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Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,345 ratings  ·  156 reviews
Few issues are more central to the Christian faith than the nature, scope and means of salvation. Many have thought it to be largely a transaction that gets one to heaven. In this riveting book, N. T. Wright explains that God's salvation is radically more than this. At the heart of much vigorous debate on this topic is the term the apostle Paul uses in several of his lette ...more
Hardcover, 279 pages
Published April 16th 2009 by IVP Academic (first published February 19th 2009)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,345 ratings  ·  156 reviews

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Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
While reading Wright's book What St. Paul Really Said, I thought I understood where he was coming from in terms of "justification" and its implications. This book proved to me that I did not fully grasp his understanding of covenant community, the marks of those in that community, and how this tied into works. I found this book to be very enjoyable and informative, pushing me time and again to go back to the Scriptures to read with fresh eyes.

The title constitutes a double entendre in which Wri
Ben De Bono
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
A couple years back, John Piper wrote The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright as a response to N.T. Wright's view on Justification (read my review here). Justification is Wright's counter primarily to Piper but also to his other Reformed minded critics.

It's obvious throughout this book that Wright is somewhat frustrated at needing to write a response such as this. He feels his position has not been understood properly by his critics. I empathize with his position and agree with h
Douglas Wilson
Parts were magnificent, and parts were atrocious. Wright is just like that.
Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is Tom Wright’s response to John Piper’s recent work on justification, and we can think Piper for writing that work: without his work Wright would not have written this one. As most know, Wright has been accused in the past fifteen years of denying justification by faith, attacking the Reformed tradition, and probably microwaving kittens. Granted, most accusations that Wright has “denied the gospel” are meaningless (for when is the gospel not at steak for Reformed bloggers?). However, there ...more
Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
N. T. Wright has written a lot about Paul and the things Paul said, and he has attracted a bit of criticism from some quarters. Most notably he has been criticized by pastor and author John Piper, who wrote a book against Wright's viewpoint. Wright, along with others of the "new perspective on Paul" (with whom he sometimes agrees and often differs) have argued that the post-reformation west has had a simplified and even incorrect/tainted view of Paul's understanding of justification, righteousne ...more
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wright's book is a response to John Piper's critique of his views on justification. Unlike Piper's book, this is not a point by point rebuttal to Piper as his was to Wright. Instead it is an attempt by Wright to be as clear as possible on his understanding of the issue. Like Piper, he writes with humility and respect.

This book is an enjoyable treat. Wright firmly sets his interpretation of Paul's letters in the context of the bible's grand narrative. He works to clear away tradition and to put P
Matthew Colvin
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I read this book very much hoping to see Wright demonstrate how wrong and distorting Piper's and other Reformed OPP approaches are. I spent 9 years teaching Bible and theology to the children of John Piper fans. His theology completely prevented them from grasping certain arguments in Paul and James. But Wright is here to make them notice the cracks in the edifice that they have been plastering over. His method is stated on p. 213: "As often happens, the passage which was initia ...more
Tori Samar
Where to begin? I believe it's a healthy exercise for discerning Christian readers to pick up books written from an opposing theological viewpoint. For myself at least, this was a good book choice because it was my first in-depth exposure to the 'New Perspective on Paul.' I'm glad that I've now read the arguments of someone who actually holds to the new perspective. Furthermore, I appreciate the ways in which this book forced me to consider whether traditional Protestantism is teaching, well, tr ...more
Chauncey Lattimer
A recurring part of my theological training was an emphasis upon interpreting Scripture by means of Scripture. Difficult/vague passages were to be interpreted by those that were more easily understood. And, in keeping with Wright’s quoting of Kasemann, there was to be “an inner logic” to the text. I say all of this because N.T. Wright’s book, Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision, is a work that approaches an understandably difficult topic (justification) from the perspective of God’s ov ...more
Adam Ross
Jun 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Really, really good. Occasionally Wright will overstate his case, and I agree with Rev. Wilson that there are a number of problems with Wright's rejection of imputation, especially since Wright has to then provide his own form of imputation. We can't escape the concept of imputation (properly understood) because there is no hope for the sinner except that Christ takes on our sin and we are given the crucified and risen Christ.

