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Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters
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Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,300 ratings  ·  191 reviews
We have grown used to the battles over Jesus—whether he was human or divine, whether he could do miracles or just inspire them, whether he even existed. Much of the church defends tradition, while critics take shots at the institution and its beliefs. But what if these debates have masked the real story of Jesus? What if even Jesus’s defenders have been so blinded by their ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by HarperOne (first published 2011)
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This book should be titled: "Jesus: It's Complicated"

As could be expected, in this book Wright attempts to open up his dense and nuanced arguments from Jesus and the Victory of God for the non-academic audience.

Trouble is, he has already boiled down those arguments in The Challenge of Jesus. Basically the conclusions in this present work are the same as those he's already put forward several times before (so I can't see why the subtitle mentions a "new vision" etc.), but Wright has a brilliant m
Paul Mullen
If you could rate a book by how much underlining you do, this one would be among the highest rated in my collection. Wright takes a position on key debatables (e.g. "when did Jesus realize what his role was in history?") But he goes farther than this, tying together key themes that cross the boundaries of covenant, history, struggle, and place. His key theme is that there is not so much of a difference in the place of Heaven and Earth, and that the reign of God on earth has already started. The ...more
Jesus introduced himself and identified himself as a king. Today we greatly marginalize the significance of this through a spiritualized gospel that focuses on personal morality for entrance into an other-worldly after-life, upon which the author drily comments, "will not do."

Wright elaborates at length upon the Jewish messianic expectations and teachings from the OT, the strife and political culture in the Roman world, and upon God's intervention within and beyond these two, all culminating in
Tim Hatfield
Relistening to this started today 3.6.2013

Taking more in the second go round. I already know the basics of the tour so I think I'm able to pay attention to the scenery a bit better so far.

I love Wrights exegesis and his writing style in this book. Wright is very repetitive but you won't miss his points.

Jesus is the new Moses, the new Joshua, the mobile temple of God, the new meeting place (ladder) between heaven and earth. He is leading THE exodus from THE Egypt which will conquer Satan and al
Adam Smith
(From my blog -

One thing I can certainly say about N.T. Wright is that he is consistent. So far, across the four books I have read by him, he challenges the conventional notions that Christians have accumulated over the years about Jesus. Wright indeed gives a new vision of who Jesus really was, what he did, and why he matters.

Conservatives need not fear, Wright is not pushing some liberal agenda. He is trying to help us take a historical and theological
Sten Anderson
It pains me to give a "two stars" to a Wright book, but given Goodread's guidelines, "It was OK" is my honest reaction.

I generally enjoy Wright's books quite a bit and feel that he has a very honest, likely accurate interpretation of how the people at the time were receiving the events around them.

I think I felt, perhaps cheated, this time around, for lack of a better word…or maybe just disappointed. The book touches on the "New Atheists" as a competing voice in the conversation, a coming storm,
Dean Summers
This has become my new #1 favorite book! Though I’d give it a different title. I’d call it Who Does Jesus Think He Is? A Straightforward Reading of the Gospels in their Historical, Literary, and Cultural Context.

That’s just one of many reasons why N.T. Wright sells more books than I. His editors are much better at coming up with good titles.

That said, the subtitle they chose, A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters, could be a little misleading. It certainly is if you under
I took my time over this because I had the feeling that at some point it was going to say something 'really important' but I was disappointed that it never really did, it just seemed to put across what has been taught in many other places. I cannot say that it made it into a bad book as such but I think it was perhaps my expectations that were amiss. For a book written by a theologian (NT Wright) attempting to present something to the non academic (why else style himself Tom Wright for this othe ...more
N.T. Wright's Simply Jesus, though slow in the beginning, shows a refreshing new (or old) way of looking at Jesus. The book is aimed at putting Jesus in his historical and cultural context, and thereby showing Jesus' purpose in his ministry and how his actions across Israel contributed to that ministry. Resulting from this analysis of Jesus' life, is a more down to earth figure that is very different than how many Christians view Jesus today.

