The New Testament In Its World
NT Wright and Michael F Bird

The New Testament In Its World

Wright and Bird's 2019 book that the podcasts accompany.

 

"One of the more valuable aspects of this podcast is the personal insights given by Wright. In one episode, he talks in detail about his life as a scholar, how he reads, his favourite books and how he goes about the process of research. It is a fascinating insight into how one of the masters of New Testament scholarship goes about his work."

If you want to know what life was like in the world of the New Testament, it’s hard to go past an offering from pre-eminent New Testament scholar, NT Wright. And when you add the insights of Australian scholar Michael Bird into the mix, it’s just a bonus. This is what we have in the new podcast, The New Testament In Its World.

In 2019, Wright and Bird released a monumental, 980 page, book of the same name. The book is an introduction to the history, literature and theology of the first Christians. This podcast is a wonderful addendum to the comprehensive detail of the book.

The podcast takes the form of a series of conversations with Wright and Bird as they look at different aspects of what life was like in the world of the first Christians and how that shapes our understanding of what we read in the New Testament. There are only five episodes in all, and they each offer a minefield of information sure to satisfy the curiosity of any student of the faith.

In each episode, Bird follows a conversation between himself and Wright with an interview with another scholar about a particular topic relevant to life in the first century Roman world and how it helps us understand and interpret what we read in the New Testament.

As if having scholars of the calibre of Wright and Bird isn’t enough to whet the appetite of anyone wanting to explore New Testament life, the interviewees include the likes of Craig Keener, Lynn Cohick, Nijay Gupta, Jeannine Brown and Esau McCaulley.

In the first episode, Bird and Wright start by discussing with each other about reading the New Testament, with Wright discussing what we need to keep in mind when we read it. Bird then sits down to discuss the Greco-Roman context of the first-century Christians with renowned scholar, Craig Keener.

One of the more valuable aspects of this podcast is the personal insights given by Wright. In one episode, he talks in detail about his life as a scholar, how he reads, his favourite books and how he goes about the process of research. It is a fascinating insight into how one of the masters of New Testament scholarship goes about his work.

The social context of life in the world of the New Testament is also discussed in detail. One example is the place of women. Lynn Cohick provides wonderful insights about what she has found in her study of women in the first century in a conversation that brings some of Paul’s more controversial statements to life.

Some of the seemingly smaller details of interpreting the New Testament are also looked at in this podcast. One of these is the question of whether Paul referred to “faith in Christ” or “the faith of Christ” and why such a seemingly minor difference could have such an impact on our understanding of what being Christian means.

One of the most misunderstood aspects of New Testament interpretation is what it says or doesn’t say about the afterlife. Wright himself has written much in the past about this, and in this podcast he explores it in depth with a discussion of Jesus’ resurrection, how it was understood in the first century and how it needs to be understood today. As Wright himself might say, it could put to rights any misunderstandings of a Christian understanding of the afterlife!

The podcast is enhanced by detailed study guides for each episode. The guides contain points for discussion and a full list of further references which will delight anyone wishing to delve deeper into how the world of the New Testament shaped its writing.

If you are a student of the New Testament or just want to understand how to better read your Bible, this is an invaluable resource. It is a one-stop shop for all your needs in understanding the New Testament in its world. Highly recommended.