The text of Philippians weds together Christology and practical theology, exemplifying excellent Biblical theology, said Daniel Akin.
Akin, president of Southeastern, opened Saturday’s events of the 9Marks at Southeastern conference by exegeting the text of Philippians 1:27-2:11. “I want to try and show you how biblical theology informs systematic theology and practical theology and how it helps us cultivate our Christology as well,” Akin said.
Walking the conference-goers through numerous Old Testament texts, Akin showed how a solid, Christological foundation was already founded before the New Testament. The authors of the New Testament, however, consistently return to the portrait painted in the Old Testament texts. This Philippians text, Akin said, is one such example of Christology based upon the Old Testament.
“I’d like to show how it is how Paul draws from certain threads of the Old Testament of Christology and connects that with practical theology as well,” Akin said. “Paul gives us what that mind looks like in verses two through four. He then shows us that mind lived out in the very life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, we see the result of that kind of mind being lived out in verses nine through eleven.”
Akin said, “Paul is doing inner-canonical biblical theology to inform us who Christ is so we adopt and live out that mind.”
This mind of Christ is one that has been evident throughout Scriptures and was clearly the mind of the Lord, Akin said, contrary to many scholars who say Christ gave up his deity to become human.
“Systematic theology sets us apart from all the false religions and cults of the land. They deny the deity of the son and the doctrine of the deity,” Akin said. “If God is holy, just, righteous, immutable, whatever makes God God – Jesus is all of that. We have hints of that kind of Messiah coming in the Old Testament.”
Akin said instead of an emptying of Jesus’ deity or a laying aside of his deity, it was more like “God Incognito. I believe the incarnation was not a subtraction of deity but rather an addition of humanity. He did not lay aside his deity but hid his glory.”
Systematic and Biblical theology, then, must work together to show that there is now sitting on the throne an exalted, God, Son, Man, who always is and always was, Akin said.
He said, “There is nothing more relevant than biblical theology that exalts a great God, humbles sinners and glorifies the Lord.”