“Kingdom of God” in the NT means:
“God is taking over as King” (RT France)
“God’s way of doing things” (John Drane)
Essentially, these glosses complement one another because to “recognize” and claim God as King and to become a subject under his royal rule means that you submit yourself to his particular way of doing things. I think this is helpful. I can see now why some people see “kingdom” as a centralizing concept in the Bible, especially in view of “kingdom” meaning “kingship.”
I am working on a new lecture on Mark for my intro to Scripture class and I wanted to talk about what Jesus means when he says the Kingdom of God is near. If you notice (1:14), he also tells his hearers to repent. How could this be good news? Why does Jesus announce the Kingdom and call for repentance? I appreciated Morna Hooker’s thoughts
“God’s Kingdom means ‘territory under the rule of a king’. In this case, of course, the ‘territory’ is the world, which has fallen into enemy hands; men and demonic powers have usurped the throne. But now the time is at hand when God is going to restore his rule, and that means the punishment of the wicked, as well as salvation for those who have been faithful to him. It is a time of judgment—which means that there is need to repent, even though Jesus’ message is ‘good news’” (Studying the NT, 24, Hooker)
I recently mentioned the HarperOne book Simply Jesus by NT Wright which is coming soon (late Oct, 2011). Today, I just noticed another forthcoming book that looks to be perhaps the next in a series on Jesus, this one called, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (March 2012). Here is the description:
Since ancient times, the church has sought to distance itself from its Jewish roots and has developed teachings on the Bible and about Jesus that actually serve as a barrier for reading the New Testament for what it is: the story of the coronation of God through Jesus at the fulfillment of Jewish history and as the climax of all human history. Award-winning New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop, N.T. Wright peels back the barriers to reveal the lost story they tell. He begins by asking why each gospel starts by connecting back to the Old Testament in a dramatic way, repeatedly making the point that Jesus was the Messiah, God’s chosen one, who is continuing a story that began in Eden. Not only does Wright reveal a new way of looking at what the writers of the New Testament were attempting to reveal, he also lays the groundwork for how this new perspective can transform how we see our role and duties in the world today. Whereas the old framework caused the church to be preoccupied with our future fate (i.e., who’s going to be in heaven and who will be left out), this new paradigm sees our current life as under the reign of an active and caring God who wants his kingdom made incarnate in this world by the church. The forgotten story shows us that we should read our charge as: “Are you cooperating with God’s kingdom here and now?” This book will revolutionize how we read the Gospels and how the church understands its role in the world.
It is 256 pages, so quite similar in length to Simply Jesus. Who is How God Became King published by? I found it under both HarperOne and Zondervan. Are they the same company? How does that work?
Anyway, Wright is certainly keeping busy, all the while working on his big Paul book, the ICC commentary on Philippians, and the Two Horizons commentary on Galatians. How does he do it!
I am really enjoying thumbing through the 2009 book About the Bible: Short Answers to Big Questions (rev.; Augsburg, 2009), by T. Fretheim.
He says that merely seeing the prophet as social reformer or as future-predictor misses the heart of the matter. Here is his succinct definition:
a man or woman dispatched by God with a word of judgment or promise for a critical moment in the history of God’s people. (p 99)
I don’t know when it came out, but the most recent issue of Early Christianity (Mohr Siebeck) has the theme of “Christianity and Empire” with articles by A. Droge, J. Albert Harrill, and Paul Holloway, among others. John Granger talks about “Crucifixion in Imperial Thessalonica” under the subject of “NEW DISCOVERIES.”
Check it out.
I am reading LTJ’s Among the Gentiles and right now learning more about Greco-Roman religion in the Roman Empire.
This quote is poignant
The realm of the gods did not simply mirror the world of humans. The membrane separating the human and the divine world was permeable, with traffic moving in both directions” (p. 36)
Doesn’t he have a way with words? So great. This is better:
Some thoughtful Gentiles tended to view the Olympians much as the British do the equally fractious and embarrassing royal family–helpful and even necessary as societal glue but not much use for actual governance (38)
Ha ha ha!
The Journal of Theological Studies issue 62.2 (Oct 2011) is online now and the articles looks really interesting.
Markus Bockmuehl offers a discussion of the early Christian perspective on Jesus’ ancestry in “The Son of David and His Mother”
James Ware offers “Law, Christ, and Covenant: Paul’s Theology of the Law in Romans 3:19-20″
Bradly Billings looks as the use of “domestic space” in “Early Urban Christianity” in Ephesus.
There are a heap of book reviews, many of them look interesting.