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Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today Hardcover – March 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The best book of its kind available.” (The Christian Century)

“N. T. Wright opens for us a path beyond of the paralyzing polarization of “liberal” and “conservative.” (Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christian)

“In a fashion that is both old fashioned and new fangled at the same time Bishop Wright takes us through a sane and helpful study of what it means to treat the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. Highly Recommended!” (Ben Witherington, author of The Brother of Jesus)

“Written by one of the leading Christian thinkers in the world today, this book is a refreshing and accessible resource concerning the perennial question of biblical authority that moves the discussion beyond the liberal-conservative impasse of our times. Highly Recommended.” (John R. Franke, Professor of Theology, Biblical Theological Seminary)

“[P]robing, provocative, insightful…This is a book of uncommon wisdom for all who read and love the Bible.” (Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and Executive Editor of Christianity Today)

“This wide-ranging whirlwind-tour account of Scripture channeling God’s authority, with its tweaking of distortions back into shape and its first-class approach to Bible study, is masterly throughout.” (J. I Packer, Professor of Theology, Regent College)

“Wright offers sensible insights on the transforming power of God, very necessary in these times of skepticism and confusion.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Scripture and the Authority of God is a fabulous book. With characteristic verve and occasionally pungent grace… Scripture and the Authority of God could be the beginning of a more faithful listening, as well as sustaining more fruitful conversation about the nature of biblical interpretation.” (Books&Culture)

“Wright appeals to the reader to take another look at the Bible, not as an isolated phenomenon—a veritable rule book similarly applicable at all times and in all places—but rather as a book better placed within both the contemporary cultural context and as part of a larger tradition of interpretation.” (Explorefaith.org)

“Wright is a provocative theologian... there is so much here that you will wish that it were longer-- but its brevity makes for easy reading and it certainly deserves to be read.” (Church of England Newspaper)

“The whole book gives further cause for gratitude for God’s gift of Wright to his Church.” (ANVIL)

From the Back Cover

"But what does scripture say?”

That question has echoed through a thousand debates in the life of the worldwide church. All churches have officially endorsed strong statements about the centrality of scripture and its authority in their mission, life, doctrine, and discipline. But there is no agreement on what this might mean or how it might work in practice. Individuals and churches struggle with how to respond to issues such as war, homosexuality, and abortion, and especially how to interpret biblical passages that discuss these topics. These disagreements often serve to undermine our confidence in the authority of the Bible.

Bishop and Bible scholar N. T. Wright delivers a new model for how to understand the place of scripture and God’s authority in the midst of religious confusion. Wright gives new life to the old, tattered doctrine of the authority of scripture, delivering a fresh, helpful, and concise statement on how to read the Bible today, restoring scripture as a place to find God’s voice.

In this revised and expanded edition of the previously titled book The Last Word, Wright provides two case studies that delve into what it means to keep Sabbath and how Christians can defend marital monogamy. These studies offer not only bold biblical insights but also showcase Wright’s new model for how to interpret scripture and restore its role as the church’s main resource for teaching and guidance. Removing the baggage that the last 100 years of controversy and confusion have placed on this doctrine, Wright renews our confidence in the Bible and shows how it can once again serve as the living Word of God for our lives.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062011952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062011954
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
N.T. Wright has made a habit out of taking the Bible and giving it a fresh reading for contemporary audiences. This is most obviously the case with his various works on St. Paul and his doctrine of justification but is also true for his excellent popular commentaries on the books of the New Testament. And now there is "Scripture and Authority: How to Read the Bible Today."

Put simply, this book will revolutionize the way you read the Bible! Most of us actually misread the Bible in a number of ways, to the impoverishment of our souls and of God's Kingdom. "Scripture and Authority" is a wonderful antidote to poor readings of Scripture and moves well beyond the typical, tired debates over the authority of Scripture. Read meditatively, it will assist the Bible in changing your life and the way you see God and His divine purposes.

Wright's thesis, though hard to summarize, is best captured in this most important sentence in the entire work: "the shorthand phrase `the authority of Scripture,' when unpacked, offers a picture of God's sovereign and saving plan for the entire cosmos, dramatically inaugurated by Jesus Christ himself, and now to be implemented by the Spirit-led life of the Church precisely as the Scripture-reading community." The rest of the book may be seen as an explanation of this definition which, unfortunately, doesn't show up until Chapter 8.

If you care about reading the Bible more carefully and faithfully, then I highly encourage you to read this book and digest it!

In the Prologue, Wright situates the Bible within 5 contexts, demonstrating the difficulty of any naked appeal to the Bible without any context.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Have you ever read a book and wanted to highlight almost everything in it? This was my reaction when reading N.T. Wright's newly revised and expanded book, Scripture and the Authority of God (previously titled The Last Word - 2005).

Wright's thesis is stated clearly in the preface - "The phrase 'the authority of scripture' can make Christian sense only if it is a shorthand for 'the authority of the triune God, exercised somehow through scripture'." By setting the scripture in the larger context that the biblical writers themselves insist upon, we will begin to more fully appreciate the role that scripture ought to have in our lives. A role that includes, and yet transcends, the conveying of information about to one that takes an active part within the ongoing purposes of God. As Wright contends, "Scripture is there to be a means of God's action in and through us." This action enables us to see who God is and who we are in relation to the establishment of God's kingdom. Through scripture, God equips his people to serve to serve his purposes, particularly as he reveals Jesus Christ within its pages.

Wright then provides us with a better way to read scripture - what he refers to as the five-act hermeneutic. This method of reading scripture takes seriously the typical concerns related to genre, setting, literary style, etc, and the very important differences these things make in properly reading the narrative. He then takes it a step further by offering a multi-layered method; one that involves knowing where we are in the overall drama of scripture and what is appropriate within each act. The acts are: creation, fall, Israel, Jesus and the church. They constitute different stages in the divine drama which scripture itself offers.
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Format: Hardcover
N.T. Wright has expanded and revised a previous book on the authority of Scripture and sent it out to be part of his latest series. Scripture and the Authority of God is Wright's argument for why Christians read the Bible.

Wright offers fresh, and helpful statements on the "battles for the Bible" as well as how the Bible has been treated throughout history.

Inside you'll find 8 chapters and 2 new case studies:

By Whose Authority discusses what authority means and how to apply it to Scripture.
Israel and God's Kingdom-People sets the stage for how Scripture was brought about in the Old Testament.
Scripture and Jesus is about exactly what it sounds like.

Then he delves into the historical aspects:

The "Word of God" in the Apostolic Church
The First Sixteen Centuries
The Challenge of the Enlightenment

Finally Wright tackles the Misreadings of Scripture and How to Get Back on Track.

He finishes the book with 2 case studies; one on The Sabbath and what Scripture says about how/if we should keep it and one on Monogamy and if it was truly the way God intended.

As with every N.T. Wright book, you will need to give this work your undivided attention. If you have anything going on in the background, you will lose focus and miss the depth of this scholar's teachings.

Even though this is a re-release of a previous title, I enjoy reading whatever Wright authors.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by HarperOne Publishing.
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