Johnson: We Need Both Biblical And Systematic Theology

Both systematic theology and biblical theology are essential to our study of Scripture for preaching. One contribution of systematic theology, including the historic creeds and confessions of the church, is to safeguard our interpretation of a particular text, lest we misread (and preach) its message in such a way as to bring it into direct contradiction with the pervasive teaching of the Bible in many other texts. Knowing, for example, that the absentee landowner in Jesus’ parable of the wicked vinedressers in some sense represents God, by reading the parable with detailed allegorical precision, we might infer from the landowner’s expectation, “They will respect my son” (Mark 12:6), that Jesus’ impending death was unforeseen by God—a conclusion that can be dismissed immediately as absurd not only in the light of the Bible’s revelation of God’s omniscience generally but also in light of the Old Testament’s predictions of Christ’s death specifically.

Dennis Johnson | Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures, ed. John J. Hughes (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2007), 276–277.


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One comment

  1. No doubt that a systematic theology approach to Scripture is important. The key, however, is knowing which/whose systematic theology is the best. Unfortunately, it seems like almost all “evangelicals” use Grudem as the default go-to book, something with which I disagree. There are much better ones available. But when you work your way through Grudem you find many approaches to scripture that are exactly what evangelicals want to believe.


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