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how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

Summarising Romans again: from individuals to groups to apocalyptic narrative

Pete Enns has an excellent Bible for Normal People podcast on Romans in which he “shares 10 things essential to understanding the book of Romans.” I wrote about this last year, but since Geoff Leslie asked about it, here’s a brief rerun.

Enns’ emphasis on the importance of groups gives a better account of the letter than Andrew Errington’s tweeted synopsis, which reads the text, in time-honoured fashion, as a treatise (or “tweet-ise”) on personal salvation and life under grace (except that, by some unexplained logic, in the end all Israel will be saved).

The first thing to say about David Bentley Hart’s book, That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, & Universal Salvation is that it takes as its point of departure the “Question of an Eternal Hell”. Immediately here, I think, we have the trouble with universalism. It has been devised as a solution... (10th Sep. 2019 | 2 comments)
I’m impressed by Andrew Errington’s lively tweeted summary of the argument of Romans—so impressed, in fact, that I thought I’d try a narrative-historical version. It’s an excellent little exercise, given the complexity of the letter. It’s crucial for good interpretation to have a sense of the whole... (3rd Sep. 2019 | 6 comments)
Here I want to try and answer some questions sent to me by someone who grew up in the “reformed, fundamental, SBC” tradition but has spent the best part of the last year deconstructing his faith “down to nothing.” He has been reading the work of historically-minded interpreters like Pete Enns and... (20th Aug. 2019 | 5 comments)
Certain core emphases or tenets have emerged over the years as I have dug myself deeper and deeper into the pit of the narrative-historical perspective:The key to understanding the Bible is history, not theology.What holds the whole thing together is the historical existence of a people that tells... (14th Aug. 2019 | 5 comments)
In the opening paragraph of his book Jewish Messianism and the Cult of Christ (SCM Press, 1998) William Horbury outlines a basic model for understanding the relation of the Old Testament to history. His leading contention is that the Old Testament “forms the backbone of any study of messianism in... (6th Aug. 2019 | 3 comments)
At the Communitas Family Reunion in Malaga last week my friend Wes led a brilliant series of teaching conversations on Daniel 9. In my view it was a model of narrative-historical pedagogy. The historical context was critically appraised and kept in focus, and precisely for that reason our group of... (30th Jul. 2019 | 1 comment)
A post by the Arminian theologian Roger Olson this week outlining “9.5 Theses about Evangelical Christianity” serves to illustrate a number of the points that I made with my little diagram about theology and history. It’s a quick read. Here’s my take on it.1. I don’t see the problem with... (19th Jul. 2019 | 7 comments)
It’s summer in the northern hemisphere, and there’s not much happening, so I was doodling and came up with a little diagram to show the difference between traditional evangelical thought and the approach that I take on this blog. For many readers it will be familiar, but if you’re new here, it may... (16th Jul. 2019 | 6 comments)