Until recently I really wasn’t aware of very many “biblio-blogs” — my world has usually been occupied by so called “theo-blogs” — but I’ve become aware of a “strange new sphere.” When I first started blogging, a little over 5 years ago now (and approx. 8 blog names and urls later), I was intending on writing all things “Biblical.” Something happened to me though, I went “Theo,” this move didn’t just start 5 years ago, but actually it was when I was in seminary and introduced to the wonderful world of historical theology (thanks Frost). Prior to this my whole goal in life was to learn the biblical languages, and explicate and exegete the universe of scripture into oblivion. After taking a lot of Greek (and a little Hebrew), doing a “biblical” exegetical Masters thesis, and writing even more exegetical papers, something dawned on me; I realized that I was making all kinds of interpretive decisions, even in my biblical translation work. I realized, at a deeper level, that there was/is something informing the interpretive decisions that I was making when I came to the text. It was at this point that I really decided to press into the “theological” world (I’m wired this way, anyway — more of an ideas guy, than grammarian type) — I’m starting to digress. Getting back on track, I think there is a real place for exegetical/biblical study; but I also think that there is a necessary place for “theological” work as well. In fact if we don’t work out the ‘inner-logic’ that the text presupposes in its often times “occasional writings” we are prone to fall into an array of theo-logical problems.
Beyond all of this, there’s another reason I didn’t want to pursue further formal studies in the realm of Biblical studies; I can’t stand dealing with all of the higher-critical redactional form critical apologetical text variant manuscriptial grammatical stuff that comes along with it. I feel like the scriptures often become prostituted out by the pimps of biblical studies; in other words, I just want the Bible to be allowed to be the Bible (I want to encounter Jesus there). For me, “theology” provides the necessary axis around which biblical studies should spin. I think a healthy theology, is actually a robust Trinitarianly shaped christology; and I think it is this so called ‘inner-logic’ that gives the text of scripture its mooring and shape. I don’t think most “biblical studies” guys get this (I’m being a “little” provocative here); at least this is the way I perceive it, this is the way my “tradition” often times approaches this issue (a rationalizing approach) . . . I think it has left me with a sour taste in my mouth relative to doing biblical studies.
In short: I think biblical studies should be Jesus studies, and insofar as biblical studies are not intentionally “Jesus studies”, to me, it ain’t worth the time (to be fair there are theological studies that fall prey to this same rationalizing tendency). Clear as mud . . .