Nicholas Thomas Wright (born 1 December 1948), known as N. T. Wright or Tom Wright, is an English New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian and Anglican bishop. He was the Bishop of Durham from 2003 to 2010. He then became Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary's College in the University of St Andrews in Scotland until 2019, when he became a senior research fellow at Oxford University.
Wright writes about theology and Christian life and the relationship between them. He advocates a biblical re-evaluation of theological matters such as justification, women's ordination, and popular Christian views about life after death. He has also criticized the idea of a literal Rapture. The author of over seventy books, Wright is highly regarded in academic and theological circles for his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series. The third volume, The Resurrection of the Son of God, is considered by many clergy and theologians to be a seminal Christian work on the resurrection of the historical Jesus,] while the most recently released fourth volume, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, is hailed as Wright's magnum opus
“I do not know how the painting an artist paints today in prayer and wisdom will find a place in God’s new world. I don’t know what musical instruments we will have to play Bach, though I’m sure Bach’s music will be there. I don’t know how my planting a tree today will relate to the wonderful trees that will be in God’s recreated world. I don’t know how my work for justice for the poor, for remission of global debts, will reappear in that new world. But I know that God’s new world of justice and joy, of hope for the whole earth, was launched when Jesus came out of the tomb on Easter morning; I know he calls me and you to live in him and by the power of his spirit, and so to be new-creation people here and now, giving birth to signs and symbols of the kingdom on earth as in heaven.”
Christians often talk as if the Resurrection simply "meant" that individuals can know the living Jesus and discover forgiveness for themselves. That's true, of course, but the full meaning of Easter is the much bigger truth that we are already living in God's new age, under the hidden rule of Christ.
“The human problem isn’t just that God set us a moral exam and we all flunked it. It is that God gave humans a vocation: to reflect his image, to be (again, as in Revelation) a kingdom and priests, summing up the praises of creation and reflecting the creator’s wise rule into the world. Human rebellion and idolatry, then, doesn’t just mean that we are in trouble (though we are); it means that God’s larger purposes for creation are not going ahead as intended. So the long story of God’s plan to put things right, starting with Abraham, climaxing in Jesus and the Spirit, and looking ahead to the new heavens and new earth, isn’t the story of guilty humans being forgiven so they could go to heaven, but of idolatrous (and yes, therefore guilty) humans being rescued in order to be worshippers and workers in God’s restoration movement, God’s kingdom- project.”
~N.T. Wright ‘Interview in Christianity Today Oct. 2016’
In the West we have been so seduced by the Platonic vision of ‘heaven’ that the resurrection of Jesus is seen simply as the “happy ending” after the crucifixion, and as the prelude to his “going to heaven” so that we can go and join him there later. This misses the central point that the resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of the new creation, in which we are to share already in the power of the Spirit. This affects everything, from prayer and the sacraments to mission and service to the poor.
~N.T. Wright ‘Interview in Christianity Today Oct. 2016’
“The biblical concept of fellowship (“koinonia”) is robust it means “to encourage one another, to build one another up in faith, to pray with and for one another, to learn from one another and teach one another, and to set one another examples to follow, challenges to take up, and urgent tasks to perform.”
-N.T. Wright ‘Simply Christian’
“The church exists primarily for two closely correlated purposes: to worship God and to work for his kingdom in the world”
-N.T. Wright ‘Simply Christian’ (p. 211)
“The whole point of what Jesus was up to, was that he was doing close up, in the present what he was promising long-term in the future. And what he was promising for that future and doing in the present was not saving souls for a disembodied eternity, but rescuing people from the corruption and decay of the way the world presently is so that they could enjoy, already in the present, that renewal of creation which is God’s ultimate purpose—and so they could thus become colleagues and partners in that large project.”
If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. And keep looking until you’re caught up in his beautiful work in the world.
The cross is not a defeat, but a victory. It is the dramatic reassertion of the fact that God’s love is sovereign, that the rulers of the world do not have the last word, that the kingdom of God has defeated the kingdom of Satan, that the kingdoms of the world have now become, in principle, the kingdom of our God, and of his Messiah: and he shall reign for ever and ever.
