N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 44 (A Re-translation, chapter 4)


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 4

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 4

1 What then shall we Jews say was gained by Abraham, the Jews’ forefather according to the flesh?  2 For if Abraham was declared covenant faithful and so a part of the covenant community by works of the Torah, he has something to boast about, but not before God.  3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as covenant faithfulness.”

4 Now to the one who works, such as by doing works of the Torah, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.  5 And to the one who does not do works of the Torah but believes in/trusts/is faithful to God, who declares even the ungodly Gentiles covenant faithful and so part of the covenant community, his faith/trust/faithfulness is counted as covenant faithfulness and so includes him in the covenant community,  6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts covenant faithful apart from works of the Torah:  7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;  8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” [Psa 32:1-2].

9 Is this blessing that faith/trust/faithfulness would be counted as covenant faithfulness then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith/trust/faithfulness was counted to Abraham as covenant faithfulness.  10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.  11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the covenant faithfulness that he had by faith/trust/faithfulness while he was still uncircumcised.

The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe/trust/are faithful without being circumcised, so that covenant faithfulness would be counted to them as well,  12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith/trust/faithfulness that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world, that is, the New Heavens and New Earth, not just the Promised Land, did not come through the Torah but through the imputed covenant faithfulness that comes by faith/trust/faithfulness.  14 For if it is the adherents of the Torah who are to be the heirs of the New Heavens and New Earth, faith/trust/faithfulness is null and the promise is void [because no one can fully meet its demands and what would be the point of faith?].  15 For the Torah brings wrath, but where there is no Torah [as in the case of the Gentiles], there is no transgression.

16 That is why the promise to Abraham to be heir of the world depends on faith/trust/faithfulness, in order that the promise that his descendants would inherit the world as the New Heavens and New Earth may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring — not only to the adherent of the Torah, that is, the Jews, but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, such as the Gentile converts, who is the father of us all [Jews first, but also Gentiles],  17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” — in the presence of the God in whom Abraham believed/trusted/was faithful to, who gives life to the dead in the resurrection of Jesus and the salvation of the damned by that power and calls into existence the things that do not exist [such as making Gentiles into spiritual descendants of Abraham].

18 In hope Abraham believed/trusted/was faithful against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”  19 He did not weaken in faith/trust/faithfulness when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  20 No unbelief/lack of trust/unfaithfulness made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith/trust/faithfulness as he worshiped by giving glory to God,  21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  22 That is why his faith/trust/faithfulness was “counted to him as covenant faithfulness.”

23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,  24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in/trust/are faithful to God, who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,  25 who was sacrificed on the cross for our sins and raised so that we would be declared members of the covenant community.

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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