Moody Handbook of Theology, Revised and Expanded

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The study of God, His nature, and His Word are all essential to the Christian faith. Now those interested in Christian theology have a newly revised and updated reference tool in the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Moody Handbook of Theology.


In this classic and timeless one-volume resource, Paul Enns offers a comprehensive overview of the five dimensions of theology: biblical, systematic, historical, dogmatic, and contemporary. Each section includes an introduction, chapters on key points, specific studies pertinent to that theology, books for further study, and summary evaluations of each dimension. Charts, graphs, glossary, and indexes add depth and breadth.

Theology, once the domain of academicians and learned pastors, is now accessible to anyone interested in understanding the essentials of what Christians believe. The Moody Handbook of Theology is a concise doctrinal reference tool for newcomers and seasoned veterans alike.

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Editorial Reviews

A reference to fundamentalist Christian theology from an evangelical point of view, divided into biblical, systematic, historical, dogmatic, and contemporary studies. Includes a glossary and indices of subjects, people, and scriptures. For the truly called rather than the simple believer or scholar. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802434340
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/1/2008
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 766
  • Sales rank: 975,638
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.74 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL ENNS (B.R.E., Winnipeg Bible College; Th.M., Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) ministers at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida and serves as a professor and the director of the Tampa Extension, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Enns has also taught at Northwestern College in Minneapolis, and at both Dallas and Talbot Theological Seminaries. He is the author of twelve books including The Moody Handbook of Theology and Approaching God. Dr. Enns has two sons with his beloved and late wife, Helen.
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Copyright © 2008 Paul Enns
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-3434-0

Chapter One


THE TERM BIBLICAL THEOLOGY can be used in different ways. Although the usage adopted in this volume focuses on a special method of theological study, it should be understood that the term is widely used to refer to a movement that is basically antagonistic to evangelical faith. This negative usage is here considered and discarded before the legitimate meaning of biblical theology is discussed.

First of all, then, this expression is used to describe the biblical theology movement. This was an outgrowth of liberalism and neoorthodoxy. It began with the publication of Walther Eichrodt's first volume of Old Testament theology in 1933 and ended with the publication of von Rad's second volume of Old Testament theology in 1960. Brevard Childs suggests the movement experienced its demise in May 1963 with the publication of John A. T. Robinson's Honest to God.

The movement initially was a reaction to liberalism and sought a return to an exegetical study of the Scriptures, particularly emphasizing a study of biblical words. Kittel's monumental ten-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament is an outgrowth of that. As a movement, however, it never separated itself from its liberal underpinnings; it retained the historical-critical methodology. For example, in studying the gospels, adherents of the biblical theology movement applied the historical-critical methodology in attempting to discover which of the words attributed to Christ were actually spoken by Him.

While the movement recognized the weak message of liberalism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it retained the liberal presuppositions concerning the Bible. Adherents held to the neoorthodox view of revelation, taught evolution as a theory of origins, and emphasized the human aspect of the Bible rather than the divine. As a result, the movement was self-defeating. It was impossible to do a serious, exegetical study of the Scriptures while at the same time denying the authority of the Scriptures.

A second way in which the term biblical theology is used is for that methodology that takes its material in a historically oriented manner from the Old and New Testaments and arrives at a theology. It is exegetical in nature, drawing its material from the Bible as opposed to a philosophical understanding of theology; it stresses the historical circumstances in which doctrines were propounded; it examines the theology within a given period of history (as in Noahic or Abrahamic eras) or of an individual writer (as Pauline or Johannine writings).

Biblical theology in the above-defined sense may be called "that branch of theological science which deals systematically with the historically conditioned progress of the self-revelation of God as deposited in the Bible."

Several elements are important to observe in this definition:


Biblical theology investigates the periods of history in which God has revealed Himself or the doctrinal emphases of the different biblical writers as set forth in a systematic fashion. Biblical theology, while presented in a systematized form, is distinct from systematic theology that assimilates truth from the entire Bible and from outside the Scriptures in systematizing biblical doctrine. Biblical theology is narrower. It concentrates on the emphasis of a given period of history as in the Old Testament or on the explicit teaching of a particular writer as in the New Testament.


