Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Last Word” as Want to Read:
The Last Word
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Last Word

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  600 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The Last Word by N. T. Wright has descriptive copy which is not yet available from the Publisher.
ebook, 100 pages
Published May 5th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published December 1st 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Last Word, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Last Word

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,152)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
W. Littlejohn
It's hard to find anything to disagree with in this book--and that is intended as both a compliment and as, I suppose, a complaint.

The book is quite concise and basic, like several of Wright's more popular-level works (a similar sort of work, for instance, is his Evil and the Justice of God). Of course, being by Wright, concise and basic doesn't mean shallow and simplistic. You can tell this is just the tip of an iceberg, with Wright's enormous erudition and theological imagination lying undern
This was the first Wright book I've read and I found much to like in it. He's an engaging writer which helps explain some of his popularity. I think I most appreciated his strong challenge to church leaders to remember their call to immerse themselves in the scripture (which he never capitalizes), feed their flocks, and not get entirely caught up in church politics and bureaucracy. I didn't appreciate his constant digs at "North America" and his seeming savior mentality through his use of histor ...more
Our fellowship just began to study how we interpret Scripture. This is part of denomination-wide time of discernment about how Scripture shapes the way we live together as Jesus' followers.

N.T. Wright's The Last Word couldn't have come at a better time.

TLW isn't a how-to text book for biblical hermeneutics (I have a few of those on my shelf--thick ones!). Instead this brief book takes up the question of Scripture's authority: What does it mean to live under the authority of Scripture?

Wright ans
In this slim and highly readable book, Wright proposes that biblical scholars frame the "battle for the Bible" in a wider context, implying that instead of wrestling with one another over what certain passages are saying (what the texts "mean"), we should first grapple with a deeper question: what is to be understood by the phrase "the authority of scripture"? I found Wright to be strong, clear, and helpful in the discussion of how enlightenment thinking, modernism, and postmodernism have suppli ...more
John Martindale
"As i have argued in this book, "the authority of scripture" is really a shorthand for "the authority of God exercised through scripture"; and God's authority is not merely his right to control and order the church, but his sovereign power, exercised in and through Jesus and the Spirit, to bring all things in heaven and on earth into subjection to his judging and healing rule... in other words, if we are to be true, at the deepest level, to what scriptural authority really means, we must underst ...more
Nov 26, 2010 Hallie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Audrey
Shelves: to-read-again
Leaving aside a few irritating tics on the part of the author (including the constant use of the phrase "over against" as some kind of compound preposition), this book was full of decent writing and interesting ideas. The last chapter is the most worth reading, but you have to get through the rest of the book for it to make sense, at least in the context the author wants. But on second thought, if you aren't going to read the whole book, you should still read the last chapter. The author manages ...more
Carlito Centeno
I'm not keen on the doctrine of Inerrancy, at least in its contemporary connotation. Certainly, the scope of this review is not fit to unpack such a complex concept. Inerrancy, however, is an argument for the "authority" of scripture. This, the authority of scripture, though some would find ironic, I do hold as a dear belief.

In "The Last Word", N.T. Wright deals with how the scripture, though a collection of ancient texts, are still authoritative today. N.T. Wright has recently become a favorit
This book is primarily about the autority of Scripture. Wright's context is largely historical Jesus studies and Ancient Near-Eastern cultures. Here, Wright sets off to more fully develop an argument that he sets forth in his previous (massive) works as well as the incredibly provocative essay in Vox Evangelica entitled "How Can The Bible Be Authoritative?".

Wright's major premise is that the Scriptures can only be considered to be authoritative if we understnad that authoirt as being derived fr
This is the second N.T. Wright book I've read, and I'm definitely becoming a fan. I love his insight, as well as his ability to make scholarly concerns very accessible to non-scholars. He's especially good at developing analogies to describe difficult concepts. In that respect, he reminds me a bit of another favorite Christian author, C. S. Lewis.

