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How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  1,505 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
New Testament scholar N.T. Wright reveals how we have been misreading the Gospels for centuries, powerfully restoring the lost central story of the Scripture: that the coronation of God through the acts of Jesus was the climax of human history. Wright fills the gaps that centuries of misdirection have opened up in our collective spiritual story, tracing a narrative from Ed ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by HarperOne (first published 2012)
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Ben De Bono
Mar 31, 2012 Ben De Bono rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
I've decided that N.T Wright is at his most interesting (and usually his most thought provoking) when he writes with a bit of an edge in his voice. That was certainly the case at the beginning of Justification where he takes on the critiques of John Piper and others in the reformed camp who had failed to understand his doctrine of justification. It's also the case here, where Wright confronts traditional readings of the Gospel that have, in his view, failed to miss the point.

The central questio
David Crumm
Mar 24, 2012 David Crumm rated it it was amazing
N.T. Wright Switches Questions with an `Explosive' Result

Millions of Americans know former Bishop N.T. "Tom" Wright as the man who defends the Bible against skeptics. It certainly doesn't hurt that Wright does this in a wonderfully resonant British accent with the confident air of a latter-day C.S. Lewis, who in his day was a famous media personality himself. But, through several recent books, Wright has been trying to change the focus of his message to something he considers much more urgent fo
Brian Collins
Sep 25, 2012 Brian Collins rated it it was ok
In this book N. T. Wright explores the purpose of Jesus's earthly ministry as presented in the Gospels. He is concerned that historically, the church has focused on the incarnation and passion of Christ and ignored his ministry (apart from appeals to its proving his deity or making possible his active obedience). Wright realizes that major problems ensue when the middle of the Gospel story is divorced from the ends (incarnation and cross), and he highlights the Social Gospel as the primary examp ...more
James (JD) Dittes
Nov 24, 2012 James (JD) Dittes rated it really liked it
The biggest shift in my theological experience can be traced to an understanding of "the Kingdom of God."

I think that this phrase defines Christian denominations--from those who believe it is Heaven, waiting to come to Earth following an apocalypse, to those who believe it is exclusive to the Roman church, a sect exclusively following one Biblical rule or another, to those who see the Kingdom of God as everybody.

I was eager to read N.T. Wright's take on the Kingdom of God. He presents a highly
Nov 05, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it
I have looked forward to reading this book since its publication. I was not disappointed. "Why only four stars?" you may ask. Well, it's not because what is here isn't the best, it's only because I usually reserve my five star praise for his denser, more academic work. However, the more time I spend listening to Wright's lectures and reading his popular level works, the more I value his skill at taking heady stuff and distilling it to people who aren't into footnotes.
In this book Wright makes
Jan 04, 2017 Dustin rated it liked it
Good and thought provoking. Read through as part of a discussion group and breaking out each chapter week-to-week made it a bit harder to keep all the strands together. Still, worth the read.

Don Bryant
May 28, 2012 Don Bryant rated it really liked it
The basic thesis of the book: while the birth, death, resurrection and second coming of Jesus all find their way into the great Creeds and into formulations of the Gospel proclamation, the life of Jesus gets short shrift. Why did Jesus live? What's the point of the "great middle" between the incarnation and death and resurrection? It's just here that the church stumbles and really does not know what to do with the Gospels. They are treated as back story and as proof a sort that 1)Jesus was God a ...more
Mar 21, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: bible, 2012
Review for Presbyterian Outlook

Those of us who are following N.T. Wright's massive scholarly project, Christian Origins and the Question of God, are eagerly awaiting his projected fourth volume in the series, which will be on Paul. So we are somewhat frustrated by the seemingly never-ending stream of popular and semi-popular books which flow from his pen. This is not to say that these are bad books, far from it. It's just that we would like to see the major project brought to its completion, whi
Angus Mcfarlane
Jan 01, 2013 Angus Mcfarlane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality, history

Another in Tom Wright's series of answers to the postmodern challenge. I mistakenly bought this one instead of 'simply Jesus', but was glad to find that they complemented rather than repeating one another. Whereas simply Jesus addresses the why, the who and the how of Christianity, how god became king develops a framework for interpreting the gospels. The need for this seems greater than one might think: whilst most Christians are familiar with the credal doctrines and the theology of Paul, much
Jeff McCormack
Feb 28, 2012 Jeff McCormack rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Some of Wright's stuff is a bit more technical and theological, but I felt this was easy to read and comprehend, and his case was well made. I admit, I have read two other books by him just prior to this, as well as another on a closely related topic by Scot McKnight, so maybe this topic just struck me more on the heels of those.