-N.T. Wright Source: Bread and Wine
“There were, to be sure, ways of coping with the death of a teacher, or even a leader. The picture of Socrates was available, in the wider world, as a model of unjust death nobly borne. The category of ‘martyr’ was available, within Judaism, for someone who stood up to pagans… The category of failed but still revered Messiah, however, did not exist. A Messiah who died at the hands of the pagans, instead of winning [God’s] battle against them, was a deceiver… Why then did people go on talking about Jesus of Nazareth, except as a remarkable but tragic memory? The obvious answer is that… Jesus was raised from the dead.”(1)
“The resurrection of Jesus means that the present time is shot through with great significance….Acts of justice and mercy, the creation of beauty and the celebration of truth, deeds of love and the creation of communities of kindness and forgiveness—these all matter, and they matter forever. Take away the resurrection, and these things are important for the present but irrelevant for the future and hence not all that important after all even now. Enfolded in this vocation to build now, with gold, silver, and precious stones, the things that will last into God’s new age, is the vocation to holiness: to the fully human life, reflecting the image of God, that is made possible by Jesus’ victory on the cross and that is energized by the Spirit of the risen Jesus present within communities and persons.”
-N.T. Wright The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (New York: HarperCollins, 1999), 126-127.
“It is striking how the earliest Christians, like mainstream rabbis of the period, clung to the twin doctrines of creation and judgment: God made the world and made it good, and one day he will come and sort it all out. Take away the goodness of creation, and you have a judgment where the world is thrown away as so much garbage, leaving us sitting on a disembodied cloud playing disembodied harps. Take away judgment, and you have this world rumbling on with no hope except the pantheist one of endless cycles of being and history. Put creation and judgment together, and you get new heavens and new earth, created not ex nihilo but ex vetere, not out of nothing but out of the old one, the existing one.”
-N. T. Wright Source: Surprised by Scripture
“the things that happen in the present time to implement Easter and anticipate the final day—are always surprising because, left to ourselves, we lapse into a kind of collusion with entropy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there’s nothing much we can do about them. And we are wrong. Our task in the present… is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day.”
-N.T. Wright Source: Surprised by Hope
“Here is the mystery, the secret, one might almost say the cunning, of the deep love of God: that it is bound to draw on to itself the hatred and pain and shame and anger and bitterness and rejection of the world, but to draw all those things on to itself is precisely the means, chosen from all eternity by the generous, loving God, by which to rid his world of the evils which have resulted from human abuse of God-given freedom.”
“With his shameful, chaotic, horrible death he has gone to the very bottom, to the darkest and deepest place of the ruin, and has planted there the sign that says “Rescued.”
“When Jesus himself wanted to explain to his disciples what his forthcoming death was all about, he didn’t give them a theory, he gave them a meal.”
– N.T. Wright
"Unity is not easy; it never was. But it remains mandatory, not optional.”
“Like craftsmen working on a great cathedral, we have each been given instructions about the particular stone we are to spend our lives carving, without knowing or being able to guess where it will take its place within the grand design. We are assured, by the words of Paul and by Jesus’ resurrection as the launch of that new creation, that the work we do is not in vain. That says it all. That is the mandate we need for every act of justice and mercy, every program of ecology, every effort to reflect God’s wise stewardly image into his creation.”
-N.T. Wright Source: Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues
“To believe in the Trinity is to believe that God came in Jesus to the place where the pain was greatest, to take it upon himself. It is also to believe that God comes today, in the Spirit, to the place where the pain is still at its height, to share the groaning of this world in order to bring the world to new life. But the Spirit doesn’t do that in isolation. The Spirit does it by dwelling within Christians and enabling them to stand, in prayer and suffering, at that place of pain. . . . We stand with those Christians who are at the place of pain right now, continuing through their tears to bear witness to the suffering love of the true God; and we pray for strength to say prophetically to our own government, and to other people’s governments, and to the United Nations, that there is a different way of ordering international affairs, and that we must seek and find it with all urgency.”
-N.T. Wright Source: For All God’s Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church, (pp. 30-31).
“Spiritual depth and renewal come, as and when they come, as part of the larger package. But that package itself is about being delivered from evil; about God’s kingdom coming on earth as it is in heaven.”
-N. T. Wright