Put all this together, and what do we have, as the central, shaping marker of the new worldview, taking the place and bearing the weight that the Jewish symbols had borne within the worldview of Saul of Tarsus? We have precisely the gospel, the euangelion, the ‘good news’, rooted in the ‘good news’ spoken of in the Great Prophet [Isaiah], confronting the ‘good news’ carved in stone around Caesar’s empire. We have the symbol by which Paul declared that he was himself defined, the anchor of his own vocational mindset: Paul, an apostle, set apart for the good news of God; I am not ashamed of the good news, because it is God’s power for salvation to all who believe; the Messiah did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel; woe to me if I do not announce the good news; I do it all for the sake of the good news; let me remind you of the gospel which I announced to you, which you received, in which you stand firm, through which you are saved; the gospel of the glory of the Messiah, who is the image of God; your confession of faith in the Messiah’s gospel has brought you into proper order; let me remind you that the gospel which was gospelled by me was not something I received from other people; I did it so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you; my calling is to gospel to the gentiles the unsearchable riches of the Messiah; what has been happening to me has been for the advancement of the gospel; let your public life be worthy of the gospel of the Messiah; don’t move away from the hope of the gospel; our gospel was not in word only, but in power, in the holy spirit, and in full conviction; I wanted to keep Onesimus with me, to serve me on your behalf in the bonds of the gospel. The gospel, the gospel, the gospel. It defined Paul. It defined his work. It defined his communities. It was the shorthand summary of the theology which, in turn, was the foundation for the central pillar for the new worldview. It carried God’s power. That was just as well: the worldview, and those who lived by it, were going to need it.
One of the most impactful pieces of biblical scholarship on my own thinking has to be Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works and the Gospel of King Jesus (Baker 2017) by Dr. Matthew Bates. As part of his goal to explain what “faith” is in the New Testament, he provides a wonderfully clear explanation and incisive summary of what the gospel actually is. Over the last couple of years re-examining my own understanding of the faith and trying to determine what are its core tenets, Bates’ summary of the gospel was exactly what I was looking for. It perfectly captured in a clear and concise manner what I had come to consider as the very centrepiece of the Bible and the foundational message of the faith. Now using his summary of the gospel as a template, which you can read here, I have attempted my own below. Continue reading “The Good News in Summary”
If you are familiar with books on biblical studies, you are quite aware that when Christians scholars are doing history regarding the Bible, their objective is to do a neutral appraisal of the facts, therefore they try to set aside their personal theology and beliefs. Systematic theologian Seth Heringer provocatively contends that this “historical critical” approach is not the best way to do history. In the stimulating interview below at OnScript podcast, Dr. Heringer takes on big names like N.T. Wright and explains why Christian scholars should take an unabashedly theological approach to history. Continue reading “Doing History Theologically?”
Pilgrim’s Pensieve #32
My recent realisation of an underlying royal narrative is an important milestone in my journey exploring Scripture. The name of this blog is a reference to John Bunyan’s story because Christianity for me has been an exciting journey of a pilgrim seeking understanding. So this blog has been somewhat of a travelogue in my expeditions into understanding Scripture. Continue reading “The End of the Royal Arc”
In the video below, renowned New Testament scholar Tom Wright discusses the significance of the Jewish exile on New Testament thought and theology. Continue reading “Wright on Exile”