The Design of the Scriptures – A First Reader in Biblical Theology

by Robert C. Dentan

Robert C. Dentan was Professor of Old Testament Literature and Interpretation at the General Theological Seminary in New York. He is the author of The King and His Cross; Preface to Old Testament Theology; The Holy Scriptures: A Survey (a volume in the Seabury Press Church’s Teaching Series), and The Apocrypha, Bridge of the Testaments.

This book was prepared for Religion Online by Richard Kendall.


(ENTIRE BOOK) This book gives an overview of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, showing the consistency and organic unity of biblical thought – a harmony underlying the obvious differences between the two testaments. It is arranged by topics for easy reading.


  • Introduction
  • Part I – History

    This part deals with the theological meaning of historical events as seen in the Old and New Testaments. These events are grouped as follows:

    i. Paradise Lost

    ii. The Covenant of Faith

    iii. The Covenant of Law

    iv. The Promised Land

    v. The Founding of the Kingdom

    vi. David—The Messiah King

    vii. Solomon in All His Glory

    viii. A House Divided

    ix. Elijah—The Troubler of Israel

    x. Elisha and the Great Revolt

    xi. Amos and Hosea—Heralds of Judgment

    xii. Isaiah—Prophet of Faith

    xiii. Jeremiah and the New Covenant

    xiv. Ezekiel and the Exile

    xv. Second Isaiah and the Return from Exile

    xvi. After the Return—New Troubles and New Hopes

    xvii. The Age of the Maccabees

    xviii. Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom

    xix. Jesus—Himself the King

    xx. The Crucified Messiah

    xxi. The Risen Lord

    xxii. The Birth of the New Israel

    xxiii. The Church at Jerusalem

    xxiv. St. Paul—The Missionary

    xxv. St. Paul—The Pastor

    The End of the Story

  • Part II – Doctrine

    The Second Part deals with the abiding assertions or teachings about the nature of God and His relation to man to which Biblical history gives rise. This part includes the following sections:

    i. God the Creator

    ii. God the All-Powerful

    iii. God the All-Knowing

    iv. God the Inescapable

    v. God the Righteous Judge

    vi. The God of Love

    vii. God as Man’s Helper

    viii. Man as God’s Creature

    ix. Man as a Sinful Creature

    x. The Unity of Man’s Nature

    xi. Man’s Capacity for Redemption

    xii. Man’s Need of a Redeemer

    xiii. Jesus the Fulfillment of Man’s Need

    xiv. Christ our Brother

    xv. Life through His Death

    xvi Victory through His Resurrection

    xvii. The Kingship of Christ

    xviii. The Deity of Christ

    xix. Salvation by Faith

    xx. The Gift of the Holy Spirit

    xxi. The Holy Trinity

    xxii.. The Church

    xxiii. The Ministry

    xxiv. The Sacraments

    xxv. Life after Death

    xxvi. The Goal—Fellowship with God

  • Part Three: Life

    This part deals with the forms of piety and of personal and corporate existence which Biblical history and acceptance of Biblical doctrine necessarily imply. It includes the following sections:

    i. Life under Judgment

    ii .Newness of Life

    iii. Life in Christ

    iv .Worship

    v. Hearing the Word

    vi .Communion

    vii. Working for God

    viii. The Moral Struggle

    ix. Study

    x. Prayer

    xi. Faith

    xii. Hope

    xiii. Love

    xiv. Penitence

    xv. Thankfulness

    xvi. Humility

    xvii. Wisdom

    xviii. Justice

    xix. Temperance

    xx. Fortitude

    xxi. Marriage

    xxii. Family Life

    xxiii. The State

    xxiv .Corporate Responsibility

    xxv. Social Justice

    xxvi. International Relations