In October, Rebekah Giannini and several ladies from KingsWay travelled to Wake Forest, NC to attend a one-day workshop on Biblical Theology taught by Nancy Guthrie. Read Rebekah’s words below sharing key takeaways, encouraging moments, and additional resources.
What is Biblical Theology you ask?
The working definition that Nancy used for the purpose of the workshop was: “Biblical Theology is a way of understanding and approaching the Bible that recognizes that even though the Bible is made up of various kinds of literature and was written over centuries by forty human authors, it is really telling one cohesive story about what God is doing in the world through Christ.”
I say it was a “working” definition because at this workshop (the clue was in the title!) we did a lot of work! On our own and in groups we spent time going through passages of the Bible and identifying themes in these passages that tie them into the whole Bible and deepen our understanding of the text. (The term Biblical Theology can be used differently by different people, for more information you can see the list of resources at the bottom of this page.)
As we talked and worked over the course of this 5-hour workshop, it became clear to me that this was a new tool for me to use in personal Bible study, and since returning from the workshop I have been very excited about how my personal Bible study has been impacted.
An example from the workshop:
One theme that we can trace through the Bible is the theme of garden/wilderness. This theme represents the idea of God’s place and presence contrasted with his absence, and a place of blessing and beauty contrasted with suffering and desolation. Looking at just a few examples of this theme showed me how tying parts of the Bible into the whole can impact our understanding. In Genesis, Adam and Eve are in God’s place—the Garden of Eden and when they sin, they are driven out of the garden. In Exodus and Numbers the people go through the wilderness to get to God’s place—the promised land. The theme of wilderness comes up throughout the Old Testament, and then when we get to the New Testament, this theme points to our need for and hope in Jesus like a neon sign. The book of John records John the Baptist saying, ”I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” The Gospels record that Jesus himself went into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. God’s people continually find themselves in the wilderness because of their sin, but Jesus left his place next to God and came down into this wilderness. While the Israelites, Moses, David, and all of us were and are unable to obey perfectly in the wilderness of temptation and continually long to be out of the wilderness of suffering, Jesus willingly walked into the wilderness and demonstrated perfect obedience. Because of this, we can look forward to a New Heaven and New Earth where there will be no more wilderness!
For me, this workshop took a big title (and even bigger concept) and presented it as an accessible method of Bible study. I love how this approach traces themes through the Bible and leads always to Jesus. It expanded my love for the Bible as it revealed another way the Bible exquisitely works together and tells one glorious story.
What some of the other ladies had to say about the workshop:
“It is giving me a completely different, new, and exciting way to study the Bible!” – Barbara Fulton
“I am so glad I attended. It is only during the last couple of years that I was introduced to the marvel of Biblical and Systematic Theology, where I began to see how the whole Bible is intricately connected, one redemptive story, with Jesus in the Old and New Testament. Nancy Guthrie reinforced and opened my eyes to deeper truths in this realm. I was left deeply fascinated and now feel like there is an endless well of discovery for me as I journey through my study of God’s Word. In short, she has wet my appetite to delve deeper in God’s Word and see how it all connects” – Priya Samuel
“I love Nancy’s focus on the practice of Bible study, looking for themes, seeing Jesus woven in and through all of Scripture.” – Karin Kruger
“Only thing I can say is it was an eye opener to how to look at the Bible and see Jesus in every aspect of the Bible – from before Creation to His second coming–how it all connects.” – Geri Clarke
“I was encouraged by seeing the many cohesive themes that can be found in scripture from Creation all the way to Revelation, and we only just touched the surface while tracing some of these themes at the workshop. Recognizing God’s thematic designs and care for his people all throughout history is encouraging, and it deepens my love for the Lord and my desire to study his word even more.” – Mindy Buffington
Want to hear more?
If you want to hear more about this workshop you can talk to Barbara, Priya, Karin, Geri, Mindy, Suzy McPeters, Sara Campbell or me (Rebekah)! Each of us would be glad to share more about how much we learned and in what ways we were encouraged by the workshop.
Interested in additional resources?
Ten Things You Should Know About Biblical Theology by Chris Bruno
Biblical Theology in Discipleship by Nancy Guthrie
What is Biblical Theology and Do We Need It? by D. A. Carson
An Introduction to Biblical Theology by D.A. Carson
Or these books:
The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament by Edmund Clowney
According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy
Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Story by Nancy Guthrie