Biblical Theology: A Canonical, Thematic, and Ethical Approach

By Andreas J. Köstenberger, Gregory Goswell

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Biblical Theology: A Canonical, Thematic, and Ethical Approach

By Andreas J. Köstenberger, Gregory Goswell

... Show All

A Clear, Careful Textbook to Help Bible Students Interpret Scripture

Pastors, thoughtful Christians, and students of Scripture must learn how to carefully read and understand the Bible, but it can be difficult to know where to start. In this clear, logical guide, Andreas J. Kostenberger and Gregory Goswell explain how to interpret Scripture from three effective viewpoints: canonical, thematic, and ethical.

Biblical Theology is arranged book by book from the Old Testament (using the Hebrew order) through the New Testament. For each text, Kostenberger and Goswell analyze key biblical-theological themes, discussing the book’s place in the overall storyline of Scripture. Next, they focus on the ethical component, showing how God seeks to transform the lives of his people through the inspired text. Following this technique, readers will better understand the theology of each book and its author.

  • A Clearly Written Guide on Biblical Theology: Analyzes all 66 books of the Bible, with emphasis on the coherent, unified framework of Scripture
  • Helps Readers Thoughtfully Interpret Scripture: Provides an essential foundation for a valid theological understanding of Scripture that informs Christian doctrine and ethics
  • Ideal for Pastors, Academics, and Other Serious Students of Scripture: This clear, thoroughly researched guide can be used as a textbook in seminary classes studying biblical theology or the Old and New Testaments

Read Chapter 1


Andreas J. Köstenberger

Andreas J. Köstenberger (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is the theologian in residence at Fellowship Raleigh, a cofounder of Biblical Foundations, and the author, editor, or translator of over sixty books. He and his wife, Marny, have four grown children and live in North Carolina. 

Gregory Goswell

Gregory Goswell (PhD, University of Sydney) is academic dean and lecturer in biblical studies (Old Testament) at Christ College, Sydney. He is the author of the EP Study Commentary Ezra–Nehemiah and coauthor of Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth and God’s Messiah in the Old Testament: Expectations of a Coming King.

Product Details

Category: Theology
Biblical Studies
Format: Printed Caseside
Page Count: 1016
Size: 7.0 in x 10.0 in
Weight: 69.65 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-6969-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-6969-2
ISBN-UPC: 9781433569692
Case Quantity: 8
Published: March 21, 2023

Table of Contents

Detailed Outline
Authors' Preface
List of Illustrations

Chapter 1: Biblical Theology: A Canonical, Thematic, and Ethical Approach
Part 1: The Old Testament
Chapter 2: The Old Testament Framework
Chapter 3: The Law
Chapter 4: The Prophets
Chapter 5: The Writings
Part 2: The New Testament
Chapter 6: The Order of Books in the New Testament Canon
Chapter 7: Relationship between the Testaments
Chapter 8: The Gospels
Chapter 9: The Book of Acts
Chapter 10: The Letters of Paul
Chapter 11: The General Epistles
Chapter 12: The Apocalypse
Chapter 13: Conclusion 

Name Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


“When Neil Armstrong finally landed on the moon and famously said, ‘That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,’ on July 20th, 1969, this was the culmination of years of planning, research, and hard work at NASA which silenced, at least for a while, all the naysayers who said such a monumental task could not be accomplished—ever. In many ways, creating a helpful and detailed biblical theology that encompasses every book of the Bible is frankly almost as monumental an achievement as the moon landing, not least because biblical studies has become a discipline that has splintered into many specialized enterprises. Furthermore, Biblical Theology by Köstenberger and Goswell manages to deal not just with the themes or the storylines of the sixty-six books of the Bible, but even with the ethics of each book too, recognizing that the theology and ethics of the Bible are inherently intertwined and interdependent. Whether or not one agrees in detail with the basically Reformed approach to the themes and narrative of the Bible that one finds in this volume, this book is a giant leap in the right direction to producing a coherent and comprehensive understanding of biblical theology.”
Ben Witherington III, Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary; Emeritus Professor, St. Andrews University, Scotland

