Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
27Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
NT Wright for Everyone_the Apostle Paul

NT Wright for Everyone_the Apostle Paul

Ratings: (0)|Views: 3,583|Likes:
Published by guptank29115
This short essay summarizes N.T. Wright's views on the apostle Paul.
This short essay summarizes N.T. Wright's views on the apostle Paul.

More info:

Published by: guptank29115 on Feb 09, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

04/24/2013

pdf

text

original

 
N.T. Wright for Everyone: the Apostle Paulby Nijay K. Gupta
1
 
In preparation for the annual Wheaton theology conference (April 16-17, 2010) which will involve ‘A Theological Dialogue withN.T. Wright’, this brief essay has been prepared to introduce Wright’s orientation and basic views on a given issue or figure.
In many ways, N.T. Wright’s first love, and one he can’t help but return to again and again, isPaul and his letters. In fact, his doctoral dissertation was on Pauline theology (Oxford).
2
Wrighthas written droves of articles, essays, and books on Paul and a number of his ‘
 for Everyone’ 
 commentaries give special attention to his letters. Even now, the tireless Bishop is at work toproduce a great volume on Paul – the one, perhaps, that we have all been waiting for since hisexegetical delicacies in
The Climax of the Covenant 
, the appetizing reflections in
What Saint Paul Really Said 
, and the refreshing perspective of 
Paul: Fresh Perspectives
.For Wright, Paul is the brilliant and passionate apostle whom one can only understand in hisproper Jewish and Greco-Roman context, but is one that inspires all Christians of all times whowish to understand God’s plan for ‘putting the world to rights’ through Messiah Jesus. There isalmost no area of Paul’s life and thought that Wright has not researched and attempted tomake some contribution. Our brief sketch of his thought, then, while aiming at being veryconcise, will require moving rather quickly from one topic to the next.
Jewish Background and Conversion
 Again, to get Paul, you must understand that he was not only a Jew, but a strict ShammaitePharisee who desired to see Israel freed from the heavy hand of the Gentiles in order to obeyTorah rightly and fulfill Israel’s God-given purposes in the world. In his own time, this passionoften surfaced in the form of ‘zeal with a knife’
3
; a ruthless pursuit of purity that longed for theapproval and vindication of their covenantal God. Of course, Paul was forced to see that Godhad brought this about through Christ’s death and resurrection.
4
 
1
Nijay K. Gupta completed his Ph.D. at the University of Durham on Pauline theology. While in Durham he servedfor a term as Bishop N.T. Wright’s teaching assistant for the course ‘The Bible in Tomorrow’s World’. Presently Dr.Gupta teaches Greek and hermeneutics at Ashland Theological Seminary (Ohio). In the fall (2010), he will beginteaching Biblical studies at Seattle Pacific University (Washington).
2
‘The Messiah and the People of God: A Study in Pauline Theology with Particular Reference to the Argument of the Epistle to the Romans’; D.Phil. (Oxford University); supervisor Prof. G.B. Caird.
3
 
WSPRS,
27.
4
In the debate of whether Paul was ‘converted’ or ‘called’, Wright is happy to place the former alongside the latterif it is interpreted as a realization that his way of approaching the fulfillment of the covenant and the ushering in of the new age was wrong.
 
Sin and a World Gone Wrong and God’s Plan of Restoration
 Paul (and his fellow Jews) recognized that sin had corrupted the world and a solution wasneeded to bring humanity and creation back to order. It was clear in the Scriptures thatAbraham was chosen to repair what Adam had broken - to ‘undo’ Adam’s sin.
5
Israel, then, wasmeant to be the ‘new Adam’.
6
Unfortunately, Abraham and his heirs, the people of Israel, didnot live up to this mission and fell into perpetual exile.
7
 This meant that Israel was holding out hope for God’s vindication where they would see thefulfillment of his promise to restore them and install them as vice-regents.
8
Paul came to see,though, that Jesus actually accomplished Israel’s job as God’s ‘true humanity’.
9
 What about Israel, then? What role did they play? While they certainly preserved Torah andreflected God’s character and will in some ways, Wright finds a distinctive element in Paul’sperspective: Israel happens to be the place where Torah draws sin to and magnifies it. It is ameans of bring ‘Sin’ to one place to deal with it by means of Christ’s crucifixion. Torah’sfunction of increasing Israel’s sins from this angle would be ‘the positive reason for the negativerole of Torah’.
10
 
