Into the Heart of Romans: A Deep Dive into Paul’s Greatest Letter by N.T. Wright

Into the Heart of Romans: A Deep Dive into Paul's Greatest Letter by N.T. Wright cover imageSummary: A deep dive into Romans 8, making the case that it is centered on vocation and not soteriology.

This will not be a particularly helpful review, but my general tendency these days with NT Wright is to listen to the book to get the argument as a whole and then wait a bit and go back and reread it in print later. I listened to this quickly in the background and did not take any notes.  If you want a broad overview of the book in podcast form, Seminary Dropout and The Holy Post have good interviews. (Holy Post Interview starts at 57 minutes).

The broad summary of this deep dive into a single chapter of Romans is that Romans 8 talks about the vocation of the Christian, not salvation and heaven. That main point is important, and it is a good corrective. But maybe more important than that particular message of the book is how Wright uses this book on Romans 8 to teach how to slowly read and interpret the Bible, especially for those that do not have enough Greek to read the Bible on their own in the original language.

Into the Heart of Romans is a book about interpretation and showing the importance of original language and scholarship in the original languages, not just the “plain reading of scripture.” Wright uses a simple set of questions to examine how each part of the chapter relates to the part before it and how that fits into the argument of the chapter and the book.

I know many people are fans of verse-by-verse preaching. I am not particularly a fan of that style because it often distorts how we view scripture as a whole. There is value in close reading of scripture in study, but not from the pulpit over a long period of time. If you are interested in a close reading of scripture, especially because Romans tend to be such a beloved book by people who like theology, this book is particularly helpful.

Wright has been important in helping the modern church reimagine the importance of Christ’s return and how the idea of heaven was distorted over the past couple hundred years. And I think Into The Heart of Romans furthers that by pointing out that the vocation of being a Christian in this life is important, not just “believe the right things and go to heaven.”

One last point that is particularly helpful in Into the Heart of Romans is that throughout the book Wright is talking about how his current understanding of this chapter has changed relatively recently. This is a book about how he changed his mind about interpreting this chapter in response to several of his students’ work. Again, there is real importance in this book illustrating the right way to respond to changing our minds in public, which is helpful beyond the actual main argument of the book.

Into the Heart of Romans: A Deep Dive into Paul’s Greatest Letter by N.T. Wright Purchase Links: Hardcover, Kindle Edition, Audiobook

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