In this book, Wright takes on the question of Biblical authority. What does it mean to say the Bible is authoritative? How do we interpret it in a way
Some are quick to compare N.T. Wright to C.S. Lewis. I can see that. Both are English. Both write a profound demonstration of the worthiness and truthfulness of the Christian faith. Both write in a manner that appeals to people of all walks of life and all sorts of background – to the classically theologically trained to the casual observer. Both have the ability to take a complex reality and make it understandable for a mass audience. However, one important differences is that C.S. Lewis was a ...more
This book merits a second reading (at least). It is packed with information that I need more time to absorb. Upon first reading, I deeply respect Bishop Wright's viewpoint and the spirit with which he approaches and presents the subject. He is both wise and brilliant. But due to the shear depth and volume of information and the concepts presented, I did not come away after first reading feeling that I have grasped his thesis. this is almost certainly due to my lack of understanding, and I will d ...more
Insightful overview of the place of scripture in the life of the church. Wright examines the phrase "the authority of scripture" and details how it is more about the relationship of the Father as revealed in the Son working through the Spirit to communicate and complete His work in the world than it is about oft misunderstood words like inerrancy and infallibility. Wright touches on recent scholarship as well as plenty of historical context and church history. I learned that to the Reformers, a ...more
This is my first book by Bishop Wright, and, quite accidentally, I think it would be a good entry-book for anyone wanting to start reading Wright. He is clear and concise in tracing his main point -- that the Scripture is authoritative in the sense that it helps guide the church in discussion and discovery of orthodoxy and orthopraxy -- throughout church history. (He also has better sentence structure than I do!) He also is clear on his expectations for how Scripture should be used today, and ca ...more
N.T. Wright tries to identify what our present culture actually means when it appeals to the "authority" of scripture and then tries to define how the current church should view the concept. Wright points out how believers should fulfill their role as Christ followers today in view of God's overarching narrative for His creation. He finally goes on to point out the flaws conservatives and liberals have when using the Bible for their everyday agendas, then concludes the book with how we ought to ...more
I think this is my favorite of all of Wright's shorter, more-accessible books I've read so far. It's not as scholarly as his longer books, but it provides a more substantial challenge to the reader than his book on the Psalms, or most pop-Christian authors. Perfect as an introduction to Wright.
Good - I would've liked if it had been longer. Chapter 7 ("Misreadings of Scripture") was curious: Wright lists numerous ways (he thinks) the Bible has been mishandled. I'm surprised he would just toss this list out like that with no real intention of explaining where the errors lie (that, in itself, could be the aim of another book).
Wright, an Anglican Bishop, explores what it means for the Bible to have authority. He attempts to navigate between the two extremes of postmodern critique and fundamentalist style 'literalism,' and achieves some success. POinting out that fundamentalist readings of scripture are actually just as modern as the approaches they seek to critique, Wright argues for a balanced approach that involves a fully contextual reading taking into account the findings of BIblical criticism without swallowing i ...more
An excellent and challenging read on Biblical authority and Scripture. Seeks to move past debate over code words or phrases and move to what does the Scripture speak about its own authority and the the message the Word of God is seeking to convey. Also seeks to move past polarization to discussion and study of the Scriptures themselves. The emphasis is on the interpretation within the flow of the Scriptures, not pulling out what we want and ignoring other. I am afraid for all the rhetoric we hav ...more
A good corrective on the authority of Scripture for the constant liberal vs. conservative debates in which each side essentially talks past each other. Given its brevity, certainly worth a read.
Alex Stroshine
Anything N.T. Wright writes about is worthwhile to read. However, the briefness of the book leaves a lot of its content not as fully formed or explored as I would have liked. For instance, the compilation of the canon is not very thoroughly discussed. Still, Wright has a good grasp of the competing ideologies, both left and right, who would hijack the Bible for their own purposes and Wright does well to answer criticisms of Scripture raised both my modernity and postmodernity. He also explains h ...more
Chris Bloom
This is a book that appears simple until you really start thinking about the issues being discussed. As a member of a Southern Baptist church, I'm accustomed to accepting the superiority of biblical authority as a given. Wright goes a step further, asking what "the authority of Scripture" actually means. In a very small book, he manages to explore this issue theologically and practically.

