by Clem Boyd, Communication Content Manager
Cedarville University professors Dr. Jeremy Kimble, associate professor of theology, and Dr. Ched Spellman, associate professor of biblical and theological studies, have authored a new textbook, “Invitation to Biblical Theology.” The release date is August 4 through Kregel.
Kimble and Spellman spent two and a half years putting together their 500-page volume, which introduces readers to the study of theology by tracing the revelation about God through each of the Bible’s 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation.
Kimble and Spellman hope that readers of “Invitation to Biblical Theology” will gain a richer understanding of what each book in the Bible teaches about God in comparison to other works written before it and with a view to books written after it. Theologians estimate the Old Testament, comprising Genesis to Malachi, was written from 1400 to 400 B.C. The New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation, is estimated to have been written from about 50 to 90 A.D.
Biblical theology most often focuses on the way the biblical writers compose their own books and develop theological themes in relation to other biblical texts. Because of this, biblical theology serves as a complement to other disciplines like systematic theology, which emphasizes the logical coherence of the Scripture's teaching, or historical theology, which emphasizes the interpretation of the Scriptures throughout church history.
“The Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles quote and allude to earlier portions of the Old Testament, like Genesis, Deuteronomy or Psalms,” Kimble said. “In this way, the biblical authors are showing us how they interpreted what came before.”
This textbook will be used in Cedarville’s Biblical Theology course, which is taken by all Master of Divinity students, Spellman explained. Selections from the book will also be utilized in courses involving biblical interpretation and Old and New Testament theology.
“This book focuses on equipping students to grasp the big picture of the Bible and see how individual parts relate to that overarching framework,” Spellman added. “Some textbooks focus on particular aspects of this task, whereas this book pulls together hermeneutics, the biblical storyline, central themes and application into a single volume.”
While the book’s primary audience is undergraduate and graduate Bible students, pastors and others desiring to know the Scriptures better would benefit as well, Kimble said.
“Having a good biblical theology will shape your Bible reading because you’ll read more accurately,” he explained. “It will shape your prayers because you’re seeing the structure of the Scripture. And it will shape your evangelism and discipleship because you’re thinking through whole Bible realities.”
Working on the book was transformative for both professors. “Just studying from Genesis to Revelation about God and his glory was a really revealing time for me,” Kimble said. “Just seeing who he is, what he does, how he exists, and why he does what he does – his purposes and his sovereignty – was good for me to come under and be humbled by again and again.”
“In writing this volume, I have often been struck by the bigness of God and his purposes in the world,” Spellman related. “Reading and heeding the Scriptures is difficult but rewarding. Trying to capture the storyline of the biblical writings on their own terms has been a humbling and sanctifying task.
“My hope is that readers of this book will be able to grasp the meaning of the biblical literature and behold the greatness of our God."
Kimble added, “We want to be good theologians for the sake of the church.”
“Invitation to Biblical Theology” is available through Amazon, Kregel.com and online Christian book retailers.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,380 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Master of Divinity program, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and high student engagement ranking. For more information about Cedarville University, visit www.cedarville.edu.