Wright lays out the problem - that for the past few hundred years or more, the church has glossed over and missed much of the thrust of what
As I'm now teaching Mark I was eager to find suggestions on what we might be missing and get ideas on fresh ways to view this gospel. Perhaps it's the difference of place and denomination, but I didn't find Wright's hypothesis to be as strong as he presents it. In my circle the gospels are not viewed only in the limited way he says. And his ideas were not earth-shatteringly new. In fact, as I read I often thought "That's it?" and "Duh". Quite respectfully, of course. :) Perhaps his points are tr ...more
Nick Cady
Dec 26, 2016 Nick Cady rated it really liked it
I really liked his main point, which is that cross and kingdom are not opposed to one another - I.e. that creedal Christianity and social/political expressions of Christianity ought not be separated, but are inherently connected if one understands the Gospels correctly.
I also really appreciated his part about the 4 speakers, or messages of the Gospels about the significance of Jesus' life, and how it is necessary to 'adjust the volume', some needing to be turned up and others turned down.
I was
Erin Henry
Jan 15, 2015 Erin Henry rated it really liked it
Really important message of how we have separated God's kingdom from the cross, redemption and earth when it's meant to be the main message of all three. The takes awhile to get to the main point but then it packs a wallop. A really interesting chapter on how we read the creeds wrong and use them to truncate Gods story. I highly recommend this. God's kingdom is here and now and it's time we recognize it.
Jeff Miller
Jan 17, 2015 Jeff Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed this book and the case presented. I don't myself find that what he called the forgotten story was really forgotten, at least in Catholic circles in my experience. Although he did have a general caveat about where this was true among Protestant churches, especially ones with a more pauline focus.

Still I found some interesting insights regarding the narrative of kingdom and cross and one especially useful metaphor
Madison Boboltz
Jul 24, 2016 Madison Boboltz rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016

This book was refreshing, informative, and I believe has made a significant impact in the way I read the gospels. I did feel like it was little difficult to follow and understand at times, which made it intimidating to pick up, but overall worth the read.
T.A. Gallant
Sep 17, 2012 T.A. Gallant rated it really liked it
Vintage Wright: solid and helpful, although perhaps somewhat less unique than he appears to present himself at times. Nonetheless, highly recommended.
Apr 11, 2013 Jack rated it it was amazing
Great book! Wright really gives a great "bird's-eye" view of this crucial theme.
Catherine McNiel
Oct 29, 2015 Catherine McNiel rated it it was amazing
I'm only a quarter of the way through, and I'd already like to make this required reading for all Christians. Please. Read this book.
Josh Meares
Dec 20, 2016 Josh Meares rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I hesitate to offer much in the way of a review because I'm not totally sure what I think about it yet. But I am willing to say this: Wright's critique of the popular conception of the Gospels seems pretty accurate. I do think a lot of people struggle to answer the question: Why did Jesus live? Why did he do miracles? There is a lot, lot, lot of focus on Jesus' birth, death, and resurrection. But those pesky thirty years or so in between seemed awfully important to the write ...more
Feb 16, 2017 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Not an easy read, but a worthwhile one. If you've ever noticed or wondered why the gospels seem to say so little about the meat of the creeds (in other words, why do we usually go to Romans to explain the way of salvation rather than to Matthew, Mark, or Luke?) then this will be something you'll want to consider. Without taking from traditional orthodox belief, Wright's interpretation adds another layer that helps us put the years of Jesus's ministry into perspective with the greater story of sa ...more
Ken Peters
This was probably the heaviest read I attempted in 2016. N.T. Wright is a great writer but also a very well-studied theologian. I found this book slow-going as I found myself re-reading many sentences to fully track with Wright, but the subject matter seemed worth the effort. I've never read (nor likely seen) a book that examines the theological content of the parts of the four gospels that fall between the incarnation and the Passion Week, and that's what Wright ably tackles in this book. I mus ...more
Jul 16, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Wright argues that we have forgotten the story of Jesus and have instead written our own stories of who he was and what he was up to. The liberals have substituted a feeble, warm-hearted teacher in his stead, and the conservatives have forgotten his life altogether and only see him on the cross. Wright argues that if we return to the gospels themselves we can understand afresh what the story and the purpose of this Jesus of Nazareth was. That story, Wright contends, is the story of God, condesce ...more
Shane Saxon
Aug 04, 2013 Shane Saxon rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
If you’ve never read anything by NT Wright, then scoot back your computer chair right now and zip over to your local bookstore and pick up one of his books. “How God Became King” would not be a bad choice. I, personally, had never read one of his books till now, but had enjoyed plenty of his lectures. This book did not disappoint! Wright’s uncanny ability to communicate and his brilliant scholarship combine in fantastic way to produce a quick read. I will most certainly read more NT Wright when ...more
Nov 04, 2012 Sonny rated it really liked it
Shelves: biblical-studies
The central concern in Anglican scholar N.T. Wright’s book, How God Became King, is to demonstrate the importance of the life of Jesus. The problem, as he sees it, is that “most of Western Christianity has simply forgotten what the gospels are really about.” Wright believes that pastors, believers, and creeds have all missed the simple and clear point of the Gospels: that in Jesus, God has visited his people as king.