“More books on biblical theology are appearing of late, but this book is a pearl of great price that does not simply probe the central themes and ethics of individual books and authors—it tracks their place in the storyline of Scripture. I wish I’d had this book for my first classes when I began studying God’s word, but it also offers a wealth of insights for those already schooled in Scripture. It is brilliantly conceived and executed, and I recommend it highly for students at all levels, pastors, and researchers.”
David E. Garland, Professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary

“This work meets a genuine and crucial need to build biblical theology inductively from the constituent works of the canon. While listening to the individual voices, the authors masterfully demonstrate the coherence of the canonical symphony highlighting God’s love for the world in Christ. The authors’ competence in addressing and synthesizing such a broad range of material with sensitivity and effectiveness is remarkable!”
Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Biblical theology explores the interactions of the literary, historical, and theological dimensions of the various biblical books, focusing on the Bible’s unifying storyline. It is, by definition, interdisciplinary. Yet, two angles, intrinsic to the nature of the Bible itself, are sorely neglected in most studies of biblical theology: the significance of the order of the books in the Bible and the Bible’s moral teaching. Biblical Theology by Köstenberger and Goswell incorporates canonical and ethical approaches, resulting in a rich and rewarding exposition that is comprehensive in scope. The book is a magisterial study of immense value to students and scholars, preachers and pastors, and anyone interested in the Bible’s teaching about the will of God for his people and his world.”
Brian S. Rosner, Principal, Ridley College

“In Biblical Theology, Goswell and Köstenberger are a dynamic duo, uniting their specializations in each Testament for the good of the church. The result is a treasure trove of insights into the theology of each book of the Bible and the rich connections binding these books together. An impressive work!”
Andrew Abernethy, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College; author, Savoring Scripture

“In this wide-ranging, well-researched book, Andreas Köstenberger and Gregory Goswell make a significant and welcome contribution to the field of biblical theology. The authors carefully examine the Scriptures’ canonical structure and book order, wrestle seriously with their unity and diversity, and rightly stress the essential ethical component of biblical theology. This volume abounds with fresh insights and faithful exegetical and theological reflections, and I warmly commend it to pastors, scholars, and all serious students of Scripture.”
Brian J. Tabb, President, Academic Dean, and Professor of Biblical Studies, Bethlehem College and Seminary

“In Biblical Theology, Köstenberger and Goswell clearly define and locate biblical theology within its canonical, thematic, and ethical setting. They cover every major section of Scripture within the overall biblical storyline while also showing the relation between the Testaments. You rarely find a work that approaches the Scriptures from an exegetical, theological, and ethical perspective. Here you have it! Their marvelous contribution is comprehensive in scope, holistic in approach, grounded in solid biblical exegesis, and attentive to the unity and diversity of the Scriptures. They are faithful to the Bible’s overarching goal by identifying the love of God in Christ as the heart of the biblical story. Students and church leaders looking for a reliable and engaging resource to guide them through the Bible’s message about God and how he relates to his people and his world, look no further. I recommend it highly!”
J. Scott Duvall, Fuller Professor of Biblical Studies, Ouachita Baptist University

“Köstenberger and Goswell’s Biblical Theology is a remarkably comprehensive treatment. It offers both a bird’s-eye view—giving more attention than is often done to the theological significance of the arrangement of the biblical books within the canon—and an ‘up close and personal view’ analyzing the theological contribution of each book of the Bible. The authors describe the ‘ethical’ significance and contribution to the storyline of Scripture of each book and each collection of books. This volume thus puts on clear display both the diversity and the unity of our single canonical volume.”
Douglas J. Moo, Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

“Evangelical biblical theologians have often been either too restrictive or too broad. In this refreshing volume, Köstenberger and Goswell refuse to reduce the Bible to a single concept yet refrain from multiplying endless categories. By offering a book-by-book approach that respects the Bible’s canonical ordering, they helpfully identify the major themes of each inspired work and situate them within the grand storyline of Scripture. A personal favorite is their inductive treatment of biblical ethics. I commend this volume without reservation to Christians who are serious about growing in their literacy of God’s word.”
Cory M. Marsh, Professor of New Testament, Southern California Seminary; author, A Primer on Biblical Literacy

