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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Biblical vs Systematic Theology

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.

NSBT Trinity in John Surface Studio

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.

NSBT afterlife iPhone 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.

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.

NSBT Possessed - Mac

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

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