Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments
Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1948. Pp. 426. $20.00, paperback.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina
In Biblical Theology, Geerhardus Vos provides the results of his biblical understanding that he obtained from his 39 years of teaching at Princeton Seminary. The book is a compilation of his teaching notes edited by his own son to make it available for publication. (vi) In this collection, Vos provides an account of the unfolding plan of God in the history of redemption by analyzing God’s special revelation. While mapping out the history of redemption, throughout the book he is constantly dialoging and refuting the liberal theories of the history of religions school and the speculations of the higher critics from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The book is divided into three segments: the Mosaic epoch, prophetic epoch and New Testament epochs of revelation. Vos begins in the first two chapters by defining Biblical Theology as that branch of exegetical theology, which deals with the process of the self-revelation of God deposited in the Bible. (5) Biblical theology develops progressively, as God reveals Himself in history through both His actions and words to us in Scripture. In chapters three through five, Vos covers the pre-redemptive revelation to Adam, the Noachian revelation, and the period between Noah and the Patriarchs. Then in chapters six and seven we explore revelation during the patriarchal period and the period of Moses.
In part 2, the prophetic epoch of revelation is explored and a fundamental understanding of the prophetic is first developed. Followed by discussion of the theories, concepts, mode, reception and content of prophecy in the biblical revelation.
In part 3, the revelation of the New Testament is explored with primary and exclusive focus on the gospels and Jesus. Revelation connected with the Nativity, John the Baptist, and Jesus probation and public ministry are discussed.
One of the strengths of the book is that it provides the reader with an understanding of revelation in its historical context. Developing a foundation in biblical theology will help the student of Scripture avoid thinking myopically about the text, which will prevent systematic theological proof-texting not grounded in exegetical interpretation. Vos explains that, “Biblical Theology occupies a position between Exegesis and Systematic Theology in the encyclopedia of theological disciplines…its principle of organizing the Biblical material is historical rather than logical.” (v) Vos delivers a thorough historical outlining of the Redemptive storyline of the bible while displaying the unity of the Old and New Testaments.
Another strength of the book is it emphasizes that truth carries a “multiformity of aspects” in revelation. (8) Understanding that revelation is multi-sided...