Biblical theology pays attention to the important historical circumstances in which the biblical doctrines were given. What can be learned from the Old Testament era of revelation? What were the circumstances in the writing of Matthew or John? What were the circumstances of the addressees of the letter to the Hebrews? These are important questions that help resolve the doctrinal emphasis of a particular period or of a specific writer.

Progress of Revelation

An orthodox doctrine that evangelicals have long held is the belief in progressive revelation; God did not reveal all truth about Himself at one time but revealed Himself "piecemeal," portion by portion to different people throughout history (cf. Heb. 1:1). Biblical theology traces that progress of revelation, noting the revelation concerning Himself that God has given in a particular era or through a particular writer. Hence, God's self-disclosure was not as advanced to Noah and Abraham as it was to Isaiah. An earlier book of the New Testament, such as James, reflects a more primitive view of the church than books written later, such as the pastoral epistles.

Biblical Nature

In contrast to systematic theology, which draws its information about God from any and every source, biblical theology has a narrower focus, drawing its information from the Bible (and from historical information that expands or clarifies the historical events of the Bible). Biblical theology thus is exegetical in nature, examining the doctrines in the various periods of history or examining the words and statements of a particular writer. This enables the student to determine the self-disclosure of God at a given period of history.

Relation to Other Disciplines

Exegetical Studies

Biblical theology has a direct relationship to exegesis ("to explain; to interpret"), inasmuch as biblical theology is the result of exegesis. Exegesis lies at the foundation of biblical theology. Exegesis calls for an analysis of the biblical text according to the literal-grammatical-historical methodology. (1) The passage under consideration should be studied according to the normal meaning of language. How is the word or statement normally understood? (2) The passage should be studied according to the rules of grammar; exegesis demands an examination of the nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc., for a proper understanding of the passage. (3) The passage should be studied in its historical context. What were the political, social, and particularly the cultural circumstances surrounding it? Biblical theology does not end with exegesis, but it must begin there. The theologian must be hermeneutically exacting in analyzing the text to properly understand what Matthew, Paul, or John wrote.

Introductory Studies

Although it is not the purpose of biblical theology to provide a detailed discussion of introductory matters, some discussion is essential since interpretive solutions are sometimes directly related to introductory studies. Introduction determines issues like authorship, date, addressees, and occasion and purpose for writing. For example, the dating of the book of Hebrews is significant in that it relates to the extent of the suffering of the audience to whom the book is written. Persecution became severe after the burning of Rome in A.D. 64. Even more critical is the issue of the addressees in Hebrews. If the audience is understood to be unbelievers, the book will be studied in one fashion; if the audience is understood to be Hebrew Christians, the book will be understood differently. By way of other examples, the audiences of Matthew, Mark, and Luke also determine how these writers are evaluated. For example, Matthew's theological viewpoint ought to be understood from the standpoint of having been written to a Jewish audience. The theological viewpoint of the writer is clearly related to introductory issues.

Systematic Theology Studies

There are both similarities and differences between biblical and systematic theology. Both are rooted in the analysis of Scripture, although systematic theology also seeks truth from sources outside the Bible. In noting the relationship of these two theologies, numerous distinctions can be observed. (1) Biblical theology is preliminary to systematic theology; exegesis leads to biblical theology, which in turn leads to systematic theology. (2) Biblical theology seeks to determine what the biblical writers said concerning a theological issue, whereas systematic theology also explains why something is true, adding a philosophical viewpoint. (3) While biblical theology provides the viewpoint of the biblical writer, systematic theology gives a doctrinal discussion from a contemporary viewpoint. (4) Biblical theology analyzes the material of a particular writer or period of history, whereas systematic theology investigates all materials both biblical and extrabiblical that relate to a particular doctrinal matter.

Contrasts between biblical and systematic theology are portrayed on the following page.