It would be dishonest to say that I enjoyed the whole thing, because his prose is a bit dry at points, but I
A brief book - probably too brief - that contains many helpful reflections on the nature of Biblical authority. Wright has a great eye for how the Bible ought to function in the life of the church. He is no doubt right to say that if the church's use of the Bible falls short of promoting the mission of the church then the Bible's authority has been truncated - meaning, for instance, that if the Bible becomes merely a final court of appeals used to adjudicate between theological opinions at the e ...more
Joel Wentz
There is a clear split between Wright's "academic" books and his more accessible work. This short book is firmly in the latter category. However, it still packs quite a punch in what it communicates about the Western tendencies in misinterpreting scripture. The lengthy chapter on the effects of the Enlightenment is particularly strong. If you have read any of the "New Testament and the People of God", then you will probably not find anything terribly new here. However, if you aren't into reading ...more
John Barbour
Wright's book was written for people like me. Scripture has been central to my life for over 40 years. I mean, what could be more interesting (exciting at times and scary at others) than the Creator speaking to us, the very crown of His creation? The book immediately captures my attention by addressing the relationship of scripture to the stuff of life that I regularly wonder about and seek to answer. To wit: The Scripture and Culture, The Scripture and politics, The Scripture and philosophy, Th ...more
Greg Hess
A good introduction to a future discussion. Since the current title implies that this gets you to an answer, it should be changed. Perhaps something in the footsteps of Kant would be fitting: 'Prolegomena to any Future' Biblical Hermeneutic.

He lays out a basic way of looking at the Bible and approaching the passages therein. As noted above, more specificity would be great, but he seemed to dodge all of that in favor of accessibility (catching the layman up on what the scholar has been thinking).
A popularized treatment of how Wright understands the authority of God to work though Scripture. Wright's greatest strength or one of his greatest, and there are many, is his ability to think freshly and clearly about issues and topics around which have grown up a lot of time- worn and now unhelpful, routinized ways of thinking and speaking that actually stifle understanding and living as a Christ follower. And the man can communicate; in writing or spoken word. Get Wright! Read Wright!
An interesting, and not-too-difficult-to-understand, discussion of what is meant by the term "authority of Scripture." The Bible is itself not the authority, to be used as a source for proving any one idea "correct", but as God's authority experienced through the reading and study of Scripture, to speak to us personally. I read this right after reading Borg's book about the infalliability and authority of the Bible...Wright and Borg are two friends with very different views on this topic.
This was a very good overview of church history and how the Bible was read and interpreted, specifically what lenses historical readers may have used in determining church theology and doctrine, or how philosophical foundations of the time influenced Christian thinking.

On a couple specific occasions, Wright made profound statements that I took with me to think about more carefully to my own evaluation of the church and my faith.

It's not long, and I would recommend it to anyone.
This book is good for what it is – not an apologetic piece for biblical authority, but clear, concise, and fresh reflections on the nature of the Bible (what it is) and hermeneutics (how to read it). I have to admit, though, that I’m starting to get bored with Wright because it seems like once you “get” his approach to things, you can start to anticipate everything he is going to say (and sometimes even how he’s going to say it!)

Great book by NT Wright in which Wright, with broad strokes, paints his view of biblical authority as the scripturally mediated authority of God framed by the redemptive purposes of God in Christ as it unfolds in history. Wright's Five Act Model, more elaborately expounded elsewhere, helps to understand the dynamic role of Scripture in a process of interpretation and application in which we are actively involved.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 38 39 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture
  • The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible
  • Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon
  • The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story
  • Evangelical Theology: An Introduction
  • Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament
  • Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (Spiritual Theology #2)
  • The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate
  • A Place for Truth: Leading Thinkers Explore Life's Hardest Questions
  • Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire
  • The Last Word and the Word After That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity
  • Jesus Manifesto
  • Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God
  • The Skeptical Believer: Telling Stories to Your Inner Atheist
  • The Meaning of Jesus
  • Slaves, Women Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis
  • Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?: ('Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV)
  • Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels
N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England (2003-2010) and one of the world's leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. He has been featured on ABC News, Dateline NBC, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air, and he has taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGi ...more
More about N.T. Wright...

Share This Book

“Traditions tell us where we have come from. Scripture itself is a better guide as to where we should now be going.” 9 likes
“Many in the church have turned their back on serious study, and have embraced an anti-intellectualism which refuses to learn anything from scholarship at all lest it corrupt their pure faith. It is time to end this standoff, and to reestablish a hermeneutic of trust (itself a sign of the gospel!) in place of the hermeneutic of suspicion which the church has so disastrously borrowed from the postmodern world.” 3 likes
More quotes…