Torah
 Wright observes that Torah contains both the promises to Abraham as well as a covenantal law-structure that has sent Israel into a dizzying pattern of sin and exile.
11
That should not mean,though, that Paul felt a complete inability to keep Torah and obey God. The challenge of sin
5
‘…Abraham will be God’s means of undoing the sin of Adam’ (
CC 
, 21); ‘…God has called Abraham and his family toundo the sin of Adam, even though Abraham and his family are themselves part of the problem as well as thebearers of the solution’ (
PFP
, 23).
6
‘God’s purposes for the human raced in general have devolved on to, and will be fulfilled in, Israel in particular.Israel is, or will become, God’s true humanity. What God intended for Adam will be given to the seed of Abraham…If there is a ‘last Adam’ in the relevant Jewish literature, he is not an individual…He is the wholeeschatological people of God.’ (
CC 
, 20-1).
7
‘…at least some Jews in [early Judaism] understood the exile to be still continuing, since the return from Babylonhad not brought that independence and prosperity which the prophets foretold’ (
CC 
, 141)
8
‘Israel’s God will act in history to vindicate his own name by installing his people ‘at his right hand’, ruling overthe nations of the world’ (
CC 
, 24)
9
‘…the role traditionally assigned to Israel had devolved on to Jesus Christ. Paul now regarded him, not Israel, asGod’s true humanity’ (
CC 
p. 26)
10
The full quote is as follows: ‘The Torah possesses, Paul asserts, the divinely intended function of drawing sin onto Israel, magnifying it precisely within the people of God ([Rom.] 7.130-20), in order that it might then and thus bedrawn on to Israel’s representative and so dealt with on the cross (8.3). This is, as it were, the positive reason forthe negative role of Torah. As a result…it becomes clear that the obedient act of Jesus Christ was the act of Israel’srepresentative, doing for Israel what she could not do for herself’ (
CC 
, 39). See also
CC 
152, 196. Again: Torahhappens to increase sin ‘
so that 
sin might be seen as sin,
so that 
sin might become exceedingly sinful, might as itwere be piled up in one great obvious heap’ (
CC 
, 198)
11
See
CC 
, 142.
 
and obedience is not that certain individuals happened to sin here and there, but God had todeal with the national failure of Israel to keep the Torah
as a whole
.
12
 Another reason why Paul was concerned with Torah had to do with
works of the law 
(of Moses). Paul was not championing ‘faith alone’ and criticizing attempts to ‘earn one’s salvationby works’. That was Luther’s context, not the first century situation. Rather, he challenged‘Jewish boasting’ and ‘national righteousness’ – many Jews would have assumed that the oneGod was God of the Jews alone (i.e., favored them above all others) and that having the lawdefined them as his special people.
13
In Christ, the boundary marking nature of the ‘works of the law’ are no longer needed, but faith in Messiah Jesus is the way to identify God’s people.
Jesus as Messiah
 Wright is insistent that ‘Christ’ is not a meaningless title appended to Jesus’ name (as if it werea last name), but continued to carry the nuances that came with a Jewish conception of theMessiah. Israel anticipated a royal (‘true king’) Messiah for Israel who would also end up beingthe head of the world. He would be a warrior (fighting evil and paganism) that enabled andoversaw the rebuilding of the Temple (God’s home on earth). And, of course, he would bringabout the end, ushering in the new age of promise and fulfillment. These things werecharacteristics of Jesus’ work as Messiah, but he worked each of these out in startling andunpredictable ways.Wright views the role of Jesus as Messiah as
incorporative
– he is ‘the one in whom the peopleof God are summed up’ (
CC 
, 41). His work is also
representative
as he takes the role of ‘LastAdam’.
14
He was one who undid the disobedience of Adam in his own perfect submission toGod.Why did Jesus die on a cross? This, of course, demonstrates the true nature of God in hisgraciousness and benevolence. The humility and charity of God’s Messiah Jesus is theantithesis of the heavy-handed Roman rulers and the military ‘messiahs’ of the first century.
15
 Moreover, the cross was, as Rome’s ultimate symbol of power specifically over the Jewish
12
‘What is envisaged…is not so much the question of what happens
when this or that individual sins
, but thequestion of what happens
when the nation as a whole fails
to keep
the Torah as a whole
’ (
CC 
, 146)
13
‘Paul’s basic charge against the Jews is that of boasting’ (PFAH); it was common for a Jew at that time to boast inthe law ‘because his possession of the law marks him out as a member of the chosen people’ (PFAH); see also
CC 
,242.
14
Christ takes the role as ‘Last Adam’, as the truly obedient one: ‘His role was that of obedience, not merely
in place of 
disobedience, but in order to
undo
that disobedience’ (
CC 
, 38); ‘…Adam, in arrogance, thought to becomelike God; Christ, in humility, became human’ (
CC 
, 91).
15
‘…divine equality does not mean ‘getting’ but ‘giving’’ (
CC 
, 83, borrowed from Moule); ‘God himself recognizesand endorses self-abnegation as the proper expression of divine character’ (
CC 
, 87).

Activity (27)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
andley liked this
leongkct37 liked this
Victor Mejia liked this
Larry Pons liked this
schreamonn5515 liked this
ubuntu.shama liked this
Brian Metzer liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->