The Gospel means good news. But if the message has been around for 2,000 years, what makes it significant today? What’s so “good” about stories involving damnation, violence, and a God who sacrifices his only son?
Noted Bible scholar N.T. Wright shows us how Christians today have lost sight of what the “good news” of the gospel really is. In Simply Good News, he takes us back in time to reveal how the people of the first-century—the gospel’s original audience—would have received Jesus’ message. He offer a clear and thoughtful analysis of what the “good news” really is, and applies it to our lives today, revealing its power to transform us.
Familiar: Since Christian worship services began, areading from the gospels has played a central role.
Studied: For over two hundred years scholars havechallenged and defended the central claims of thegospels: miracles, historical accuracy, the divinity ofJesus, and more.
But Forgotten: Still, leading Bible scholar N. T.Wright reveals shocking news: We have all forgottenwhat the four gospels are about.
"Despite centuries of intense and heavy industryexpended on the study of all sorts of features of thegospels," Wright writes, "we have often managed tomiss the main thing that they, all four of them, aremost eager to tell us. What we need is not just a bitof fine-tuning, an adjustment here and there. We needa fundamental rethink about what the gospels aretrying to tell us."
What Wright offers is an opportunity to confront thesepowerful texts afresh, as if we are encountering themfor the first time. How God Became King reveals thesurprising, unexpected, and shocking news of thegospels: this is the story of a new king, a new kind ofking, a king who has changed everything, and a kingwho invites us to be part of his new world.
Jesus was a skilled storyteller and perceptive teacher who used parables from everyday life to effectively convey his message and meaning. Life in first-century Palestine was very different from our world today, and many traditional interpretations of Jesus’ stories ignore this disparity and have often allowed anti-Semitism and misogyny to color their perspectives.
In this wise, entertaining, and educational book, Amy-Jill Levine offers a fresh, timely reinterpretation of Jesus’ narratives. In Short Stories by Jesus, she analyzes these “problems with parables,” taking readers back in time to understand how their original Jewish audience understood them. Levine reveals the parables’ connections to first-century economic and agricultural life, social customs and morality, Jewish scriptures and Roman culture. With this revitalized understanding, she interprets these moving stories for the contemporary reader, showing how the parables are not just about Jesus, but are also about us—and when read rightly, still challenge and provoke us two thousand years later.
A man who has consciously and deliberately walked the path of Christ, John Shelby Spong has lived his entire life inside the Christian Church. In this profound and considered work, he offers a radical new way to look at the gospels today as he shows just how deeply Jewish the Christian Gospels are and how much they reflect the Jewish scriptures, history, and patterns of worship. Pulling back the layers of a long-standing Gentile ignorance, he reveals how the church’s literal reading of the Bible is so far removed from these original Jewish authors’ intent that it is an act of heresy.
Using the Gospel of Matthew as a guide, Spong explores the Bible’s literary and liturgical roots—its grounding in Jewish culture, symbols, icons, and storytelling tradition—to explain how the events of Jesus’ life, including the virgin birth, the miracles, the details of the passion story, and the resurrection and ascension, would have been understood by both the Jewish authors of the various gospels and by the Jewish audiences for which they were originally written. Spong makes clear that it was only after the church became fully Gentile that readers of the Gospels took these stories to be factual, distorting their original meaning.
In Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy, Spong illuminates the gospels as never before and provides a better blueprint for the future than where the church’s leaden and heretical reading of the story of Jesus has led us—one that allows the faithful to live inside the Christian story in the modern world.