Putting People in their Places

Humans look at others and assign the others a social location. Not all humans do this because there are some who like to think they don’t assign others. We may strive not to assign others but those who are successful are few indeed. The Romans did not even try; in fact, status and honor and [Read More…]

NT Wright, Paul and How to Live the Christian Life

The issue is eschatology, and eschatology for Paul begins with the resurrection of Jesus, and that means new creation has been unleashed while there is yet more to come (N.T. Wright, in Paul and the Faithfulness of God). The Christian life is about learning in the “meantime” in the power of the Spirit through Christ. For [Read More…]

Eschatology Begins Here

Where does eschatology, the belief in the future, begin for the Christian? for Paul? Right here: If Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead, then it meant either that the whole cosmos had gone completely mad or that ‘the resurrection’ had come forward into the present, in just this one case, with Jesus [Read More…]

What did Paul Do to Jewish Eschatology?

Maybe we should begin where NT Wright begins in his Paul and the Faithfulness of God — with how different Jewish hope was from Greek and Roman (no) hope: The verdict ‘without hope’ might at first seem harsh. Did not many hope for a blissful life beyond the grave, whether in the Elysian fields, conversing with fellow-philosophers, or at least [Read More…]

NT Wright and Justification as Re-Worked Election

The issue for NT Wright in his Paul and the Faithfulness of God is how Paul reworked and revised the Jewish doctrine of election, and to do so in a way that preserves God’s covenant with Israel and expands enough to include how Paul expands the people of God on the basis of faith in Christ. [Read More…]

Justification Re-Imagined (NT Wright)

For NT Wright the whole “Paul project” is to learn to see Paul as carrying Israel’s Story but seeing that Story being reworked, revised and reimagined in Christ and in the Spirit … and hence, too, what is meant by justification. There are some debates amongst evangelicals today — like is justification before union or [Read More…]

Salvation Re-Imagined through the Spirit (NT Wright)

One of the more (I predict) focused-upon sections in NT Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God will be what he says about salvation, but he draws a set of narrowing circles: first we must think election, then salvation, and only then justification. All reworked “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” (which Wright always writes “spirit”). [Read More…]

To Comprehend Paul, Read This

I have long thought Paul’s thought needs to be seen at work in particular passages and that his whole theology comes to expression all at once — dense, to be sure, but all there. One such passage is Galatians 2:15-21, which I quote here so you can see how Tom Wright explains it in his Paul [Read More…]

Jesus as Faithful

For more than three decades NT specialists have debated whether “faith of Christ” (I translate pistis christou literally) means (1) faith in Christ — believers believing in Jesus — or (2) the faith of Christ — Jesus himself being faithful before God in the mission of God to redeem the world through Israel. For some reason some think #2 undoes [Read More…]

Not “Christ” but “Messiah”: NT Wright on Translating Christos

“The purpose for which the covenant God had called Israel had been accomplished, Paul believed, through Jesus. The entire ‘theology of election’ we have examined in the preceding pages is not set aside. It is brought into fresh focus, rethought, reimagined and reworked around Jesus himself, and particularly around his death, resurrection and enthronement. Christology, [Read More…]