If you want to understand Jesus, what He was about, and why He came, you can do no better than to read everything N.T. Wright has written about Jesus.
When it comes to how I understand the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, my thinking has been most influenced by N.T. Wright.
This message he gave summarizes some of the key elements in how N.T. Wright understands what the Gospels have to say about Jesus.
N.T. Wright on Jesus
In my opinion, there are at least five reasons that N.T. Wright is so influential today.
First, he is a top-notch historian. He knows how to engage in historical-cultural research, and he allows the results of his historical investigations to guide his understanding of Scripture, rather than the other way around.
Second, he speaks to all Christians. Though he is Anglican, he converses well with Presbyterians, Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, and non-denominationalists. While many in the Christian world hang out with and speak only to people in their particular group, N.T. Wright is often found with a wide variety of diverse Christians from various perspectives and persuasions.
Third, because of his ability to speak with all types of Christians, N.T. Wright focuses on the main things, and doesn’t usually get sidetracked by the minor things which Christians so often love to focus on, and which so often divide us.
Fourth, he knows how to write in the vernacular. Though he is a leading scholar and theologian, he is able to write in a way that almost anyone can understand. He refuses to show how smart he is by using big words and fancy terminology that the reader has to wade through just to understand what he is saying.
Fifth, he’s got that stately accent. I sometimes think that with an accent like that, N.T. Wright could read the phone book and we will all still listen with rapt attention.
The following message on Jesus reveals all five of these traits. If you are familiar with N.T. Wright, or even if this is your first introduction to him, you will appreciate what he has to say in this podcast.
The Historical Jesus
The way we read the Gospels and the understandings we pull from them about Jesus might not be exactly what the Gospel say, or what Jesus was all about.
In this lecture, N.T. Wright presents a framework for understanding Jesus and the Gospels which begins to paint a portrait of Jesus that might be completely different than the Jesus of popular, evangelical Christianity.
For example, what N.T. Wright says about Jesus’ common invitation in the Gospels, “Repent and believe in Me” might be shocking for you to hear if you used to inviting people in our own day to repent and believe in Jesus. What we mean by such a statement is not at all what Jesus meant by such a statement.
N.T. Wright also shares some tips on how to understand the parables of Jesus and the prophecies about Jesus, and even what was meant by the biblical term “Messiah” or “Christ.”
The lecture by N.T. Wright only lasts about 30 minutes, even though the original recording including 50 minutes of Q&A. Some of it got rather technical, and so if you want to hear the Q&A, you can find the original lecture on iTunes through the link in the Resource section below.
Want to take a College-Level Course from N. T. Wright Online?
I recently discovered that you can take a college course from N.T. Wright on the book of Galatians! Very cool. You would probably pay about $900 for this course at Seminary, but you can get it right now for only $149.
Click the image below to learn more.