It was nice, however, to hear Wright criticize a number of other folks
Dave Courtney
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
N.T. Wright represents himself as somewhat of a misunderstood and polarizing figure. Having spent a substantial amount of time studying the apostle Paul, he speaks in his preface of how the Church at large has tended to interpret Paul’s view of justification wrongly. He challenges the concept of imputed righteousness, which Lutherans and the Reformers tend to see as synonymous with justification, and his book, aptly titled Justification, is a polemic and response to Piper’s vocal protest, even a ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How many PhDs does it take to get to the point where you think “justice” and “justification” are words that belong to radically different theological categories? So many amazing observations in this book, but they do not add up to a case for the redefinition of "righteousness" and against the doctrine of imputation as taught by the Reformers and their heirs. At the end of the 250 pages, it is still unclear how God forgives our sin. Dr. Wright repeatedly affirms that God "deals with our sin" in t ...more
Derek DeMars
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book struck me as a wonderful entry point into Wright's voluminous scholarly output. Partly a response to critics (especially John Piper) and partly an exposition of Wright's own take on Pauline theology (focusing on the topic of justification), I thought the book did a better job of the former but was still pretty enjoyable for the latter.

I didn't agree with all of his exegetical conclusions (esp., e.g., on 2 Cor 5:21), but by and large I find myself deeply appreciating many of his overal
Michael Philliber
Around a decade back, while working on my doctorate, I attended a public discussion between N.T. Wright and Richard Gaffin. During one of the breaks I approached Bishop Wright to ask him to sign my copy of his commentary on Romans. He asked the reason for my coming to the event and I explained that I needed an elective course and had convinced my director to allow me to craft a self-directed class on “N.T. Wright’s doctrine of Justification”. He chuckled and said, “There’s not much mystery about ...more
Anthony Derosse
Thought provoking. Very different perspective of Pauline terms such as justification, works of the law, righteousness, etc. Wright's views make sense within his web of belief and seem to have a coherence about them.
Johannes C
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

Mary-Jane Rubenstein, who I stumbled upon by accident when trying to learn more about Heidegger, eventually was the reason I read Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling”. In an interview Rubenstein described how she accidentally ended up in a religion class, encountered "Fear and Trembling" for the first time, and wanted to do whatever was necessary to read the book for the rest of her life. That book also had an immense influence on me. One of the passages that I’ve never forgotten about g
Matt Pitts
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Over the last year I have read more of NT Wright’s work than I ever would have dreamed I would read. I started with his New Testament and the People of God and have since read Paul and his Recent Interpreters, picked up Paul and the Faithfulness of God (of which I am about 2/3 of the way through), and read a few of his articles on Paul as well. Wright is a profound thinker, winsome writer, and persuasive communicator. It is easy to get swept up in Wright’s writing without thinking critically abo ...more
Whew! What a book! One goes up and then down while reading this book. There's much to be said about Justification that simply cannot be said in a book review. It would give away too much.
Let it simply be said that the New Perspective on Paul is under fire. John Piper fired a huge round when he wrote Counted Righteous in Christ and The Future of Justification. Piper is no light-weight expositor, but should be taken seriously. Wright has done so in many ways. This is Wright's response.
First of all
Apr 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Wright's book is a much better expression of his view of Paul's doctrine of Justification than anything I've read from him in the past. Much of his lack of clarity was cleared up here. I can't really give him even four stars for the following reasons: 1) he doesn't quote context or scripture very well 2) his footnotes are not comprehensive 3) as one other critic has said, he tells people what the reformers said without seeming to actually know what they said - footnotes of primary sources would ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adulthood
When I bought this book, I was completely unaware of the current debate on Pauline scholarship which, of late, has become increasingly heated. However, this book, at times strongly polemical, is actually a response to John Piper's "The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright." I was surprised at how it doesn't pull any punches--Wright doesn't hesitate to criticize Piper's approach to exegesis and Biblical scholarship in general. But the deliberate definitions of terms, the big-picture ...more
Feb 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
John Piper's response to N.T. Wright's book What Saint Paul Really Said is a gracious yet firm response to Wright's version of the New Perspective on Paul. When I heard that Wright was responding to this book with his new book Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision I was very excited to see how Wright would deal with Piper's humble critiques. Unfortunately, Wright's response is nothing but confusing and jumbled rhetoric. As one critic put it, all Wright manages to do is "hover a foot above ...more
Joel Wentz
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wright poses a very compelling argument, primarily based in a covenant-theology reading of Paul. His response to Piper excels where Piper's stumbled, namely in sound exegesis. The entire second half of the book is a sweeping run through both Galatians and Romans (the primary scriptures that have become battlegrounds over this doctrinal debate), and Wright paints a comprehensive picture of what happens when we are "justified".