Biblical theology of the Old Testament is best understood when examining the Old Testament for a "center" or unifying principle. Many different proposals have been suggested concerning a unifying theme of the Old Testament. Walter Kaiser has suggested "promise" as the unifying theme; Elmer Martens suggests "God's design" as the focal point; whereas Eugene Merrill suggests "kingdom" as the underlying theme of the Old Testament. Whatever theme is emphasized, biblical theology of the Old Testament should be able to see the unfolding of that theme in the different periods of the Old Testament (progressive revelation). (See further discussion of methodology under "Introduction to Old Testament Theology," chap. 2.)

Since the writing of the New Testament books probably encompassed less than fifty years, biblical theology of the New Testament must concern itself with the viewpoint of the different New Testament authors. Thus, the biblical theology of the New Testament is studied according to Pauline theology, Petrine theology, Johannine theology, and so forth. This study evaluates what particular doctrines the writers of the New Testament emphasized and how they developed those doctrines. (See further discussion of methodology under "Introduction to New Testament Theology," chap. 9.)


Shows Historical Development of Doctrine

Biblical theology is important in that it prevents the study of doctrine apart from its historical context. In the study of systematic theology it is entirely possible to ignore the historical context of doctrinal truth; biblical theology serves to avert that problem by paying attention to the historical milieu in which the doctrine was given.

Shows Emphasis of the Writer

Biblical theology reveals the doctrinal teaching of a particular writer or of an entire period. In that sense, biblical theology systematizes the Scriptures pertinent to a writer or period and determines the major teaching or doctrinal focus of the writer or period of time. It enables the student to determine what was emphasized during the Abrahamic era or what was emphasized by the apostle John, providing a different perspective from that normally attained through the study of systematic theology.

Shows Human Element in Inspiration

While it is true that the Bible is verbally inspired and inerrant, it is also true that the writers of Scripture each wrote according to their distinctive style. Biblical theology emphasizes the human factor in the writing of Scripture (but not to the exclusion of inspiration). Thus biblical theology is intent on discovering what John or Paul taught or what was emphasized during a period of Old Testament history. Biblical theology "points up the individual backgrounds, interest, and style of the authors. Biblical theology emphasizes the part that the writers had in the composition of the Word of God, while, of course, building on the divine superintendence of the writings."

Chapter Two

THE STUDY OF OLD TESTAMENT theology is a complex task. There is no unanimity among Old Testament scholars on which approach to take. The discussion under "Methodology of Old Testament Theology" will introduce the reader to the varying approaches that are taken. It is possible to study the Old Testament under the topics of God, sin, salvation, and so forth, but that is limiting inasmuch as it is little more than a systematic theology of the Old Testament. Because of the span of time involved it is profitable to study the Old Testament dealing with the differing eras it records in which God has revealed Himself. Within that framework it is possible to study the major doctrines within each era (as Chester Lehman does)-which is helpful, but it fails to tie the study together. It is also possible to see a common theme in the different eras as does Kaiser in his helpful work. This is important in seeing a unity in Old Testament theology.

It seems best to see the unity of the Old Testament as developed around the theme of "kingdom" The theme is emphasized throughout the Old Testament-in the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. Throughout the Old Testament God dispensed His theocratic kingdom through mediators. God appointed human leaders through whom He revealed His will and made Himself known. The final, ultimate form of God's theocratic kingdom is the millennial kingdom governed by Jesus Christ. It is ultimately that kingdom to which the Old Testament looks forward.

By way of introduction, then, Old Testament theology should see the unfolding of God's revelation; it should be based on a study of the Old Testament text; and it should draw the study together around the developing focus of the theocratic "kingdom"

History of Old Testament Theology

Early Developments

There is no evidence of an organized study of biblical theology in the Old Testament or New Testament. The earliest evidence is found with Irenaeus (c. A.D. 130-200) who recognized the progressive revelation of God. Later, Augustine (A.D. 354-430) suggested five historical periods of divine revelation. During the Reformation the issues were basically soteriological, and thus biblical theology as a science did not develop during that time.

