Length: 155 pgs
Author: Michale Lawrence
Michael Lawrence’s Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church is one of the most helpful and important books on ministry I’ve read. I’m not recommending this book for everyone, but for readers who are teachers and preachers I cannot commend it enough. I already know I want to read it again next year more slowly and purposefully. As teachers and preachers we are all theologians, but are we Biblical ones. I think most are not. Many will use the Bible to support their theology, but that does not make it Biblical. Many have a segmented theology, they believe this, and they believe that, but if you were to ask what the Bible was about as a whole they couldn’t provide an answer other than a jumbled composite of their segmented beliefs. Biblical theology is about the whole story of the whole Bible. Ignore this overarching storyline will always result in taking a text out of context.
The Bible interprets us by declaring what the main events of reality are, and then telling us to read ourselves in light of that story.
This means that the primary question that the historical-grammatical method is seeking to answer is not, “What does that word mean?” but “What does that sentence mean?” In answering that question, we quickly realize that context is king. So the first step of exegesis is to read the text, the whole text, over and over again. Interpretation actually begins with the whole, not the part. Then, in the context of the whole, we work backwards through the parts, back to sentences, back all the way down to individual words. What we learn and discover there then takes us back to the whole with a more accurate and perhaps nuanced understanding of meaning.