Having originally come from a Christian faith that b
Erik Manning
The middle chapters contain the meat. Wright shows us just how radical Jesus claims and works are by putting him in his historical setting. But this book contains much more than so called "head knowledge ". I came away with a deeper love for Jesus as both King and servant and a desire to bring his kingdom into greater visibility on earth. My tiny gripe is that while Wright drives the point home that Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not, he seems to encourage some Constantinian like approaches to huma ...more
Although I found the first ~half near-unbearably dry/basic, the second half was well worth the wait and I am glad I persevered. Wright effectively (..respectfully..insightfully..) navigates between two somwhat contradictory worldviews regarding who Jesus is. He uses the analogy of a "storm" throughout the book, and at one point alludes to the "blowing winds" of (1) Western skepticism regarding Jesus' divinity (the claim "He was a good prophet and teacher, but nothing more.") and (2) Christian fu ...more
NT Wright helps paint the historical picture of the time incarnate Jesus entered history. He shows the three forces that propelled the Gospel. The Jewish expectation of a Messiah to rid them of Roman rule; the Roman political infrastructure (and Herodian) that wants to keep power; and the spiritual forces of God defeating Satan. The book helps you better understand the times of Christ, and hence, better understand the context of the Gospels. Definitely one to add to your theology shelf.
I'm pretty sure my pastor used this book to preach at Christmas. He promised us a "totally new way of looking at Jesus" and he delivered. At the time Jesus was born, both Jews and Romans were in search of a savior. Both had prophecies of a new king to be born of a virgin, both sang songs and worshipped this new king yet to be, both nations felt they were destined to rule the world. Rome's Cesar had declared himself divine, and God sent forth his son Jesus. Israel had been under enemy rule many t ...more
Jonathan McIntosh
This became one of my favorite N.T. Wright works for lay readers. A lot of what is said here, he has said in other places, but I still kept coming across aha moments about the person and work of Christ. Simply Jesus stimulated my thinking about Christ but God also used it to stir my affections for Christ as well. I wish everyone in my church would read the last chapter on what it looks like for the church to claim that Jesus is ruler of the world now.
Charles Erlandson
A Brilliant and Provocative Book on Jesus and His Kingdom. Chapters 11-15 are especially good and will help you to understand more deeply and correctly the gospel message. Wright helps the reader to get beyond simplistic and truncated views of Jesus, his reign, and the meaning of salvation. Read the rest of my review at:
At the beginning I didn't think I would like this book as much due to the "simple" aspect of Simply Jesus. After listening to Wright lecture, and reading some of his other books/essays, I thought this was going to be dumbed-down a bit much as I read through the first few chapters. I later discovered that I appreciated this more intelligible version Wright's theology! N.T. Wright always reminds me of the reality of the Kingdom of God even in this present age. Focusing on what's wrong with the wor ...more
Eric Chappell
I'm too timid to jump into Wright's more academic stuff, so I keep reading his pop-theology. This book sounds to me (and Wright admits as much) like a condensed version of some of his other work written for a broader audience. In Simply Jesus, Wright intends to reorient our view of Jesus to something that more closely resembles the real thing. As Wright argues, "We have reduced the kingdom of God to private piety, the victory of the cross to comfort for the conscience, and Easter itself to a hap ...more
Jerry Hillyer
Title: Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He was, What He Did, and Why He Matters

Author: N.T. Wright

Publisher: HarperOne

Year: 2011

Pages: 240

I am typically disinclined to give an N.T.Wright book a poor review. I'm not going to start doing so here. That's not to say I have no criticisms; I do. But I really have a difficult time understanding why so many folks get their pants in a wad when it comes to Wright's work.

