An In-Depth Interview on Biblical Theology and Christ in the Old Testament

September 04, 2015

by Vern Poythress

Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition provides several comments on Dr. Poythress’s recent as well as upcoming books, including The Miracles of Jesus: How the Savior’s Mighty Acts Serve as Signs of Redemption (Jan 2016), and Reading the Word of God in the Presence of God: A Handbook for Biblical Interpretation (Mar 2016). He also has posted an extensive interview with Dr. Poythress covering biblical theology, Christ-centered interpretation of Old and New Testaments, covenant, divine authorship, and more.

* * *


In your essay you raise the issue of the Bible’s unifying thread. You suggest that one unifying thread is the divine authorship of each book. What would you say are the other main unifying threads, and do you think there is any one main category or concept which stands out as more foundational than the others?


In one way the divine authorship of each book is the most basic unifying thread, because it is what produces all the others.

In addition, the comprehensive unity to the Bible derives from the unity of God’s mind and his plan.

But there are many subordinate unifying threads:

  • salvation through Christ, foreshadowed in the OT;
  • promise and fulfillment;
  • the consistency of God’s character, including his love, mercy, justice, omniscience, sovereignty, and truthfulness;
  • the presence of sin and the struggle against it;
  • judgment on wickedness and reward for righteousness;
  • the theme of deliverance;
  • covenant;
  • mediators;
  • God’s presence, especially in theophany, tabernacle, and temple;
  • sacrifice;
  • communion with God;
  • the word of God;
  • death and resurrection;
  • wisdom from God;
  • faith, love, and hope;
  • justification and sanctification.

The editors of the ESV Study Bible asked me to write about the history of salvation, not only because it is an important unity, but because it is sometimes neglected or misunderstood. We now have before us the complete Bible, but God caused the books within it to be written over a period of centuries, during which he was speaking and working in preparation for the coming of Christ. We need to take into account how God works out his plan of salvation in successive stages. The theme of promise and fulfillment, and especially of fulfillment in Christ, is very important for enriching our understanding of what God is saying and doing in the OT.

…continue reading at The Gospel Coalition.

Vern Poythress

Dr. Poythress (PhD, Harvard; DTh, Stellenbosch) is professor of New Testament interpretation at WTS.

Next Post...

The Covenant: How God Deals with Us Graciously

August 22, 2015

by David Garner