Examining God’s Word – Repentance

T.C., a fine biblioblogger, defines repentance and righteousness within the New Perspectives on Paul framework, at least according to Bishop N.T. Wright:

First, in the Gospel narratives, for Bishop N.T. Wright, when Jesus speaks metanoeō to the people, Jesus means for them ”to change one’s mind about God and his kingdom.”  Wright contends that Jesus isn’t speaking about “repenting of sins and turning to God,” as reflected in the NLT.

Second, in Paul’s Letters, for N.T. Wright dikaiosunē theou, “the righteousness of God,” is not so much about how a person ”becomes right with God” and then waits to die and go to heaven.  Rather, dikaiosunē theou is about how God is putting the world to rights, first through Jesus and Israel and then the nations.

As we have examined dikaisune (here) let us then examine metanoeo.

God’s Word to the Nations

New Living Translation

“Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Mat 3:2 GWN) “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. ” (Mat 3:2 NLT)
The men of Nineveh will stand up with you at the time of judgment and will condemn you, because they turned to God and changed the way they thought and acted when Jonah spoke his message. But look, someone greater than Jonah is here! (Mat 12:41 GWN) “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here– but you refuse to repent. (Mat 12:41 NLT)
I’ve come to call sinners to change the way they think and act, not to call people who think they have God’s approval.” (Luk 5:32 GWN) I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” (Luk 5:32 NLT)
Peter answered them, “All of you must turn to God and change the way you think and act, and each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift. (Act 2:38 GWN) Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Act 2:38 NLT)
The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act. (2Pe 3:9 GWN) The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.(2Pe 3:9 NLT)
and cursed the God of heaven for their pains and their sores. However, they would not stop what they were doing. (Rev 16:11 GWN) and cursed the God of heaven for their pains and their sores. However, they would not stop what they were doing. (Rev 16:11 GWN)

Is the GWN a translation made in the light of the New Perspectives on Paul? (Or, at least in light of Bishop N.T. Wright.)

If so, then do we examine this translation as a theologically based translation, as some others are?

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

10 thoughts on “Examining God’s Word – Repentance

  1. When one gets to the end product with Wright, one can see that for him at least the whole history and validation of the Reformation and Justification by Faith alone is called into question. His position really says nothing about the personal aspect of how one is made just. It is as he says, the wrong question. But in truth, as St. Paul says in Romans chapters 9 thru 11, salvation is both personal and collective. Note chapter 10. Also see the Pauline doctrine of the New Man In Christ, Col. 1:1-12.
    Fr. R.

    1. While I understand you view of the NPP, my question and thus the intention of this post was to question whether or not the GWN is in line with the NPP, perhaps translated in accordance with the NPP, and thus should we consider, and then judge, the GWN based on that fact.

      While I may not agree with the NPP fully, if I place the GWN within that framework, I can offer a better review of it.

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