Consideration of the nature of New Testament Theology (NTT) necessitates an account of theology or “God-talk”. Karl Barth grasped that all valid God-talk begins with God’s self-disclosure through Jesus and the Spirit, which people acknowledge and reflect on. Abandoning this starting point by way of “Foundationalism”—that is, resorting to any alternative basis for God-talk—leads to multiple destructive epistemological and cultural consequences. The self-disclosure of the triune God informs the use of the Bible by the church. The Bible then functions in terms of ethics and witness. It grounds the church’s ethical language game. Creative readings here are legitimate. The New Testament (NT) also mediates a witness to Jesus, which implies an historical dimension. However, it is legitimate to affirm that Jesus was resurrected (see 1 Cor 15:1–9), which liberates the devout modern Bible scholar in relation to history. The historical readings generated by such scholars have value because the self-disclosing God is deeply involved with particularity. These readings can be added to the archive of scriptural readings used by the church formationally. Ultimately, then, all reading of the NT is theological (or should be) and in multiple modes. NTT focuses our attention on the accuracy of the God-talk operative within any historical reconstruction, and on its possible subversion, which are critical matters.
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