According to N. T. Wright, Christians have neglected what he calls the “missing
Oct 29, 2012 Joshua rated it really liked it
Quick notes:

This book looks at how the Western Church has read the Bible for centuries, specifically the Gospels....why we read them the way we do, when we started reading them this way, and the implications and consequences of holding to the traditions we (he might say) don't know we accept and carry on. When we discuss Christianity, or the canonical Gospels, we typically understand them with the following sequence of events in mind: the birth of Jesus, the death of Jesus, the resurrection of J
Zach McDonald
Feb 13, 2017 Zach McDonald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gospels
I picked up this book for two reasons: #1 it was only sale for just .99c on kindle and looked to be an interesting read and #2 NT Wright is one of those theologians that 'TR' types warn folks to stay away from. For me, as I assume about others, when I am told NOT to read something or someone, I immediately want to read them. Simply put.... I want to know what all the fuss is about, and I am also not afraid to read something or someone 'dangerous' because I trust that the Spirit is able to use th ...more
Daniel Harris
Nov 10, 2013 Daniel Harris rated it it was amazing
I will never read the gospels the same way again after reading How God Became King by N.T. Wright. I am not new to reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but this book helped me to see things in those four books which I have missed in all of my previous reading of them, even as they have been my constant companions for years. And the things it helped me to see are not just trivial matters, like trying to unlock some secret code hidden in these ancient documents, but rather, they are the essence ...more
Jul 31, 2012 David rated it really liked it
If you only had the great, historic Creeds of Christianity (Nicene and Apostles Creed specifically) you would think all the things Jesus did between being born of a virgin and dying on a cross are unimportant. NT Wright thinks that most Christians through the ages have suffered this deficiency and thus have not really understood the gospels or what exactly the purpose of Jesus' life really was. The problem is two-fold because while one large branch claims to hold to the historic Christian faith ...more
Malin Friess
Nov 25, 2012 Malin Friess rated it liked it
N.T. Wright is one of the most respected New Testament Christian Scholars. Wright, a former bishop of the Church of England is well liked in mainline protestant and evangelical circles. People like Jon Meacham, Anne Rice, and JI packer praise his work.

Wright contends that we have forgotten what the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) are all about.

Read the apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord
Christopher Cole
Too many scholars try to separate the "Jesus of history" from the "Christ of faith" by suggesting the gospels never make the claim of Jesus' divinity and Paul (among others) later attributed such a claim to Jesus.

However none of them have the combination of deep love for the whole of scripture, the understanding of history, and unsurpassed scholarship of N.T.Wright.

In "How God Became King" N.T.Wright uses the creeds of ancient Christianity as the foundation for why Western Christianity has not a
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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
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“When 'biblical' theologies ignore the gospels, something is clearly very wrong." (on atonement theories)” 8 likes
“The point [of the gospels] is not whether Jesus is God, but what God is doing in and through Jesus. What is this embodied God up to?” 6 likes
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