N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 41 (A Re-translation, chapter 1)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

A Re-translation

In most of the previous posts, I’ve offered a revised or annotated translation of the text. I thought it would be interesting — and perhaps even helpful — to accumulate these into a single text.

Unlike the earlier translations, I’ll not show the changes in brackets except where I’m not just translating but also explaining outside the text.

And I hasten to add that this is my own translation, based on my understanding of Wright but not at all the same as his own translation The Kingdom New Testament (which can be bought at Amazon).

Chapter 1:17-32

17 For the loving covenant faithfulness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, “The covenant faithful by faith will live.” Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 40 (Summary)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Summary

The second half of chapter 5 deals with salvation history, filling in gaps remaining after chapters 1 – 4. It should never be read as though the earlier chapters hadn’t already been penned by Paul.

When we read the text in the New Perspective way, that is, in light of the ancient covenants between God and Israel, the Calvinist issues evaporate. Paul is simply not talking about “Original Sin.” He’s clear that humanity inherits Adam’s propensity to sin, but not that we inherit the guilt of his sin. That’s just not the point being addressed.

Rather, Paul is trying to explain how it is that both Jews and Gentiles need a Savior, both are saved by faith in/faithfulness to/trust in Jesus — the Messiah and Lord. He’s continuing to show how God has been faithful to his covenants — saving the Jews with faith by faith. Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 39 (the purpose of Torah)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Rom 5:18-19

(Rom. 5:18-19 ESV)  18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.  19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 

We’ve covered enough of Paul’s vocabulary words that we can attempt a re-translation without interruption —

(Rom. 5:18-19 ESV)  18 Therefore, as one [sin by Adam] led to condemnation for all men [that is, the loss of immortality], so one act of righteousness [that is, loving covenant faithfulness by Jesus on the cross] leads to justification [treatment of those with faith as covenant faithful and so part of the covenant community] and [immortal] life for all men.  19 For as by [Adam]’s disobedience the many were made sinners [because they inherited his weakness to resist Sin], so by [Jesus’] obedience [on the cross] the many will be made righteous [that is, declared covenant faithful by God]. 

As Paul’s dense writing style and unfamiliar vocabulary goes, this is not that hard of a passage, except for the phrase “for all men” at the end of v. 18. This sounds like universalism, and countless Universalists have so argued. Then again, the entirety of chapter 4 insists on the necessity of faith as a requirement to be deemed righteous — a theme that is also found plainly in chapters 1 and 3. It seems unlikely that Paul forgot that faith is necessary for salvation so quickly!

But this should be obvious from “one trespass led to condemnation for all men.” In fact, not all men are condemned. Some are saved. It’s just that humanity in general lost immortality because of the sin of Adam. But there are exceptions. Just so, Jesus’s obedience on the cross was more than sufficient to undo the condemnation caused by Adam, but “life for all men” is no more an absolute declaration than is “condemnation for all men” in the same verse. Both are speaking of what is potentially true of all but in fact only true of some. Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 38 (Grace abounding)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Rom 5:14

(Rom. 5:14 ESV)  14 Yet [eternal] death reigned [ruled as a monarch] from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come [that is, Jesus]. 

This is no easy verse. First, Paul seems to say quite clearly that there was no immortality granted from Adam to Moses — and yet Jesus himself declared that the Patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (at least) — were saved and granted immortality (Matt 22:32). Hence, Paul must be taken to be speaking in very broad generalities.

For that matter, Paul had just penned Rom 4, where he points out how God credited Abraham with righteousness because of his faith. Clearly, Paul considered Abraham and the other Patriarchs as exceptional cases because of their exceptional faith. (Compare Heb 11 and the “roll call of the faithful.”)

Second, Adam sinned against special revelation. That is, God spoke to him in very plain, propositional language and told him not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil on penalty of death. This made Adam more accountable than those who followed, who might have been accountable solely because the presence of a Creator could be inferred from the good Creation and a moral Creator from the human sense of morality (as Paul argued in Rom 1 an 2). But even those with only “general revelation” were held accountable to the extent of being denied immortality — access to the Tree of Life. But they were not punished in the afterlife (3:25, 5:13). Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 37 (Death enters the world)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Rom 5:12-13, Part 2

(Rom. 5:12-13 ESV)  12 Therefore, just as [Sin] came into the world through one man [Adam], and [eternal] death through [Sin], and so [eternal] death spread to all men because all sinned — 13 for [Sin] indeed was in the world before the [Torah] was given, but [Sin] is not counted where there is no [Torah].

Paul’s context

Paul sees the early accounts of Adam and Eve as quite literal. And so to make sense of Abraham, he has to explain why God entered into covenant with him. And it’s ultimately because of Adam’s sin — which allowed in the Creation what Wright calls “Sin” — resulting in “death” and the corruption of not only men, but also the corruption of all Creation (which Paul will address in Rom 8). Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | 23 Comments

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 36 (reconciliation; death through one man)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Rom 5:10-11 [JFG]

(Rom. 5:10-11 ESV)  10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

We reverse field just a tad to deal with concept Paul keeps throwing at us: reconciliation. I think Kruse puts his finger on why Paul brings up this new concept here —

The juxtaposition of justification (5:9) and reconciliation (5:10) is noteworthy, and raises the question of distinctions between the two concepts. As used by Paul, the terms are very close but nevertheless distinct. Justification is essentially a legal term relating to decisions in a court of law, whereas reconciliation is a personal term relating to the restoration of relationships. But Paul’s understanding of God as the justifier of sinners cannot be separated from his understanding of God as reconciler. For Paul God is not the detached judge dispensing judgment, but the lover of sinners desiring reconciliation with them.

Colin G. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Pillar NTC; Accordance electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 238. Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

18 Church Trends (and More!): Trend 19

Actually, I have one more trend. This is from the Washington Post, by way of Ben Witherington’s blog.

After statistically analyzing the survey responses of over 2,200 congregants and the clergy members who serve them, we came to a counterintuitive discovery: Conservative Protestant theology, with its more literal view of the Bible, is a significant predictor of church growth while liberal theology leads to decline. The results were published this month in the peer-reviewed journal, Review of Religious Research [downloads document]. …

[D]ifferent beliefs, though equally strong, produce different outcomes. Continue reading

Posted in Church Trends, Uncategorized | 6 Comments