Every now and again an author comes along on our planet who understands that deep ins
The last 2 chapters of this book are worth reading the whole thing for. So much good history in this book to help us put Jesus and the Gospels into their historical context. For those who feel intimidated by NT Wright's work this is a great book to read.
Keith Madsen
N.T. Wright is quickly becoming one of my favorite biblical scholars. While holding tradition in high regard, he closely examines the Scriptural text and considers the insights of historical criticism and the input of other scholars. In SIMPLY JESUS, he seeks to look at who Jesus was, apart from all of the misconceptions which have developed over the years. I found his information on other would-be Messiahs of Jesus' time (Judah the Hammer and Simon bar Kochba) particularly informative. I also a ...more
Perhaps I like Bishop/Professor Wright's books so much because his point of view is so congruent with that of my Doktorvater, Gerhard Lohfink, and it was this approach to New Testament theology that caused me to choose Professor Lohfink to direct my doctoral work in the first place. There is much in "Simply Jesus" that parallels Lohfink's "Jesus of Nazareth: What He Wanted, Who He Was," published in English translation (mine) in 2012 by Liturgical Press, but there's no way a translation can yiel ...more
Very good book and well written. Wright portray's a highly accurate and complete understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus and what God is expecting from His followers. He makes a huge correction to North American thinking that the "Rapture" is important, but rightly points out that the basis in 1 Thessalonians is greatly misunderstood and that the Rapture is much more myth than biblical fact. Further Wright advocates that Christians need to learn to properly read and study the Bible which ...more
This is a book I need to re-read. Incredibly powerful in the concept of the message of Jesus and the response we need to have as the Church.
This book is well-worth the time to read and has helped reframe how I hear scripture and sermons. At least for me, it is sometimes dense reading, particularly towards the end. All of Wright's conclusions about Jesus make sense and the last chapter really makes the case that Jesus' rule on earth is inaugurated through people - the church. That also makes sense, but my one disappointment is that the last chapter really doesn't address human sinfulness, including in the church. I know how broken I ...more
Matthew Johnson
There is much to love about this book, but most satisfying for me is who he intends this book for. He quotes a comment from his dad, "I've looked up 'eschatology' three times in the dictionary and I keep forgetting what it means." I empathized with Wright's dad immediately after reading this, and further to read that Wright's dad was always a part of the "target audience" of which he was subconsciously aware, made me feel grateful for the chance to be part of the intimate relationship between th ...more
Anne Jordan-Baker
The title is ironic since the first major point Wright makes is that understanding Jesus is really hard work, given the huge gap between his time and culture and ours. There wasn't ever a "simple Jesus," and he's even more complicated now for the reasons above. I have no quarrel with this, and I appreciate Wright's insistence on historical accuracy and context. But, the more I read, the more I felt paralyzed by the contortions necessary to make this ethereal worldview make "sense." Not that I ne ...more
Joy Wilson
This book has definitely caused me to go deeper in my understanding of Jesus praying for "thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven". I have been challenged to look at some deep assumptions I have made in my Christian walk and I now see that I have oversimplified and missed the point at times. I also feel that this book deserves another read at some point because it did have some deep discussions of theology. I appreciate the casual, yet earnest style of Wright and look forward to reading mor ...more
Becky B
Let me tell you a little story (I promise it's related). When I lived in Korea I went to see Shrek when it first came out in theaters. I went with a fellow American teacher, and we were the only foreigners in the entire packed out theater. 80% of the time we were the only ones laughing at the jokes in the movie. Why? It wasn't because Koreans don't have a sense of humor (they do). It was because the Koreans just didn't get the American pop cultural references and so they didn't understand the jo ...more
I did not enjoy this book for a large variety of reasons, both literary and theological.

Throughout the book, the pace is really slow, and I believe that this book could be cut down to half of its size, and yet, retain all of the details that Wright wanted to address. This book was painstakingly redundant, especially with the themes of the Exodus. These themes are important, but you do not have to remind the reader of them after every few sentences! Also, I was frustrated with the presentation o
Angus Mcfarlane
This book is another follow up to Wrigth's self-imposed challenge in The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is to treat with post modernism about Christianity, as he also does in Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. In this book, as the title suggests, wright is presenting a perspective on the historical Jesus (rather than the history of the church and its main beliefs). This is tackled with courage and grace. The historical Jesus has either been the construct of libe ...more
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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...
Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is The New Testament and the People of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #1) Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, #2)

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“Blessings on the poor in spirit! The kingdom of heaven is yours” (Matt. 5:3) doesn’t mean, “You will go to heaven when you die.” It means you will be one of those through whom God’s kingdom, heaven’s rule, begins to appear on earth as in heaven. The Beatitudes are the agenda for kingdom people. They are not simply about how to behave, so that God will do something nice to you. They are about the way in which Jesus wants to rule the world.” 2 likes
“Here, then, is the message of Easter, or at least the beginning of that message. The resurrection of Jesus doesn’t mean, “It’s all right. We’re going to heaven now.” No, the life of heaven has been born on this earth. It doesn’t mean, “So there is a life after death.” Well, there is, but Easter says much, much more than that. It speaks of a life that is neither ghostly nor unreal, but solid and definite and practical. The Easter stories come at the end of the four gospels, but they are not about an “end.” They are about a beginning. The beginning of God’s new world. The beginning of the kingdom. God is now in charge, on earth as in heaven. And God’s “being-in-charge” is focused on Jesus himself being king and Lord. The title on the cross was true after all. The resurrection proves it.” 1 likes
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