As I said in an earlier post on biblical theology, one of the most popular ways to “do” biblical theology is to “trace” themes throughout Scripture. But one, including myself, may ask, “What themes can we trace?” A quick answer to this question could suffice: Any theme that you see is evident in the Bible. In fact, one contributor on this site wrote a biblical theology on trees (see that post here)! When he first thought about writing that, I said to myself, “I never saw that theme, but I’m sure glad he saw it and wrote on it!” While we can trace various themes throughout the Bible, some themes pop out, or are easier to identify than others.
This brief post is meant to simply offer what other biblical theologians have seen as quite evident themes in the Bible. The hope of this post is that it may help guide your Bible reading to see these themes in Scripture. The themes listed below are not a restriction, implying that these are the only themes in Scripture. No. Rather, the following themes are those that other theologians have thought to be more evident than others.
The following list is taken from the NIV Zondervan Study Bible (I'm listing them in no special order, just following the NIVZSB).
1. The glory of God
9. Exile and Exodus
10. The Kingdom of God
12. The City of God
13. Prophets and Prophecy
14. Death and Resurrection
15. The People of God
20. Love and Grace
21. The Gospel
24. Shalom (i.e., Peace, wholeness)
25. The Consummation (i.e., full restoration)
Again, these are evident themes in the Bible, there are more. The above topics permeate the text. This list is meant to guide your Bible reading, not restrict it. Biblical theology aims to see what's evident in the text and see's how the Bible is united and connected. Tracing themes, like the ones above, express that unified nature. All these themes climax in the Son of God, the Christ, Jesus, through fulfillment or defeat (e.g., sin).
The following posts in the biblical theology category will attempt to trace many of these themes, aiming to magnify Christ and demonstrate the unity of the Bible.