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Prof/pastor examines Scripture’s storyline

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Helping Christians understand Scripture’s storyline is the aim of his new book, said Thomas Schreiner, a New Testament scholar and pastor in Louisville, Ky.

Schreiner, in an interview, said “The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments” is “fundamentally for people who love the Scriptures and want to know the Scriptures, but they also want to have an understanding of how all of Scripture fits together.”

Schreiner, professor of New Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of commentaries on Romans and Galatians, described the book as having “a pastoral slant” rather than “trying to advance a new or novel scholarly theory.” Schreiner also is pastor of Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville.

The thesis of The King in His Beauty — the title of which comes from Isaiah 33:17 — is that God reclaims His kingship on earth among His people through one man.

“The story of the Bible is that God, as Lord and Creator, is King, and He created us to rule the world for Him,” Schreiner told Southern Seminary’s news magazine, Towers. “Human beings rejected God’s rule and sinned. God is King, but He doesn’t treat human beings as He did fallen angels. He promises in Genesis 3:15 that victory will be won [the world will be reclaimed] through the offspring of the woman who crushes the serpent.”

In addition to private reading, Schreiner noted other ways The King in His Beauty might be used, such as an alternative textbook for an Old or New Testament survey course to help students better connect the big story across the testaments.

“Sometimes there’s not as much focus on how the message coheres with the rest of the Bible,” Schreiner said of various traditional approaches. “We focus so much on the parts that we don’t see the whole [whereas] I look at the Scriptures in terms of a book’s historical setting [as well as] its fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

“The problem with many Old Testament biblical theologies is that they only look at it in terms of what it meant within the Old Testament itself, but I think we should do both: We should look at Leviticus in light of its historical setting and in terms of the fulfillment we have in Jesus Christ,” Schreiner said.

In The King in His Beauty, Schreiner emphasizes the importance of studying the timeline found in Scripture of God’s redemptive work on earth through Jesus Christ. “In biblical theology,” he noted, “we focus on redemptive history and what each biblical author has to say, whether we are reading Leviticus, Lamentations or Luke.”

Writing about the Old Testament for The King in His Beauty was challenging, Schreiner acknowledged, specifically in regard to the wisdom literature and how it fits into the redemptive storyline of the Bible. Books like Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, he said, point to the fear of the Lord.

“In Proverbs, how we live under God’s reign is tied to the particulars, to the details of everyday life,” he said. “We don’t only have a cosmic plan; God relates to us as individuals as we await the consummation.”
RuthAnne Irvin writes for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The full interview with Thomas Schreiner about “The King in His Beauty” is available here. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • RuthAnne Irvin