Simply Christian is essential reading for anyone who wants to consider the real fundamentals of Christianity or is intrigued by its claims about the place of justice, beauty, and love in our daily lives. Written in a lively and accessible style, though rooted in solid scholarship, this book describes the exciting relevance of the Bible and the Christian story for the contemporary world.
It is laid out helpfully in three sections. The first opens with the frustrated longings of humanity for justice, spirituality, relationships, and beauty: why are things like this, do they have to be so, and can life be lived differently? Tom Wright then sets out the central Christian belief about God and his creation, and explores the biblical analysis of what’s wrong with the world. He explains God’s plan for its renewal, and the central importance of Jesus. In the final section, he explores what it means to follow Jesus, to be energized by the Holy Spirit and to advance God’s plan for our world.
This question brings up new angles on many other issues: the relation of Scripture, tradition, and reason; the place of experience; the many-sided problems of the use and abuse of the Bible in relation to personal and public life. N. T. Wright’s contribution to this intense debate will bring fresh clarity to many puzzling questions.
“Or we can say, if we like, that the reason we have these dreams, the reason we have a sense of a memory of the echo of a voice, is that there is someone there speaking to us, whispering in our inner ear, someone who cares very much about this present world, and our present selves, and who has made us, and it, for a purpose which will indeed involve justice, things being put to rights, ourselves being put to rights, the world being rescued at last.” (Page 8)
“‘Heaven’ in this latter, very common, biblical sense is God’s space as opposed to our space, not God’s location within our space-time universe. The question is then whether God’s space and our space intersect, and if so how, when and where.” (Page 52)
“And I still break them. The line between justice and injustice, between things being right and things not being right, can’t be drawn between ‘us’ and ‘them’. It runs right down through the middle of each one of us.” (Page 5)
“We honour and celebrate our complexity and our simplicity by continually doing five things. We tell stories. We act out rituals. We create beauty. We work in communities. We think out beliefs.” (Page 43)
“The death of Jesus of Nazareth as the King of the Jews, the bearer of Israel’s destiny, the fulfilment of God’s promises to his people of old, is either the most stupid, senseless waste and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or it is the fulcrum around which world history turns.” (Page 95)
The arguments are sophisticated, and Wright is a brilliant expositor of the Bible.
—The Times Literary Supplement
Simply Christian is thought provoking. It provides a solid biblical basis for moving beyond private religion, and raises many of the issues that warrant much further work.
—Mick Pope, (PhD., Monash University), Professor of Environmental Theology and Missional University
Nicholas Thomas “Tom” Wright (1948–) is a New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and Anglican bishop and currently Research Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Mary's College in the University of St Andrews and Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. Christianity Today named him one of today's top theologians.
Wright was born in Morpeth, Northumberland, and recounts an awareness of God's presence from a young age—and that relationship with God ever since is reflected in his life and work. He's a prolific author; one of his most popular books, Surprised by Hope, frames the resurrection of the dead as the appropriate hope for all believers rather than an overemphasis on just "going to heaven when you die." He's among the leading theologians in the New Perspective on Paul debate. Wright has several honorary doctoral degrees, and in 2014, the British Academy awarded him the Burkitt Medal "in recognition of special service to biblical studies." In 2015, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Wright served as chaplain at Cambridge from 1978 to 1981, then as assistant professor of New Testament language and literature at McGill University in Montreal. Before becoming a chaplain, tutor, lecturer, and fellow at Oxford in 1986, Wright served as dean of Lichfield Cathedral, canon theologian of Westminster Abbey, and the bishop of Durham from 2003–10. In addition to the entire New Testament for Everyone Series, some of N. T. Wright's books include The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians, Who Was Jesus, The New Testament and the People of God, God and the Pandemic, Evil and the Justice of God, Surprised by Hope, and Simply Christian. He coauthored Jesus the Final Days with Craig A. Evans.