N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 43 (A Re-translation, chapter 3)


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, Chapter 3

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).

Romans 3

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?  2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the Old Testament, [which charged and equipped them to be light to the nations, Rom 2:17-20.]

3 What if some of the Jews were unfaithful to their obligation to be a light to the world? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God to his covenants, including his promise to bring light to the world?  4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you God may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” [From Psa 51:4 where David takes the responsibility for his own sins.]

5 But if the Jews’ failure to be a light to the world serves to show God’s faithfulness to the covenants, including bringing light to the world through Israel, what shall we say? That God violates the covenants to inflict the covenant curses on us Jews? (I speak in a human way.)  6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world [if God can’t impose covenant curses on the Jews, then he can’t punish anyone]?

7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?  8 And why not do evil that good may come?– as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of Sin,  10 as it is written: “None is faithful to the covenants, no, not one;  11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.  12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”  13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”  14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”  15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;  16 in their paths are ruin and misery,  17 and the way of peace they have not known.”  18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the Torah says it speaks to those who are under the Torah, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

20 For no one is declared faithful to covenant and therefore a part of the covenant community before God by the works of obedience to the Torah, for through the Torah comes the knowledge of sin.  21 But now apart from the Torah the loving faithfulness of God to his covenants (which is attested by the Torah and the prophets of the OT) has been disclosed – 22 namely, the faithfulness of God to his covenants through the faithfulness –obedience to the point of crucifixion — of Jesus Christ for all who believe in/are faithful to/trust in Jesus. For there is no distinction,  23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

24 But both Jews and Gentiles are declared covenant faithful and so a part of the covenant community freely by his grace through the freedom from slavery that is in King Jesus.  25 God publicly displayed Jesus at his death as the mercy seat [place of forgiveness in the Holy of Holies, God’s throne on earth] accessible through faith/faithfulness/trust. This was to demonstrate his faithfulness to the covenant, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed by both Jews and Gentiles.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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