I enjoy books that challenge the basic presuppositions I have in regards to anything. Perhaps this is why I like to read the New Atheists and Calvinists. And why, even when I am opposed in practice to the field of biblical theology, I feel that I can read this book with my usual objectivity. Graeme Goldsworthy, in the first few pages, has introduced himself as one who accurately knows his tradition and theological underpinnings. Regardless of how the reader feels about biblical theology, you have to respect someone who is so entrenched in his field that he or she can trace their line of theological scaffolding to the first pronouncers.
In reading the first several chapters, what strikes me the most about biblical theology is two fold. First, it is one that focuses wholly on the received Scripture. This is not exactly canonical theism, because it has a much more Reformed air to it; however, it does focus on the whole of Scripture as a set of narratives and repeated acts. This is a good thing; even I can admit that. In Greco-Roman writings, the imitation allow stories to be preserved while some authors practiced imitation to build a canon. The same principle may be seen in reading the Old and New Testaments. The later writers added to the existing canon (of tradition) in a way to imitate, preserve, and stretch previous stories. This is a positive attribute because it allows the modern believer to connect in some way to the stories in our faith tradition.
However, the down side of this is that we see Scripture too much. Do not mistake me for a heretic here; I simply mean that Scripture becomes too focused on what we believe it says rather than allowing it to be read by the individual authors and heard by the individual audiences. For example, Goldsworthy, must to the chagrin of the scholarly insight, believes that the Old Testament in every narrative can point to Christ in some way, but only through the Reformed model. He tells of a story regarding a sermon about David and Goliath. It is not about the service of David, but about the sacrifice made in substitution. So, then, doctrine must, by logic, procede Scripture because only through the proper doctrine can we interpret Scripture. Such as the penal substitutionary atonement model, a model I oppose on a regular basis. While as a Christian I believe that Christ fulfills the narrative of the Old Testament (and therefore, I await with great interest his chapter on Jesus as the New Israel), I still find it less than attractive that Goldsworthy views the Old Testament as completely pointing to Christ in every way. Add to these objections is the objection that it would seem that biblical theologians look for larger patterns rather than taking all pieces together although this is counter to their principle.
What is most refreshing is Goldsworthy writing style. Plain spoken with only a few flourishes, the author speaks directly to the reader, continuously.
Note, this is not a review just yet. Just thinking out loud