NT Wright on the authority of Scripture and the Christian hope


The phrase “authority of scripture” can make Christian sense only if it is shorthand for “the authority of the triune God, exercised somehow through scripture.” When we examine what the authority of scripture means we’re talking about God’s authority which is invested in Jesus himself, who says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, NRSV)

Too much debate about scriptural authority has had the form of people hitting one another with locked suitcases. It is time to unpack our shorthand doctrines, to lay them out and inspect them. Long years in a suitcase may have made some of the contents go moldy. They will benefit from fresh air, and perhaps a hot iron.

The point of following Jesus isn’t simply so that we can be sure of going to a better place than this after we die. Our future beyond death is enormously important, but the nature of the Christian hope is such that it plays back into the present life. We’re called, here and now, to be instruments of God’s new creation, the world-put-to-rights, which has already been launched in Jesus and of which Jesus’ followers are supposed to be not simply beneficiaries but also agents.

Bishop NT Wright, in this interview. Hat tip to Eddie Arthur.

0 thoughts on “NT Wright on the authority of Scripture and the Christian hope

  1. Pingback: Pseudo-Polymath » Blog Archive » Friday Highlights

  2. Pseudo-Polymath, you commented on your blog:

    Peter Kirk quotes Wright on sola scriptura, actually that quote could work just as well, replacing “scripture” with “tradition” or “liturgy” as well.

    As comments are closed on your blog, I will reply here.

    Indeed, the quote would be valid with “tradition” or “liturgy” instead of “scripture”. But the open question is whether God does actually exercise his authority through tradition or liturgy, apart from Scripture. I suspect not. So, while I value tradition and liturgy in the right contexts, and as long as they accord with Scripture rather than contradict it, I do not speak of them as in any way authoritative. I’m not sure how far Wright would agree with me.

  3. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » CS Lewis on the true Word of God

  4. The only way we can know and learn about Christ today is by reading the bible and making the proper applications in our life. Following tradition can get us in trouble if it based upon the traditions of men and not the authority of Christ. Consider Matthew 15:7-9, I Timothy 6:3-4, 2John 9-11.

  5. Pingback: Biblical Authority « Become A Robot

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