How Tom Wright Changed My Life

Yesterday (7 February 2020), St. Mary’s College of Divinity at St. Andrews had an event to honor and remember Tom Wright (a.k.a., N.T. Wright) for his tenure at the university. Professor Wright held a distinguished chair in New Testament for nearly a decade (a chair previously held by Richard Bauckham). As Professor Alan Torrance mentioned yesterday evening, he was responsible for millions of pounds being poured into St. Mary’s via student enrollment and grants. He was also instrumental in Logos (the program I study in) starting and being developed at St. Andrews. But I want to point out a few other ways that I have benefitted from his lifetime of scholarship.

When I was a high school student, I first heard the name N.T. Wright when my pastor and worship pastor wanted to take a group from the church to Oklahoma Christian University where he was speaking. The trip ended up being cancelled, and I didn’t get to go. (I would then meet him New Orleans some years later where he signed every book I had by him at the time, and then I would have classes with him some years after that.) Instead, I wouldn’t interact with Wright’s work for another couple years until I picked up the book Simply Christian and then Simply Jesus after that. Again, I wouldn’t interact with his work in any meaningful way until my undergraduate years.

The two primary things I learned from N.T. Wright which I should have known, but never did, were: the Jewishness of Jesus and the New Testament, and the Christian hope of future resurrection. I grew up in Christian communities that never spent much time thinking about how deeply Jewish Jesus was or the four gospel accounts which talk about him or Paul’s letters or any of it. Jesus is Jewish—not formerly or temporarily Jewish. Jesus continues to be Jewish, as does the New Testament. How are we to read the gospel accounts, Acts, Paul’s writings, the letter to the Hebrews, or the letters from Peter or John or Jude if not as profoundly Jewish texts? Yes, they often write to a wider audience—especially Paul’s letters, but they do so from a religious background and history of thought which is profoundly Jewish.

Finally, Tom Wright taught me the Christian hope. I always imagined death to be the end. I don’t mean that I thought we would just die and that there would be nothing. But I did imagine that we would die and go to heaven—some would go to hell—and that everything would just be disembodied and ethereal. However, in reading Wright’s works, I realized that the New Testament teaches something profoundly different. It teaches that God will raise us bodily from the dead in the end and bring heaven to earth. It teaches that if God doesn’t raise us like Jesus, then we ought to be the most pitied because we are wasting our lives. I can’t even recount the experience of reading The Resurrection of the Son of God for the first time. If I could get everyone to wade through its hundreds of pages, I would want every Christian to read it.

In summary, Tom Wright changed my life. His teaching impacted how my professors read the New Testament. In reading his work, I realized how profoundly he impacted my own professors. In reading his work, I realized essential truths of the Christian faith for the first time. In reading his work, I realized the Christian hope, and in reading his work, I realized that the story of Jesus is the climax of the story of Israel. I, like many, am forever indebted to the life and scholarship of N.T. Wright. May God bless him abundantly in his retirement (even if, it’s just “in name only”)!

Translation Notes for John 1:19-34

Translation Notes

John 1:19-34

Vocabulary to Review/Learn before Translating (in order of appearance):

πόκρισιν – answer

μάντα – strap

ποδήματος – sandal

πέραν – on other other side of, beyond

παύριον – the next day, tomorrow

μνς – lamb

Τεθέαμαι – see

περιστερν – dove, pigeon

1.19

Make sure to find the right subject for ἀπέστειλαν and the correct direct objects.

1.21

You may want to be more dynamic in your translation to account for English vocabulary which would be unnecessary to write in these Greek constructions.

1.26

You will have to supply the subject for ἕστηκεν.

1.28

Sound out Βηθανίᾳ and Ἰορδάνου, and you should be able to guess the places.

Parse βαπτίζων.

1.30

I advice being very dynamic with this.

Parse γέγονεν.

1.31

Parse ᾔδειν.

LXX Genesis 1:1-5

[1] ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν

[2] ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος καὶ σκότος ἐπάνω τῆς ἀβύσσου καὶ πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἐπεφέρετο ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος

[3] καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός γενηθήτω φῶς καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς

[4] καὶ εἶδεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ φῶς ὅτι καλόν καὶ διεχώρισεν ὁ θεὸς ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ φωτὸς καὶ ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ σκότους

[5] καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ φῶς ἡμέραν καὶ τὸ σκότος ἐκάλεσεν νύκτα καὶ ἐγένετο ἑσπέρα καὶ ἐγένετο πρωϊ ἡμέρα μία

Vocabulary you may need:

ἀόρατος – invisible

κατασκεαστος – unbuilt, unconstructed, unprepared, etc.

διεχρισεν – separate, part

αναμέσον – between

σπρα – evening

πρωϊ – morning

Translation Notes for 1 John 1:1-10

Vocabulary to Review/Learn before Translating (in order of appearance):

θεασάμεθα (22) see

ψηλάφησαν (4) touch; feel around for

κοινωνίαν (19) fellowship, participation; generosity, contribution

μετέρα (7) our

γγελία (2) message, command

ναγγέλλομεν (14) announce, report, tell

σκοτία (16) darkness

ψευδόμεθα (12) lie

1.1

What does ὃ refer to? How is best to translate it?

1.2

Parse ἐψηλάφησαν.

1.3

How do you translate χριστοῦ?

1.9

How do you translate δίκαιος and ἀδικίας?

Notice the subjunctives.