Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today” as Want to Read:
Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,955 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
In Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today, Widely respected Bible and Jesus scholar, N. T. Wright gives new life to the old, tattered doctrine of the authority of scripture, delivering a fresh, helpful, and concise statement on the current “battles for the Bible,” and restoring scripture as the primary place to find God’s voice.

In this revised and
ebook, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2011 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 Scripture and the Authority of God, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Scripture and the Authority of God

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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I'm a big fan of N.T Wright, so I may be a bit biased. This book rails against the shallow debate that starts with [INSERT BIBLE VERSE] clearly forbids [TOPIC] and ends with either a reply that someone is misreading the verse or with a reply that Leviticus outlaws shellfish so clearly the Bible is outdated and cannot be referenced with any seriousness. He does assume that the reader is a Christian. He also is not dealing with issues of divine inspiration, authority of the Holy Spirit, or with is ...more
Andrew Hains
Too ambitious and not as convincing as I had hoped. Wright tries to defend Christianity from the two flanks that he thinks are destroying it. First, Post-modern skepticism attacks upon the historical validity of the Bible. Second, the Faithful Conservative Evangelicals that take a "shallow reading" of the Bible, interpreting it based on modern agendas for personal needs neglecting the big picture and not taking Jesus seriously. Basically, he argues that Christians should understand, apply, and r ...more
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm reminded of John Frame's assessment of Pastor Wilson's writing: "... with which I agree maybe 80% of the time. But even when I disagree, his work makes me think and leaves me grateful to God for the encounter." This is such a wonderfully fruitful little book, which speaks very intelligently to an area I didn't even know I needed help with. I consistently appreciate Wright.
W. Littlejohn
Nov 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent, very accessible (non-academic) book which guides the reader away from shallow readings of Scripture and replaces that with a thoughtful method centered on the authority of God as exercised through Scripture. Wright does a good job of avoiding external priorities overlaid on Scripture by various camps and includes two intriguing case studies.
Neil Coulter
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Christians
Shelves: non-fiction
Recently I read The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns. In that book, Enns asks a lot of questions about the Bible that many Christians wonder about but don't often voice--because the questions seem to lead to places of deep doubt and confusion. Questions like: Why does the Bible seem to contradict itself? Why are supposedly historical sections of the Bible actually historically inaccurate? Why do the New Testament writers, and sometimes even Jesus himself, seem to almost capriciously pick and cho ...more
Lynn Joshua
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend it! This book is very helpful in giving the framework in which to understand scripture as the narrative of how God is working in His creation. NTW's analogy of a 5-part play, and the explanation of where we are in the story is quite helpful. He is good at giving the big picture, exposing and clearing up false ideas, and giving us a vision of God's great and glorious Kingdom being inaugurated here and now. He has a gift for generating enthusiasm about how we should read Scripture to b ...more
Frank Peters
The book was a bit of a surprise as it was marketed as a follow up to some of NT Wright’s recent books such as: “Surprised by Hope” and “After you believe”. In fact it was originally written a long time before and was just re-edited and repackaged. The book title well describes what the book is all about: it is a discussion on how we need to approach our reading of the bible. This was done from a God-honouring, Christian perspective, with a high view of scripture. Fundamental to the discussion w ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
N.T. Wright tackles the Scriptures asking questions about what we mean by authority. Questions like - if Jesus has authority, what do we mean by authority? and how does Jesus exercise His authority through the Bible? and since the Bible is mostly narrative, how can a story be authoritative?

Ultimately this is a book about hermeneutics (a fancy word for the framework used by a reader to understand/process what they are reading) and the one that Wright advocates. His focus is on the meta-story line
Jeff McCormack
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctrine, read-2013
Dummy me - had this on my shelf since it came out - forgetting what it was (an updated version of "The Last Word), and ran across a copy of "The Last Word" at the library, so I grabbed it and read it. DOH!! So, I read this book's additional chapters and therefore include my review from "The Last Word" onto this edition too.

Our modern society is in need of instruction when it comes to how to handle God's Word, and this book is a great foundational look at the topic. What does it mean when someone
Apr 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Steve Watson
Apr 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wright argues that the Bible's authority is ultimately about God's authority exercised through Scripture. Scripture tells a five-act story, the fifth act of which we still live in: the age of the church. God works through the Scriptures to bring about the Kingdom of God, shaping people and also specifically equipping teachers and leaders. Wright also offers a helpful, short history of how the Bible has been read over time as well as suggestions for being a Scripture-reading community. He ends wi ...more
James Smith
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It would be pretty easy to resent NT Wright: he's ubiquitous, brilliant, and just slightly cocky. But the fact is, he's one of the church's wisest voices right now. Don't let all the adulation distract you from listening to him. It's always worth it. This book is no exception. Cuts to the chase without over simplifying. It reminds us that the authority of Scripture is really about the reign of God.
Ben Zajdel
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent work on the role and authority of Scripture today. Wright shows how reading the Bible as a narrative of God restoring creation can eliminate seemingly contradictory passages, especially those between the Old and New Testaments.

