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Paul and the Faithfulness of God Paperback – November 1, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"N. T. Wright's long-awaited full-length study of St. Paul will not in any way disappoint. From the very first sentence, it holds the attention, arguing a strong, persuasive, coherent, and fresh case supported by immense scholarship and comprehensive theological intelligence. It is a worthy successor to his earlier magisterial studies, laying out again very plainly the ways in which the faith of the New Testament is focused on God's purpose to re-create, through the fact of Jesus crucified and risen, our entire understanding of authority and social identity." --Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge

"Only once in every other generation or so does a project approaching the size, scope, and significance of Paul and the Faithfulness of God appear. Paul's world, worldview, controlling stories, and theology spring to life through N. T. Wright's brilliant scholarship and spirited writing. Arguing for narrative and theological coherence in Paul's thought, Wright seeks to overcome numerous dichotomies that have characterized recent Pauline scholarship. Readers will be richly rewarded and challenged at every turn—even when they do not fully agree. Each chapter reveals something profound about the surprising faithfulness of the God freshly revealed in Jesus the Messiah and conveyed to Paul's communities, and to us, by the Spirit." --Michael J. Gorman, St. Mary's Seminary & University, Baltimore, Maryland

"Breath-taking, mind-expanding, ground-breaking, and more—it is easy to run out of adjectives to describe what N. T. Wright has already accomplished in his multi-volume account of New Testament history and theology. This fourth volume in the series is likewise a game-changer, above all for its adventurous presentation of Paul's ‘mindsetrsquo; and theology, so thoroughly contextualized at the confluence of the apostle's Jewish, Roman, and Greek worlds. This is Wright at his best—part historian, part exegete, part theologian, part pedagogue." --Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary, California

About the Author

N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews and is a regular broadcaster on radio and television. He is the author of over sixty books, including The New Testament and the People of God (1992), Jesus and the Victory of God (1996), The Resurrection of the Son of God (2003), Pauline Perspectives (2013), and Paul and His Recent Interpreters (2013), all published by Fortress Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1700 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (November 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800626834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800626839
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
N.T. Wright has put his readers to task, no less those foolish enough to choose to review his book. Paul and the Faithfulness of God is a mammoth - both in its length and impact. It breaches 1600 pages and aims to represent Paul as a thoroughly coherent and innovative Christian theologian.

Due to the sheer magnitude of his fourth volume, I have broken up my review into two parts, mirroring the division of the book itself. Part one of my review will aim to summarize (hopefully succinctly) and evaluate the content of Parts One and Two of Wright's magnum opus, while Part two of my review will naturally do the same for Parts Three and Four of his book. Clearly much will be left unsaid, however, I hope to faithfully chart out the general argument that Wright lays forth and offer my own perception of its success. A daunting task, no doubt, yet one that I am honored to do. Many thanks to Fortress Press for graciously sending me a review copy.

After a brief preface laying forth the outline of the book, Wright begins his masterful symphony: Part One - Paul and His World

Chapter One: Return of the Runaway?

This chapter, in some sense, takes the place of an introduction, however, it does far more than introduce the task at hand. Wright begins by setting the Apostle Paul and Pliny the Younger side by side. Both were men of authority in their sphere's of influence, both were Romans near the beginning of the Christian movement, and both had written letters addressing slaves. Paul wrote to Philemon about Onesimus, and Pliny wrote to Sabinianus about an unknown slave whom Sabinianus had recently set free.

There is much of interest at hand here, however, most important is the incredible distinction in worldview between Pliny and this Paul figure.
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This masterwork by Tom Wright completes the series of four volumes which addresses the issue of "Christian Origins and the Question of God), written over the space of 20 years. The other volumes in the series includes "The New Testament and the People of God," "Jesus and the Victory of God," and "The Resurrection of the Son of God." Combined, their pages number a whopping 3,753. Bookshelves can sag under such weight. But it's worth it! Never, to my knowledge, has so much valuable interpretation been assembled in one organized collection.
That said, there are similarities and differences between the volumes. All together they each provide one seamless proclamation from the beginning of the Bible to its end. Too often the Old Testament (a.k.a. Hebrew Bible) is treated by Christians as the prelude to the real revelation: the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the early years of the building of the Christian Church. Nothing could be farther from the truth, Wright time and again reminds us in this volume, as Paul very forcefully says in chapters 9-11 of Romans. The Hebrew Bible, and Jewish faith, are the roots upon which our faith is built (11:18) -- cut that root off and we risk being cut off from YHWH (pronounced Yahweh), the creator God and the source of Jewish and Christian faith. To help us make this seamless transitions between the two testaments, Wright uses several powerful, yet subtle, symbolic words. For instance:
1. He rarely uses the word "Christ" when speaking of Jesus, but instead uses the Jewish term, "the Messiah." Christ comes from the Greek, and Messiah comes from the Hebrew. Both mean the same, "the anointed."
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It will take time to appreciate this great contribution by NT Wright. It will not be overnight! Wow! The breadth and depth of his study is quite amazing. It will take years for the scholarly world to digest his work. No doubt, this soon to be classic is well worth the read and the resultant study that will come as you allow his arguments to register with your own understanding.

Those who are quick to judge and dismiss will miss out on an opportunity to dialogue with one of the more engaging exegetes of recent times. This book will challenge you to go back to Scripture and study and check to see if what he says is true.

What he is proposing is a slight correction of the mechanics of justification (Reformed and all its variations) as well as the emphasis he believes Paul gives to several major themes within the writings of the Apostle Paul. Don't get me wrong, this work is comprehensive and touches on every major doctrine in Scripture but most of those "touches" will not be controversial. Only the ones that bump up against the concept of justification will bring heat from those who oppose.

Well worth the time it takes to read!
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I have said it before and I will say it again that NT Wright is the Martin Luther of the 20th century. His understanding of Paul surpasses anything that I know of Pauline studies. NTW makes Paul and the scripture come alive and the interesting thing, to me, is that once we understand what NTW is doing it is not complicated but very logical.His breakdown of the Bible as a narrative with subplots greatly helps to understand not only Paul but the whole Bible.First: God's dealing with mankind,Second:Israel as the instrument to bring God's blessing to the world and Third; Jesus as the Messiah through whom the other sub plots as well as the main plot find their climax and resolution. With the main plot stretching from Genesis to Revelation providing the great overarching story of the redemption, renewal, re-creation, rescue of all of God's creation.NTW shows us that Paul took Jewish traditions, symbols and rituals and developed Christian Theology based on the Jewish traditions of Monotheism, election and eschatology. This also explains the so called Paul's misuse of the OT. Paul knew exactly what he was doing .
I look forward to his next two books to complete the series
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