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Covenant Relationship in Biblical Theology – Part I

August 9, 2007

What follows is an imposed set of questions in order to convey some of the key content in Scott Hafemann’s essay/chapter “The Covenant Relationship” in Central Themes in Biblical Theology. All answers are direct quotes.

What is biblical theology? At its most fundamental level, the subject matter of biblical theology is the Bible’s understanding of God’s character and purposes. This ‘theology’ is displayed in the developing relationship between God and his people (Israel and the Church) and, through them, in God’s relationship with the world…history, not the heart, is the locus of divine revelation. Moreover, since biblical history focuses on God’s rescue of humanity from its rebellion against its creator and sustainer, it can be called the ‘history of redemption’ or ‘salvation history’.

What is the “covenant relationship”? It is the dynamic, historical arena within which God reveals himself. As such, it provides the interpretive lens for understanding who God is, who his people are and how they relate to one another.

What is the role of the covenant in the Bible? This does not mean that the ‘covenant relationship’ is the one, central theme of the Bible…More appropriately, the concept of the covenant relationship provides the structure that serves to integrate the interrelated themes developed throughout the history of redemption delineated in the Scriptures.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff permalink
    August 10, 2007 9:44 am

    Should I go buy this book?

  2. August 10, 2007 10:04 am

    ciampa and hafemann’s chapters are worth the whole book, especially at the westminster price. if you had hafe for a theology course, it will sound very familiar.

  3. August 10, 2007 11:14 am


    brady turned me on to your blog recently and i just wanted you to know that i’ve found it encouraging for both my mind and my heart.

    i hope you guys are doing well. email me sometime… i might be in Austin in Sept. and Jeff and I talked about visiting you.

  4. August 10, 2007 1:59 pm

    So great to “hear” from you Trey. thanks for the encouraging note about the blog, just what i hope for-impact on mind and heart!

    Please do come in September. It would be wonderful to see you!

  5. August 10, 2007 2:42 pm

    well it’s been equally great “listening” to you. the part of your blog i find most intriguing is this:

    [i]Through nature and nanotechnology, science and sport, math and media, art and all things profane, run the two interweaving threads of human purpose and divine drama. A wondrously complex project which has departed from its model, but not from its blueprint, creation and its cultures are destined for perfection. The beginning can only be understood from the end, and the end is a new beginning.[/i]

    do you have more written somewhere about this idea? or, do can i get more when if i visit in Sept?

  6. August 10, 2007 4:02 pm

    Of course! Theological integration is a passion for me. I have written papers on the biblical basis for participating in culture, but I have yet to publish an article on it. Lots rolling around in the head that needs to get out.

    I am working on an article right now that advocates a theologically integrative approach to work. I will throw up the intro on the blog, and you can let me know if this is teh angle you are interested in or not.

  7. August 10, 2007 4:15 pm

    That said, the Engaging Culture category on my blog explores some of this. Creation Project is an attempt to embody what that blurb talks about. The theology that drives it is present here and there.

    Look forward to your thoughts on these things, no doubt you have some good ones.

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