Why Systematicians Really Need to Use the Old Testament

A week ago, Rick Brannan of Logos’s LAB blog, did an analysis of all the scriptural texts used in systematic theologies, and he noticed there an absolute dearth of references to the Old Testament.

Over at CT, Caleb Lindgren, has enlisted several scholars – including myself – to reflect on these statistics, in a piece called Sorry, Old Testament: Most Theologians Don’t Use You.

My response was:

“I found it somewhere between interesting and alarming that the Old Testament features relatively sparsely in most systematic theologies. While one might expect New Testament references to dominate, even so I would have anticipated a decent spattering of the Old Testament precisely because the New Testament is saturated with Old Testament allusions and citations. I mean, the Psalms—especially 110, 2, 118, and 16—really do provide the substructure to apostolic preaching, and yet they are virtually absent from the analysis. The lesson I’m taking from this is that systematic theologians need to spend more time in biblical theology—in particular, in a biblical theology of the Old Testament.”

~Michael Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College

You can also read responses from Kevin Vanhoozer, John Stackhouse, Craig Keener, Michael Allen, and William Dyrness.

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