How do we understand all the different parts of the Bible? In a brief video below, Dr. John Tweeddale explains that covenant theology helps us make sense of the Bible.
When you sit down for your personal devotions or for family worship, how do you read your Bible? What is the relationship between Malachi and Matthew, between Leviticus and Luke, between Genesis and Revelation? How do we understand the different parts of the Bible to the person and work of Jesus Christ? How does the landscape of Scripture fit together? What about the relationship of the law to the gospel? How do we think about the relationship between Israel and the church? Well, covenant theology seeks to answer those questions and many more. Covenant theology is an organizing principle that structures the entire biblical message. Like the air we breathe, covenant theology pervades every text of Scripture. Like the interstate highway, it actually connects the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible. You can even think of covenant theology as the Route 66 of Scripture—that goes from Genesis to Revelation. For this reason, the great Princeton theologian even called covenant theology “the architectonic principle of Reformed theology.” It structures our understanding of how we read the Bible.
We can actually even think of covenant theology as a set of spectacles that God gives us that we can read the text of Scripture to expound our understanding of His relationship with us. And so covenant theology seeks to give form to the relationship and the promise that God gives: “I will be your God, and you will be My people.” This divine pledge establishes the baseline of covenant theology, it actually shapes every historical relationship between God and His people from Genesis to Revelation. This divine pledge, “I will be your God, and you will be My people,” centers on the person and work of Christ and finds fulfillment in a new heaven and new earth. So the great Scottish reformer Robert Rollock said that ‘all the Word of God pertains to some covenant.’ Covenant theology is an organizing principle. It’s a biblical-theological hermeneutic that helps us understand how all of God’s Word fits together for a united message that centers on the person and work of Christ.
Dr. John Tweeddale is academic dean and professor of Theology at Reformation Bible College.