What Is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns

BTMy first impression of this book was twofold:

  1. It has no footnotes. No, not even one.
  2. It’s short—about 110 pages not counting the front and back matter.

But don’t be deceived: it’s rich.

James M. Hamilton Jr. What Is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013. 38-page sample PDF.

Jim has a reputation for teaching the Bible with no notes, even in graduate-level classes. Some call him a Bible-Jedi. That’s what he seems like in this book.



He defines biblical theology as “the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors” (p. 15). And the whole book unpacks their interpretive perspective: their framework, assumptions, and presuppositions.

He ends with solid advice:

The best way to learn biblical theology, the best way to get yourself out of the world’s way of thinking and into the Bible’s is to study the Bible itself. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Read the Bible. A lot.

I’ve found that the best way for me to see the interconnectedness of the Bible is to read big chunks of the Bible at one sitting. Instead of reading the Bible in little bits, why not sit down and read as much of Genesis as you can at one time? (p. 115)


  1. Three (unusual) tips for better Bible reading (and a follow-up)
  2. Jim Hamilton’s motivating exhortation to do biblical theology 


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