Why have The Biblical Theology Briefings?

Evangelical biblical theology has made good progress in evangelical theology over the last decades. As a school of thought it is popular, but excellent examples of biblical theology in the pulpit are still few and far between. This site aims to make such examples of biblical theology more widely available. This is our positive aim. We want to help produce preaching that creates congregations hungry for the Bible because they are grasping its Christ-centered, God-adoring, tapestry.

Our negative aim is to challenge preaching that develops into moralising, spiritualising and pietism. This sort of preacher assumes they already know in advance what the passage is about and so there is little hard study to do, is focused primarily on us and our contemporary experiences, and has a congregation with little true gospel understanding. This sort of preaching trivialises the text by submerging it under bland evangelical truisms, domesticates the God who spoke it, and bores the congregation who suffer it. At best it may give a man a fish and feed him for a day; it will never teach a man to fish and feed him for life.

The Biblical Theology Briefings grew out of a perceived need, but we are aware of the danger of over-compensating. Biblical theology is not all there is to preaching. We are not offering formula or straitjacket ingredients to the sermon and are keen to guard against reductionism. Where other theological disciplines are relevant and necessary for the sermon, due attention is given to them. We simply want to make available sermon-focused theological thinking that makes plain the clear meaning of the text, that helps congregations put the Bible together for themselves, and that treats the Bible as it demands to be handled.

What are The Biblical Theology Briefings?

The Briefings aim to provide the detailed framework of sermons that model sound biblical theology method and illustrate its vital role in preaching. We ask contributors to either work backwards from a sermon transcript on the selected text, or to write the whole piece as if they were preparing to preach the passage. Some web sites do offer full transcript notes of good biblical theology sermons but the difference here is that we have asked contributors to show their reasoning for the particular interpretation they have taken and to 'think out loud' about the steps involved in handling the text in terms of biblical theology. As such, the Briefings contain some 'technical' discussion that would necessarily be missing in the finished sermon.

The Briefings aim to handle 3 particular types of passage:

  • OT & NT passages which are particularly prone to pietistic and spiritualising or moralising interpretations. (These may be key biblical theology passages, as well as passages that don't have obvious biblical theology motifs). Examples of such interpretations are given in the introduction to each Briefing where relevant.
  • OT & NT passages that have particular bearing on the structure and shape of redemptive history and hence biblical theology
  • NT passages that rely on a careful understanding of their OT background and concepts to ensure correct interpretation.

The Biblical Theology Briefings are primarily tools for preachers, Bible teachers and small group leaders. They are not academic lectures or alternative commentaries and are meant to be used as one resource among many. We want this site to function as a preaching web-workshop that provides a forum for discussing the methodology of the sermon. The Briefings are for the humble thick-skinned - they are not offered as the definitive sermon on a particular passage (as if such a thing existed), and constructive criticism for further improvement is encouraged. The aim is that the Briefings help stimulate good biblical theology and, where appropriate, be freely developed or altered for use in the pulpit - there are good preachers and there are original preachers, but there are no good original preachers.

How do The Biblical Theology Briefings work?

The Biblical Theology Briefings are solicited and managed by the Executive Editor, under the supervision of the Advisory Board. All have an interest in and commitment to biblical theology's impact on preaching.

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