Reflecting on the New Perspective Era

Mike Bird is considering what we’ve learned from the New Perspective on Paul (part 1 & part 2).

Just briefly, in addition to what he mentions, one of the most helpful effects of newer readings of Paul is the emphasis on the occasional nature of Paul’s letters.  We’re reminded that we must read them not as timeless theological treatises but with greater sensitivity to their occasional and polemical character. 

Related to this, fresh readings are also focusing on church communities as the objects of the gospel and the communal dynamics of the people of God.  Paul is often dealing with problems of relationships within his church communities and not theologizing with reference to the individual and his standing before God.  This has led to a vision of salvation as more holistic, involving communities and individuals-in-community.

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