I highly recommend this book, though I strongly recommend reading both
Angus Mcfarlane
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
I doubt I understood half of what this was about, but it was worth reading nonetheless, I think. The direct nature of the critique of Piper was unusual for a theological book, but welcome: pretending conflicting views don't exist serves no-one.

I felt the book was relatively readable despite the long sentences and long words needed to address the topic properly. The re-setting of the reformer's question regarding the nature of justification is correct I think; Paul wrote to an audience more entr
Jacob McGill
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is worth the 4 stars for 2 reasons: it clearly states his position on Pauline Justification and his winsome rhetorical skills. Those who say that Wright is confusing in this book cannot have entered into Wright's world, and those who think he comes across as crass have either not read much scholarly works, and/or not be familiar with Wright (listen to his last lecture at the 2010 Wheaton Theology Conference and keep in mind that Piper blasted him only a few days before). His chapter on ...more
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I understand this to be a direct response to an attack on his views by John Piper and others. Frankly, I am a amazed and somewhat bemused at the quarrels of theologians. I suppose for the specialist the issues are worth fighting over. As in the past, I find Wright well written arguments to be succinct and convincing.
Greg Miller
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Imputed Righteousness: how important is it to your theological framework? The answer to that question will largely determine your opinion of this book.
Either way, this book is rich in detail, interesting, and thoroughly captivating.
Jonathan Badgley
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
While I’ve probably read *too* much from Wright now at the expense of other authors that are equally deserving, I’m thankful I did in fact read this one. Other goodreads reviewers said that this seemed to provide his views in a nutshell, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Wright’s re-emphasis on the work and purpose of the Holy Spirit is so crucial. I find that churches tend to either not talk about it (because it serves no role; calvinists), or they devote all their efforts to exercising gifts etc but
Feb 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
N.T. Wright is a prolific author and his popularity continues to grow. His appeal is obvious when one reads any book of his, and "Justification" is no exception, for in this book, as well as his others, Wright has a powerful point. He emphasizes the need to connect the gospel with the larger story of the Bible, and points to the general lack in Christian circles of doing just this. To this concern we should all respond with a hearty amen. It is a critical question: How does the gospel of Jesus C ...more
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Author: N.T. Wright
Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 2009
Number of pages: 252

Leading New Testament scholar N.T. Wright has taken C.S. Lewis’s seat at the table. As Lewis changed the way people looked at Christianity, read their Bibles and thought about God in the twentieth century, Wright will do the same in the twenty-first. Like Lewis, Wright has a talent for making difficult biblical concepts accessible to the average person.

He is a primary scholar in the New Perspective on Paul. Wright sh
Jennifer Trovato
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It took me a really long time to get through (it’s pretty slow going until about the half way point), but totally worth it. I kept trying to skim and would find myself slowly reading and getting lost in Wright’s incredible ability to take what we know and say it in a completely new and brighter way. My main takeaway is this idea of Christ as the “faithful Israelite through whom God ‘s single-plan-through-Israel-for-the-world is now fulfilled.”

Some other meaningful quotes:

“The mo
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

He also publishes under N.T. Wright.
“True freedom is the gift of the Spirit, the result of grace: but, precisely because it is freedom FOR as well as freedom FROM, it isn't simply a matter of being forced now to be good, against our wills and without our cooperation, but a matter of being released from slavery precisely into responsibility, into being able at last to choose, to exercise moral muscle, knowing both that one is doing it oneself and that the Spirit is at work within, that God himself is doing that which I too am doing.” 10 likes
“God made humans for a purpose: not simply for themselves, not simply so that they could be in relationship with him, but so that through them, as his image-bearers, he could bring his wise, glad, fruitful order to the world.” 0 likes
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