“The authors break new ground by furnishing much more under ‘biblical theology’ than one normally finds. In this book, we encounter methodological considerations and history of the discipline, hermeneutics (implicitly), canonical placement and its implications, theological exposition leading to thematic highlights of each book of the Bible, the ethics of every book, and each book’s place in the Bible’s storyline. A lengthy and full conclusion ties everything together. The extensive scholarship of Köstenberger and Goswell combines seamlessly, resulting in a wide-ranging synthesis drawing on a wealth of bibliography. The last chapter even offers a vision for the future of biblical theology. Here, then, is a compendium of recent generations of scholarship, with fresh insights for grappling with the whole counsel of Scripture in this and the coming generation.”
Robert W. Yarbrough, Professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

“Biblical theology holds in tension a variety of complexities—unity versus diversity, individual book versus corpus or canon, theme versus storyline. It indeed is a challenge to encompass all the layers of Scripture’s richness. In that way, this volume makes a major contribution to the field in that it endeavors to show how all these factors build upon each other into a cohesive whole. This work then is not only a resource to observe biblical theology in every book of Scripture, but also gives much food for thought as to how we engage in biblical theology.”
Abner Chou, President and John F. MacArthur Endowed Fellow, The Master’s University

“How do we hear the meaning of individual parts of the Bible in light of the larger whole or determine overall themes in the Bible with proper respect to its parts? In Biblical Theology, Andreas Köstenberger and Gregory Goswell offer a welcomed method for discovering the theology of the whole Bible by beginning with careful interpretation of its diverse parts. What I love most about this seeming magnum opus is that it not only teaches a method for doing biblical theology that readers can put into practice but also models it by careful treatment of each book of the Bible where rich themes are drawn out, connections made, and the resounding voice of the triune God heard. Add to this a section on the ethical message derived from the Bible’s theology, and Köstenberger and Goswell’s Biblical Theology is something all serious readers of the Bible will want to keep close at hand.”
Sam Ferguson, Rector, The Falls Church Anglican, Falls Church, Virginia

“In an age when most biblical scholarship is skeptical about the unity of the Bible, Köstenberger and Goswell have coauthored an impressive biblical theology text—a text in the tradition of Adolf Schlatter, Geerhardus Vos, and Charles H. H. Scobie, which holds together admirably both the unity of the Bible and the diversity of each canonical book’s contribution to the grand storyline of redemptive history. Readers will appreciate the consistent application of Köstenberger and Goswell’s solid methodology, their sophisticated exegetical engagement of the Scriptures themselves, and their scholarly engagement of the secondary literature. This is a fine text that will serve the church well.”
C. Scott Shidemantle, Professor of Biblical Studies, Geneva College

“Very few scholars are brave enough to attempt to produce a biblical theology covering both Testaments. Köstenberger and Goswell ambitiously and innovatively seek to do so by considering the themes, ethics, and place within the storyline of Scripture of each biblical book. They pack a lot in and provide the reader with judicious exegetical decisions, insightful ethical reflection, and sound theological conclusions. Highly recommended.”
Alexander E. Stewart, Vice-President for Academic Services and Professor of New Testament, Gateway Seminary

“Andreas J. Köstenberger and Gregory Goswell have provided a unique and significant contribution with Biblical Theology. Their work is not only comprehensive, but it also provides details into concerns not often addressed by standard texts on the subject of biblical theology. Their canonical approach takes seriously the fact that a ‘biblical theology’ depends upon the relationships between books within a book. Their thematic approach recognizes the significance of what mattered to the individual authors of Scripture, while also tracing the threads that reflect the message of the divine author. Finally, the attention given to an ethical reading comes with the understanding that biblical theology, from Genesis to Revelation, is inherently applicable. The value of this work cannot be overstated!”
Richard Alan Fuhr Jr., Professor, Rawlings School of Divinity, Liberty University; coauthor, Inductive Bible Study: Observation, Interpretation, and Application through the Lenses of History, Literature, and Theology