According to Plan

according-to-planGraeme Goldsworthy, According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1991)



“How do you interpret Scripture?” This is a much more revealing question than “What is your view of Scripture?” Graeme Goldsworthy, an Australian Anglican who is an Old Testament scholar, offers with According to Plan an introduction to biblical theology: “a means of looking at one particular event in relation to the total picture.” Asking, “What is the story of the Bible?” Goldsworthy, as a Reformed evangelical, writes an accessible narrative in four sections: the Why, How, What, and Where of biblical theology. Each chapter ends with four discussion questions, making this book appealing for a group or class. Readers discover the benefit of taking a bird’s-eye view of Scripture to see how the Old Testament relates to the New, or, how the New Testament (Christ) interprets the Old.



  • Christocentrism. Goldsworthy maintains a strict Christ-centered focus when reading and interpreting Scripture. “Every word in Scripture points to Jesus and finds its meaning in him.”
  • Theology. Theology means “the study of God.” Goldsworthy reminds readers that all Christians are theologians. “Part of being a Christian is that we do
  • Biblical Theology. Perhaps also thought of as “story theology.” Its three ingredients—literature, historical record, and theology/revelation—are also the major elements of the Bible overall.
  • Typology. Typology is part of the progressive revelation of God, or truth, to man. A “type” prefigures or is patterned after the “antitype.” Adam, Moses, and David are “types” of Christ.
  • Offices. Jesus fulfills each of the main offices of the Old Testament: prophet, priest, king, and wise man.
  • Truth. There are “three main views of how we know what is real and true”: secular humanism, theistic humanism, and Christian theism.


Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the differences between biblical, pastoral, historical, systematic, and exegetical theologies?
  2. Is biblical theology more important than the others? Why or why not?
  3. How does one’s conception of the Bible as a story change one’s approach to Scripture?
  4. Define and describe each part of this process: justification > sanctification > glorification.
  5. How are both Jesus and the Bible the “divine-human word”?
  6. What are proof texts, and what is their danger?
  7. How does Luke 24:13-35 relate to the goal of According to Plan?
  8. Discuss the meaning of these terms: hermeneutics, natural revelation, providence, mediation, eschatology, regeneration, and presuppositions.
  9. In what way does the exodus from Egypt relate to Scripture’s “pattern of redemption”?
  10. Discuss one of Goldsworthy’s conclusions: “The Bible gives no grounds for the belief that God guides us in everyday decisions other than by revealing the gospel.”
  11. How are both this video from Tim Keller and The Jesus Storybook Bible examples of biblical theology?
  12. Choose a theme and discuss its movement through Scripture: mountains, covenant, kingship, temple, word, shepherd, or Israel.


Click here for a downloadable Word document of this Discussion Guide.