I. What is Covenant Theology?
A. One of core assumptions is that God has approached His people through covenant
B. One example of a definition, from Donald Macleod: covenant theology is ‘the use of the covenant concept as an architectonic principle for the systematizing of Christian truth.’ (DSCHT, 214)
C. Our definition: ‘Covenant theology is the study of God’s eternal, unchanging purpose to bring a people to Himself through covenantal relationship.’
1. Importance of ‘Immanuel Principle’
2. God is pursuing this through covenant; Deuteronomy 29.12-13 II. What is a Covenant? A. Complex yet coherent idea
B. A proposed definition – Francis Turretin: ‘a pact and agreement entered into…consisting partly in a stipulation of duty…and partly in the promise of a reward.’ (Institutes, 12.1.8; II.172) 1. Two key ideas a. Binding obligation. b. A relationship. c. Together, give the idea of a relationship within parameters. C. Biblical terminology of covenant 1. Old Testament a. ברית. i. Relationships between men a) Jacob and Laban (Genesis 31.44) b) David and Jonathan (I Samuel 18.3) ii. Relationships between nations (Joshua 9.15) iii. Relationship between God and men a) Noah (Genesis 6.18) b) Abraham (Genesis 15.18) c) David (Psalm 89.3-4) d) Phineas (Numbers 25.12) e) Corporate people Israel (Exodus 19.5) f) These have the distinctive feature of being both sovereignly and graciously administered. b. Variety of verbs paired with ברית. i. כרת ברית. To ‘cut’ a covenant. a) To make or inaugurate a covenant. b) Jeremiah 34.18 ii. הקים ברית. ‘To arise; to stand’ a) The perpetuation or maintenance of a covenant. b) Genesis 6.18 iii. נתן ברית. To ‘give’ a covenant. a) Emphasis on one party ‘giving’ the blessings of that covenant to the other party. b) Genesis 17.2 2. Septuagint a. ברית almost uniformly rendered as διαθηκη b. Uniformity striking given the option of συνθηκη c. Nuances of meaning between the two 3. New Testament a. Uniform usage of διαθηκη continues, most importantly in New Testament quotations of Old Testament texts. E.g. quotation of Jeremiah 31.31-34 in Hebrews 8.8-12.