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Posted: November 15th, 2023

The Old Testament Theology Review

The Old Testament Theology Review

The Old Testament is a collection of ancient writings that reveal the relationship between God and his people. It is also a source of theological reflection and insight for Christians today. However, interpreting the Old Testament can be challenging, as it involves understanding the historical, cultural, and literary context of the texts, as well as their theological implications. In this article, we will review some of the main themes and approaches of Old Testament theology, and how they can enrich our faith and practice.

Old Testament Theology: Definition and Scope

Old Testament theology is the study of the theological ideas and perspectives that emerge from the Old Testament texts. It is not a systematic or dogmatic theology, but rather a descriptive and historical theology, that seeks to understand how the biblical authors expressed their faith in God and his actions in history. Old Testament theology also explores how the Old Testament relates to the New Testament, and how it informs Christian doctrine and ethics.

Old Testament theology is a broad and diverse field, with different methods, perspectives, and emphases. Some of the main approaches are:

– Biblical Theology: This approach focuses on the unity and continuity of the biblical message, tracing the development of God’s revelation and plan throughout the Old and New Testaments. It emphasizes the biblical themes of creation, covenant, redemption, and eschatology, and how they culminate in Christ.
– Canonical Theology: This approach focuses on the final form and shape of the Old Testament canon, as a coherent and authoritative collection of writings. It emphasizes the literary structure, genre, and intertextuality of the texts, and how they convey a theological message to the readers.
– Historical-Critical Theology: This approach focuses on the historical and cultural context of the Old Testament texts, using various tools of historical criticism, such as source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, and social-scientific criticism. It emphasizes the diversity and complexity of the Old Testament traditions, and how they reflect the historical experiences and perspectives of ancient Israel.
– Thematic Theology: This approach focuses on specific topics or themes that are relevant for contemporary theology, such as God, creation, humanity, sin, salvation, law, prophecy, wisdom, etc. It analyzes how these themes are presented and developed in different parts of the Old Testament, and how they relate to Christian doctrine and ethics.

Old Testament Theology: Major Themes

The Old Testament is rich in theological themes and insights that can enhance our understanding of God and his ways. Some of the major themes are:

– God: The Old Testament reveals God as the creator and ruler of all things, who is transcendent, holy, righteous, faithful, loving, merciful, gracious, sovereign, powerful, wise, etc. It also reveals God as a personal being who relates to his people in various ways: as a father, a husband, a king, a judge, a warrior, a shepherd, a friend,
– Creation: The Old Testament affirms that God created everything out of nothing by his word and power. It also affirms that God sustains and governs his creation by his wisdom and providence. It also affirms that God’s creation is good and reflects his glory. It also affirms that human beings are created in God’s image and likeness,
and are called to rule over creation as his representatives.
– Covenant: The Old Testament shows how God established covenants with his people as a way of expressing his grace and commitment to them. It also shows how God gave his people promises and obligations within these covenants. It also shows how God fulfilled his covenants through his acts of deliverance
and blessing. It also shows how God’s covenants point forward to the new covenant in Christ.
– Redemption: The Old Testament narrates how God redeemed his people from slavery in Egypt by his mighty acts of judgment and salvation. It also narrates how God redeemed his people from exile in Babylon by his sovereign intervention
and restoration. It also narrates how God redeemed his people from sin
and death by his promises of forgiveness
and life. It also narrates how God’s redemption anticipates
the ultimate redemption in Christ.
– Eschatology: The Old Testament anticipates
the future consummation
of God’s kingdom
and purposes
in history.
It also anticipates
the future judgment
of God on evil
and wickedness.
It also anticipates
the future restoration
of creation
and humanity.
It also anticipates
the future glory
of God in his presence
and worship.

Old Testament Theology: Relevance for Today

The Old Testament is not only an ancient document,
but also a living word
that speaks to us today.
It is not only a historical record,
but also a theological resource
that informs our faith
and practice.
Some of the ways that Old Testament theology can be relevant for today are:

– It can help us to know God better, by revealing his character, attributes, works, and ways.
– It can help us to worship God more, by inspiring us with his majesty, beauty, holiness, and grace.
– It can help us to trust God more, by reminding us of his faithfulness, promises, and power.
– It can help us to obey God more, by instructing us in his will, law, and commands.
– It can help us to love God more, by inviting us into his covenant, relationship, and fellowship.
– It can help us to serve God more, by equipping us with his gifts, calling, and mission.
– It can help us to hope in God more, by pointing us to his plan, purpose, and future.


The Old Testament is a treasure trove of theological wisdom and insight that can enrich our Christian life. By studying the Old Testament theology, we can gain a deeper and broader understanding of God and his ways. We can also learn how to apply the Old Testament theology to our contemporary context and challenges. We can also discover how the Old Testament theology prepares us for the New Testament revelation and fulfillment in Christ.


– Bartholomew, Craig G., and Michael W. Goheen. The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic,
– Brueggemann, Walter. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. 2nd ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,
– Goldingay, John. Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Gospel. Vol. 1. Downers Grove: IVP Academic,
– House, Paul R. Old Testament Theology. Downers Grove: IVP Academic,
– Wright, Christopher J.H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove: IVP Academic,

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