He uses as examples the cases of Sabbath keeping and monogamy. An interesting read.
Nicholas Norris
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first and definitely not my last of N.T. Wrights literature. Very inspiring and motivating as a Christian desiring to deepen my faith and my understanding of the bible.
Jerry Hillyer
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Title: Scripture and the Authority of God

Author: N.T. Wright

Publisher: HarperCollins

Year: 2011

Pages: 210

N.T. Wright other works: N.T. Wright Page

[Disclaimer: I paid for this book with a gift card I received at Christmas 2013. It was a very happy time in my life when I could freely spend at It also prevented me from having to humbly admit that I got the book free in exchange for a fair review. I can be as nasty as I wanna be in this review. :-) ]

No one will ever accuse N.T. Wright of
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 N.T. Wright is a very bright and informed theologian. I feel like I could reread this book and learn even more. I'm not sure I agree with other reviewers who say the book is for non-academics because I felt like there was a lot of meat in it but it is definitely something that can be picked up and chewed on whether you are an academic or not. I really enjoyed the case studies in the back. Would love to hear N.T. Wright's thoughts on more controversial topics.
Tom Lambrecht
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting overview of the source of Biblical authority. Sets the Biblical teachings in the context of narrative history, seeing the varying relevance of different passages depending upon the place we are in the narrative. I didn't entirely buy it, but it is a very interesting approach.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pastorc
This rating is probably not fair. It’s not the author’s fault that I didn’t get some of the references. They weren’t obscure. While I’ve heard of Pascal, for example, I’ve never read him.

What parts I did understand I enjoyed and learned from.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: preaching
Good thoughts, but still required attentive reading, like anything else Wright writes.
Keith Madsen
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I view N.T. Wright as one Bible scholar who has the potential to establish a middle ground between fundamentalists, hunkered down in the prejudices and confusions of the past, and extreme theological liberals, ready to virtually toss away the Bible and any uniqueness of Christian faith. In SCRIPTURE AND THE AUTHORITY OF GOD, Wright attempts to clarify what authority Scripture has in a way that can carve out this middle ground.

Some points he made well. First of all, he writes against putting peo
"Not only devotion: discipleship. Reading and studying scripture has been seen as central to how we are to grow in the love of God; how we come to understand God and his truth more fully; and how we can develop the moral muscle to live in accordance with the gospel of Jesus even when everything seems to be pulling the other way. Since these remain vital aspects of Christian living, the Bible has been woven into the fabric of normal Christian life at every point" (p. 3).

"Idolatry generates all ki
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
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally good, but I'm not sure I would recommend it. As always, Wright is an engaging writer, and communicates effectively at a lay-level. He paints a grand vision and has some great "big picture" insights. However, several factors make this book one of his worst. First, he dances around the important question of inerrancy. No doubt he would make some dismissive comment about how that is a distinctively North American question (as he does occasionally throughout the book with other issues). He ...more
Robert Durough, Jr.
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-reads
In typical, well-articulated fashion, N. T. Wright, in this updated, 2013 edition of Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today , tackles questions concerning the nature of Scripture (the Bible) and how it is authoritative, going well beyond the simplistic “it’s the Word of God” statements by addressing deeper application and important questions with much needed nuance. It is impossible to consistently and effectively take Scripture at “face value” without any method of int ...more
Benjamin Sauers
It was difficult to find something to disagree with in this book and, in a way, that is a very bad thing. It was too short and too vague. I have yet to dive into Wright's New Testament and the People of God series but I think that will be my next Wright read. I need more to chew on.
Andy Zell
Scripture and the Authority of God by N.T. Wright is a helpful book on a difficult topic. Part of my difficulty was my confusion on what exactly “the authority of scripture” means. Wright contends that the authority of scripture only makes sense as shorthand for “the authority of the triune God, exercised somehow through scripture.” But the Bible is not a rule book or a book of doctrines, or at least not primarily so. Rather, “most of its constituent parts, and all of it when put together […] ca ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What to say that hasn't been said already? Wright is the foremost, the linchpin of a group of biblical scholars answering all of the difficult inquiries raised by the new biblical scholarship of the past ~150 years from a pastoral but not fundamentalist perspective. Wright, himself, is a former bishop within the Anglican church who has somehow managed a scholarly output that flat-out boggles the mind. Many have called him the C.S. Lewis of our time.

I've only returned to my faith recently. Divini
Paul Patterson
N.T. Wright is an extraordinarily clear communicator and represents an enlightened and educated conservatism. That said both the strengths and the weaknesses of this perspective are evident. Strength wise he obviously loves and honors the Bible as well as knows it thoroughly. He is clear that the authority of Scripture is correctly understood as the authority of God through the Scriptures; thus he avoids bibliolatry the excessive love of or overdone literal interpretation of the Bible. The weakn ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 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
  • Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament
  • The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited
  • Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture
  • The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate
  • The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethic
  • A Little Exercise for Young Theologians
  • The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative
  • Whose Community? Which Interpretation?: Philosophical Hermeneutics for the Church
  • Revelation for Everyone
  • The Myth of a Christian Religion: Losing Your Religion for the Beauty of a Revolution
  • Allah: A Christian Response
  • The Art of Reading Scripture
  • The Evangelical Universalist
  • A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace
  • The Prophetic Imagination
  • Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible
  • God's Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul
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...
“Traditions tell us where we have come from. Scripture itself is a better guide as to where we should now be going.” 9 likes
“We read scripture in order to be refreshed in our memory and understanding of the story within which we ourselves are actors, to be reminded where it has come from and where it is going to, and hence what our own part within it ought to be.” 5 likes
More quotes…