Wright on Justification – 3

Notes on N.T. Wright, Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision, Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2009

Chapter 2

Wright lays out the basic rules he works from:

  • Let the various writings interpret each other.

  • He sees the battles over the authenticity of some of the Pauline epistles as being warped by the theological conviction that a particular reading of Romans (and secondarily, Galatians) is the “Real Paul,” providing us with criteria to exclude other works, most importantly Ephesians and Colossians, as non-Pauline. Wright, who often wonders how things might have been different had the modern church started from Ephesians rather than Romans, find a coherent teaching through the whole traditional corpus.

  • Scripture and the Christian tradition must be brought together, with creativity and close attention.

  • Following Thiselton, he claims “we need to understand doctrines, their statement, development, confutation, restatement and so on, within the multiple social, cultural, political, and of course ecclesial and theological settings of their time.” (p. 45)

  • Exegesis of Pauline texts, not a Procrustean effort to make the text fit our tradition or desires, is the essential starting point.

  • Work from the Greek text. Wright believes that anyone who relies on the NIV to understand Paul, will, because of that translation’s errors and idiosyncrasies, surely fail to get Paul.

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