The New Wright-Bird Intro– Part Three

The New Wright-Bird Intro– Part Three February 21, 2020

There are many positive things that can be said about this Introduction to the NT. It is beautifully produced and carefully proof-read. It has excellent quality pictures and good bibliographies. It gives us the analysis of two mature scholars on top of their discipline. It is written in an appealing and inviting way. One of the best features of the volume is that it tries to do justice not just to the theology of the NT, or just to the literature in the NT, but also to the historical foundations of it all. It is rare to find a NT Introduction that tries to tackle all three of those in one volume. Not only so, but it deals with many thorny issues like text criticism, the formation of the canon, the issue of pseudepigrapha and much more. In general, the authors take a rather traditional approach to all these matters. This is a very different Intro compared for example to Bart Ehrman’s bestselling textbooks on the same subject.

Readers familiar with the work of Wright, will recognize some of his distinctive themes about exile, about Christ and his people being the fulfillment of God’s OT promises and prophecies to Israel, about the old covenant being renewed in the new one, about ‘the faithfulness of Christ’ being the correct interpretation of ‘pistis Christou’ about works of the law having in the main to do with the boundary rites Paul says are obsolete or already fulfilled in Christ— circumcision, food laws, sabbath keeping and so on. And the overall gestalt of the interpretation of these matters as well as of things like justification, the relationship of the two testaments, and the like turned out to be a Reformed take on various things, albeit a very different one than say John Piper’s or Wayne Grudem’s, particularly when it comes to things like women and their roles in the church, or say the imputed righteousness of Christ.

I am happy to give this Introduction a positive endorsement as a very good one, particularly if one takes into account the level of audience it assumes. Not all Introductions target the same audience. This one is for a more advanced Christian audience and will be especially useful as a reference tool for pastors, seminary students, doctoral students in Biblical studies, and educated laypersons. This is not an Introduction for beginning students of the NT. It is too vast and too detailed for that. But as a nice summation of Wright’s views on a whole host of subjects involving history, literature, and theology, it is top drawer, as the British would say. And it is nice as well to see Michael Bird’s various contributions to this volume and its videos as well. Well done chaps, inherit the royalties.

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