Nineteenth Century

The modern beginnings of biblical theology can be traced to John Philip Gabler, who described biblical theology as "the religious ideas of Scripture as an historical fact, so as to distinguish the different times and subjects, and so also the different stages in the development of these ideas." Gabler denied the supernatural, however, and the first conservative work did not appear until E. W. Hengstenberg's Christology of the Old Testament (1829-35). Earlier, Georg Lorenz Bauer (1755-1806) published the first Old Testament theology, dividing it into theology, anthropology, and Christology. Many Old Testament theology works followed, including Gustave Friedrich Oehler's monumental work in 1873-74.

History of Religions

The history of religions school followed the temper of the nineteenth century. It built upon Darwin's evolutionary theory, applying the theory to religion. The Hebrew faith was not seen as a unique religion but as having a relationship with other religions, because they all evolved from a common source. Similarities between Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism could readily be seen. Thus, the Old Testament was evaluated, not as divine revelation, but in its historical development.

Old Testament theology, according to the history of religions school, accepted the theories of Wellhausen, which denied the unity of the Old Testament by relegating the writings of individual books to several authors over a period of time. Thus, the Old Testament "was reduced to a collection of materials from detached periods and consisted simply of Israelite reflections of as many different pagan religions."

Salvation-History School

Reacting to the humanistic approach to the Bible was the Heilsgeschichte (Salvation History) school that sought to emphasize God's activity in history. J. C. K. von Hoffman and other theologians examined the Old Testament and noted the progressive development of salvation. The emphasis of this school was on the ministry of Christ at His first advent and also the consummating ministry at His second advent. This school had both strengths and weaknesses. Its strength was its return to divine revelation; its weakness was its rejection of the inspiration of Scripture. (They accepted some of higher criticism's views of the Bible). This school had considerable influence into the twentieth century.


Excerpted from THE MOODY HANDBOOK OF THEOLOGY by PAUL ENNS Copyright © 2008 by Paul Enns. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


Index of Charts 9
Foreword 11
Preface to the Second Edition 13
Preface to the First Edition 15


1. Introduction to Biblical Theology 21
2. Introduction to Old Testament Theology 29
3. Theology of the Edenic Era 41
4. Theology of the Noahic Era 47
5. Theology of the Patriarchal Era 53
6. Theology of the Mosaic Era 57
7. Theology of the Monarchical Era 63
8. Theology of the Prophetic Era 67
9. Introduction to New Testament Theology 77
10. Theology of the Synoptics 81
11. Theology of Acts 95
12. Theology of James 101
13. Theology of Paul 105
14. Theology of Hebrews 119
15. Theologies of Peter and Jude 127
16. Theology of John 135


17. Introduction to Systematic Theology 149
18. Bibliology: Doctrine of the Bible 155
19. Theology Proper: Doctrine of God 187
20. Christology: Doctrine of Christ 227
21. Pneumatology: Doctrine of the Holy Spirit 257
22. Angelology: Doctrines of Angels, Satan, and Demons 299
23. Anthropology and Hamartiology: Doctrines of Man and Sin 313
24. Soteriology: Doctrine of Salvation 331
25. Ecclesiology: Doctrine of the Church 359
26. Eschatology: Doctrine of Last Things 383


27. Introduction to Historical Theology 433
28. Ancient Theology 437
29. Medieval Theology 461
30. Reformation Theology 471
31. Modern Theology 489


32. Introduction to Dogmatic Theology 499
33. Calvinistic Theology 503
34. Arminian Theology 517
35. Covenant Theology 531
36. Dispensational Theology 547
37. Dogmatic Roman Catholic Theology 565


38. Introduction to Contemporary Theology 583
39. Liberal Theology 587
40. Neoorthodox Theology 597
41. Radical Theologies 613
42. Historicist Theologies 625
43. Socialist Theologies 629
44. Catholic Theology 637
45. Conservative Theology 647
46. Evangelical Feminism 661
47. Charismatic Theology 673
48. The Emerging Church 689

Epilogue 701
Glossary 703
Index of Persons 729
Index of Subjects 735
Index of Scriptures 751

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  • Posted December 30, 2011

    Great Theology Resource

    This is a required book for five of my theology courses. I have been pleasantly surprised when completing the reading assignments. It has been a great resource to me and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go deeper in understanding God's Word.

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