I bought this one with my very own money – and it was money very well spent. Following Jesus was first published in 1994. It doesn’t offer hugely powerful new theology. Rather, it offers excellent, insightful introductions to several New Testament books and then takes on several topics essential to the Christian life. Good stuff.
For example, speaking of Hebrews, Wright writes,
The point is this: he continually presents the Old Testament as an unfinished story, and shows that it invites and even requires a final chapter. … The argument of Hebrews runs like this: the Jewish scriptures are continually pointing beyond themselves to a further reality which they do not contain.
He further explains as to the sacrifice of Jesus –
First, sacrifice is part of what it means to be truly human. Humans were made, as Hebrews says, to be under God and over the world. The temptation we humans face, which Jesus faced in the wilderness, is to snatch at the world to use it for our own pleasure or glory. But when we bring a symbol of the created world before the creator God in gratitude and offering, we are symbolically saying that he is the creator, and that we have no rights over creation independently of him. To that extent, sacrifice is the natural and appropriate human activity.
I could go on. Each chapter is rich in fresh insights and powerful, challenging lessons. This is a perfect book for a small group study or Bible class written in very accessible language.
My only complaint worth mentioning is the section on hell. Just as in Surprised by Hope, Wright offers, I think, an inadequate and poorly argued theory for the fate of the damned. I think Edward Fudge’s The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment (see the Surprised by Hell series) is a much better one.