15 Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible by Stephen G. Dempster
- Vol. 16 Hearing God’s Words: Exploring Biblical Spirituality by Peter Adam
- Vol. 17 The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God by G. K. Beale
- Vol. 18 The Cross from a Distance: Atonement in Mark’s Gospel by Peter G. Bolt
- Vol. 19 Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals with Sinners by Craig L. Blomberg
- Vol. 20 Shepherds After My Own Heart: Pastoral Traditions and Leadership in the Bible by Timothy S. Laniak
- Vol. 21 A Clear and Present Word: The Clarity of Scripture by Mark D. Thompson
- Vol. 22 Adopted into God’s Family: Exploring a Pauline Metaphor by Trevor J. Burke
- Vol. 23 Sealed with an Oath: Covenant in God’s Unfolding Purpose by Paul R. Williamson
- Vol. 24 Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John’s Gospel by Andreas J. Köstenberger
- Vol. 25 God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom by Graham Cole
- Vol. 26 A Gracious and Compassionate God: Mission, Salvation and Spirituality in the Book of Jonah by Daniel C. Timmer
- Vol. 27 The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus by Alan J. Thompson
- Vol. 28 The God Who Makes Himself Known: The Missionary Heart of the Book of Exodus by W. Ross Blackburn
- Vol. 29 A Mouth Full of Fire: The Word of God in the Words of Jeremiah by Andrew G. Shead
- Vol. 30 The God Who Became Human: A Biblical Theology of Incarnation by Graham Cole
- Vol. 31 Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God by Brian S. Rosner
- Vol. 32 With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology by James M. Hamilton, Jr.
- Vol. 33 Covenant and Commandment: Works, Obedience and Faithfulness in the Christian Life by Bradley G. Green
- Vol. 34 Bound for the Promised Land: The Land of Promise in God’s Redemptive Plan by Oren R. Martin
- Vol. 35 “Return to Me”: A Biblical Theology of Repentance by Mark J. Boda
- Vol. 36 Identity and Idolatry: The Image of God and Its Inversion by Richard Lints
- Vol. 37 Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of the Book of Levititicus by L. Michael Morales
- Vol. 38 Calling on the Name of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of Prayer by J. Gary Millar
- Vol. 40 The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom: A Thematic-Theological Approach by Andrew T. Abernathy
- Vol. 41 Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth by Peter H. W. Lau and Gregory Goswell
- Vol. 42 Preaching in the New Testament: An Exegetical and Biblical-Theological Study by Jonathan I. Griffiths
- Vol. 43 God’s Mediators: A Biblical Theology of Priesthood by Andrew S. Malone
- Vol. 44 Death and the Afterlife: Biblical Perspectives on Ultimate Questions by Paul R. Williamson
The volumes in the NSBT series are for those serious about studying biblical themes, but by design, they avoid being overly-technical. Biblical languages are transliterated, so previous study of Hebrew and/or Greek is not required but may be helpful at times.
If you’ve been trying to come up with a list for your summer reading, the NSBT series is a great place to start. Purchase the volumes that interest you most, or add the entire series to your personal Accordance Library and read through them systematically—even if they aren’t systematic in their approach to theology!
New Studies in Biblical Theology (42 Volumes)
List Price $931.80
Regular Price $499