Resources For A Redemptive-Historical Reading Of Scripture

“Biblical theology,” or “redemptive-historical” theology may be new terms or perhaps confusing. After all, is not Reformed theology supposed to be biblical? Yes, it is but in the history of theology there developed, in the 19th century, a movement that intended to do theology that, to a large degree, set aside traditional “dogmatic” or “systematic” theology and vocabulary. In a sense it was a “back to the Bible” movement but done under a set of mostly unhappy assumptions about the nature of Scripture, the unity of Scripture, the authorship of Scripture, and the reliability of Scripture. Then, after the turn of the 20th century Princeton Seminary called a young Dutch scholar, Geerhardus Vos to leave the Theological College of the Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, where, as it happens, he had been teaching Reformed Dogmatics, to become Professor of Biblical Theology. Vos criticized the 19th-century German Biblical Theology movement but learned from it and renewed the old Reformed redemptive-historical reading of Scripture. In so doing he became a pioneer in the modern, believing, Reformed biblical theology movement. In short, biblical theology, as conceived by Vos, his colleague B. B. Warfield, and Vos’ student, John Murray among others, was intended to be the study of the unfolding story of redemption, paying attention to the threads of Scripture and to the unifying story of Scripture. Reading Scripture this way, the way Scripture wants to be read and teaches us to read it, helps us to see (as our Lord indicated in Luke 24) that all the Scriptures testify of him.

Here is a list of resources from the introductory to the more advanced:

  1. What the Bible Is All About
  2. This Christian Life
  3. Reading the Scriptures As the Apostles Did Or Some Other Way?
  4. Derke Bergsma, Redemption: The Triumph of God’s Great Plan
  5. Derke Bergsma, Monday Through Friday in the Word: Weekday Inspiration
  6. Dennis Johnson, Journeys With Jesus: Every Path in the Bible Leads Us To Christ
  7. Brown and Keele, Sacred Bond: Covenant Theology Explored
  8. Is There An Apostolic Hermeneutic And Can We Imitate It?
  9. Reading the Prophets With The New Testament (1)
  10. Reading the Prophets With The New Testament (2)
  11. Dennis Johnson, Walking With Jesus Through His Word: Discovering Christ In All Of Scripture
  12. Dennis Johnson, Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ From All The Scriptures
  13. Edmund Clowney, The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament
  14. Geerhardus Vos, Grace and Glory (his chapel messages from Princeton Seminary)
  15. Edmund Clowney, Preaching Christ in All of Scripture
  16. Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology
  17. Michael Horton, Introducing Covenant Theology
  18. Geerhardus Vos, The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church
  19. M. G. Kline, The Essential Writings
  20. Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom
  21. Ned B. Stonehouse, The Witness of the Synoptic Gospels to Christ
  22. Geerhardus Vos, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos
  23. Geerhardus Vos, The Eschatology of the Old Testament
  24. Geerhardus Vos, The Self-Disclosure of Jesus
  25. Geerhardus Vos, The Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews
  26. Geerhardus Vos, Pauline Eschatology
  27. Johannes Cocceius, The Doctrine of the Covenant and Testament of God
  28. J. V. Fesko, “On the Antiquity of Biblical Theology,” in Resurrection and Eschatology: Theology in the Service of the Church: Essays in Honor of Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., ed. by Lane G. Tipton and Jeffrey C. Waddington (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008).

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  1. In the discussion of Reading the Prophets With the New Testament 2, Adrian Clark referred to a discussion of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments on the OPC podcast: reformed, called the Vos Group. This is a very in depth, continuing discussion, as Rev. Camden Bucey and Dr. Wayne Tipton, who teaches at WTS in Philadelphia, go through Vos’ book a few pages at a time. There are almost 50 episodes and counting so far! Episode 46 is particularly insightful. I am going through this series and am finding it very helpful in understanding Vos.

  2. As the boys said in the podcast Scripture just makes sense and the dispensation always/literal way of reading which causes so much confusion is dispelled by this. The Emmaus Road instance is a huge backdrop to this as well as Christ’s own words about the OT looking to him. (also note they record weeks in advance thus the Marcionite statement of Andy Stanley was not commented on.) Theocast is the way I got exposed to Dr. Clark and Heidelblog. The boys are further than I am on the journey into the confessional/Reformed wel but between them, Whitehorse Inn (which they recommended), and Heidelblog/Heidelcast, the Gospel has been made more and more clear and joyous for this man who grew up in the Pietistic background.

    I was able to apply this and what the boys were talking about as I preached this past Sunday out of Psalm 62. It points to Christ and the power of his saving work as well as it being the only way for us to be saved is “from God alone.” (Through the work of Christ which God decreed).

    Also, it was an honor and great to meet and talk with you and your wife couple weeks ago Dr. Clark, as well as Rev. Gordon. Thank you for being gracious with your time. We appreciated it.

    • I must clarify the “from God alone” part meaning that salvation is from God as in he is the source of the salvation. Not that we are being saved away from him.

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