[BOOK Review] Tom Wright ‘Paul for Everyone’


Part of a series Tom Wright is working his way through – to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, using a fresh translation of the entire text, accompanied by 1-2 pages of thought. Wright comes from an academic background, but has deliberately written in an approachable and anecdotal style.

Designed for personal or group use, I have used this for daily study in the past. Use it so long as it is useful, then move onto other styles of daily study (every time I try and re=invigorate my Biblical knowledge). I think I would have found it more useful if I had actively engaged with the text using a notebook –but this remains an aim for the future.

I like these books as they are recently written, so still relevant, and still fresh. Wright is quick to note that there’s a place for books debating the exact meaning of Greek words, full of footnotes, and his new translations are built upon such works. However, Wright is keen that the message should get out to everyone, and these books are written for those “who wouldn’t normally read a book with footnotes and Greek words in it.”

This book covers Paul’s letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Here’s an extract, dealing with Colossians 3:12-17 (p181)

Nor are the people Paul is describing in this section a bunch of weak-willed, wimpish people without much to say for themselves. Anyone who thinks that simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Have you ever seriously tried to forgive someone who’s wronged you? Have you ever seriously tried to be compassionate and patient? Have you ever tried to let Christ’s peace, Christ’s word, Christ’s name be the reality around which you order your life? If you have, you’ll know it’s not easy. It takes serious prayer and real moral effort. And people who engage in that effort tend to be people who are also capable of taking difficult decisions and engaging in challenging activities in other spheres as well. Christian behaviour, in other words, makes you more human, not less. Self-indulgence and habitual anger and lying may seem like fun for a while, but they destroy you sooner or later – often sooner.