In this revised and expanded edition of The Last Word, Wright, Bishop of Durham, one of the preeminent Bible scholars of our day and author of such beloved works as After You Believe and Simply Christian, gives new life to the old, tattered doctrine of the authority of Scripture, delivering a fresh, helpful, and concise statement on the current "battles for the Bible," and restoring Scripture as a place to find God's voice. Removing the baggage that the last hundred years of controversy and confusion have placed on this doctrine, he renews readers' confidence in the Bible, and shows that the Bible can still be a guide for their lives. This updated version includes two new case studies, taking a closer look at what it means to keep the Sabbath holy, and also how Christians can defend marital monogamy in modern society.
- Hard to listen to in the car.
This would be better to read in print. This is not something to listen to while you are driving. The reader does not have the expressive softness to his voice like NT Wright does. The reading is stiff.
- Best enjoyed by fans of theological discussion
'Those who enjoy theological discussion will enjoy this production.'
T.D. © AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
- An academic resource
NT Wright does an excellent job of offering a history of how the authority of the Bible as God's Word to man has been viewed throughout the centuries since the Apostles. He does use some of the time to push his theological views as being completely acceptable given this historical approach to the subject.
Ultimately, this book would be better read in print as the reader will definitely want to research what has been written though listening to it will enable you with familiarity to the subject at hand.
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- Very serious look at scripture
I have read this twice in the last six months. Once as an audiobook and then again in print format. The review below is edited from my blog at http://bookwi.se and is based on the first (audio) reading.
Scripture and The Authority of God is a reworking of a 2005 book, The Last Word and I think is the most accessible and best book of Wright’s that I have read.
The basic thesis of this book is that the authority of scripture is completely dependent on the authority of God. So there is no separate authority of scripture apart from God. This seems fairly uncontroversial, but it is important. The book opens with a fairly long discussion about how we currently understand scripture. This necessarily involves a discussion of the enlightenment, modernism, post-modernism and a variety of other subjects. It is not a wasted discussion and while it may be a little repetitive for people that are fairly conversent with Wright and with his line of thinking, it really cannot be skipped.
The next section is a long discussion of what it means for scripture to have authority and then how we should and should not read scripture. This center section is really the meat of the book. This is the section where I was most impressed and most convicted that the Evangelical world in general, and I in specific, do not spend enough time or effort in scripture itself. Evangelicals like to talk about scripture and we often read it, but we do not often really study and allow scripture to change us. Wright believes that while personal reading of scripture is very important, scripture needs to be the center of our corporate worship. I know my church, and many Evangelical churches, no longer have focused scripture reading. The sermons attempt to be scripture explication, but extended readings of scripture (more than 90 seconds) are just not a part of the average worship service.
The last section is entirely new to this edition of the book. Wright takes Sabbath and the idea of monogamy within marriage as models to help the reader learn how to appropriately read scripture and submit to its authority. He is not asking you to come to complete agreement with his results, but rather to give you a model. This is fairly similar to the final section of Scot McKnight‘s book the Blue Parakeet, but I think this was done better.
Overall, this is a book that I think that many should read. It moves far beyond the discussion of ‘literal reading’ of scripture or how we should talk about inspiration. And it does it in a way that is patient and graceful to all sides.
I want to address NT Wright to those that may not have read him before and have been warned away from him. The central dispute between NT Wright and the vast majority of his critics is that NT Wright believes the primary purpose of God’s role in the world is to ‘make the world aright.’ God, through the work of Jesus Christ, and the further work of the church since Christ, is redeeming the world to its original purpose. Christ brought about the ability for individual salvation, but individual salvation was not the entire purpose, but the means to bring the whole of creation back to its original purpose. Most of NT Wright’s critics think that that order should be reversed. The purpose of Jesus Christ death and resurection was the redemption of individuals and any restoration of creation is a byproduct of a group of redeemed people. These two different ways of looking at the meta-narrative of the salvation story have widely different implications to how you read scripture and how the church as a whole acts in the world.
Personally, I think both sides are right (and honestly, I think Wright does as well, but he is trying to counter an individualistic and heaven focused Christianity). It is the separation of the parts of Christianity that is the problem and that we need to work in the tension of focusing on individuals that need to be saved, while understanding that all of our work is but a small part in the redemption of the entire world.