NT Wright is a scholar, priest and prolific author of over 80 books. In this wide-ranging interview, Tom Wright talks about how atheism doesn’t need to destroy your faith, why he still believes the Gospel, and how his views on some things—including women in ministry—have changed.

Tom also discusses podcasting, why he’s embraced online courses, and how the Enlightenment is still getting in the way of sound theology.

Welcome to Episode 300 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Twitter | Facebook | NT Wright Online | The New Testament in Its World

Episode Links

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What if, in 40 days, you could grow your small groups in your church by 40%? Based on Pastor Zach Zehnder’s book, The Red Letter Challenge is a 40-day turnkey church campaign that centers around making more effective disciples of Jesus. Go to RedLetterChallenge.com/Carey to find church packages ready to go for you.

NT Wright Online Course: Paul’s Letter to Philemon

Ask NT Wright Anything: What Do You Think of Jordan Peterson

CNLP 297: Gordon MacDonald Shares 8 Decades of Wisdom and Life Lessons, Father Wounds, the Dangers of Drivenness, Counselling a U.S. President, and What Leaders Struggle with Between Ages 32-42 and at Age 48 and Age 62

Scripture Union Superkids Summer Outreach

The Aims of Jesus by NT Wright

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon

The Wealth of Nations

Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray

Jesus and the Victory of God by NT Wright

Surprised by Hope by NT Wright

The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim

Simply Christian by NT Wright


Insights from NT

1. How are most Western Christians looking at the Bible incorrectly?

In the Bible, you have two spheres which we loosely call heaven and earth, which are God’s world and our world. In the Bible, these go together. They are meant to intersect, to interlock, and ultimately be married once and for all and forever. That’s the great exciting thing about biblical theology which sadly many, many Christians in our contemporary world have never begun to get their heads around.

Tom thinks that the whole biblical story works the opposite of how most modern Western Christians think. Instead of us needing to find our way upstairs to heaven, the whole point is God wants to come and dwell with his people, as we see in the last scene of the Bible where we see the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth so that the dwelling of God is with his human creatures.

2. How much Bible studying should a regular believer engage?

Tom says that his level of recommended study for ordinary Christians is more simple than you might think. You should study something about how there is a God who made the world who loves the world, who made you and loves you, and through the death and resurrection of Jesus, he is reaching out and grasping you now, and saying, “Here is genuine life, and you can share it right now and forever.”

For many people, that will do for a year, for five years maybe, but some people almost at once discover that there’s this book called the Bible. When they discover the Bible they have all kinds of questions like: Who are the Pharisees? Who are the Canaanites? Who are the Samaritans? And why did they think this? And what did they mean by the Kingdom of God? When these questions come, this is where deeper study and conversations with clergy need to happen.

Quotes from Episode 300

The best academics are the people who can explain something really easily. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Historically, it's very, very difficult to explain why Christianity began and why it took the shape it did without the resurrection of Jesus at the middle of it. @profntwright Click To Tweet

Look at the historical roots of atheism, see which cultural narratives you're buying into. @profntwright Click To Tweet

In John 16, the spirit is given to hold the world to account. How does the spirit hold the world to account? Through the witness of the church. @profntwright Click To Tweet

What the Spirit is going to do, the Spirit wants to do through Jesus' followers. @profntwright Click To Tweet

God's purpose from the beginning was to sum up, in the Messiah, all things in heaven and on earth. @profntwright Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 300

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch Back Episodes of The Podcast on YouTube

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Next Episode: Albert Tate

Albert Tate is one of the funniest conference speakers and preachers around today. In this episode, Albert breaks down how he finds comedic moments and how to deliver them. In addition, Albert talks candidly about his struggle with porn, deep accountability, sex and how to handle the pressures of leadership.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 301.

CNLP 300: NT Wright on Why Atheism Doesn’t Need to Destroy Your Faith, on Women in Ministry, and How the Church is Getting Heaven Wrong


  1. carl zhou on November 12, 2019 at 1:06 am

    The best academics are the people who can explain something really easily

  2. Elena on November 5, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    I guess why one would take women teaching men in the church into grave account is for the main reason of, how you read one part of the gospel is how you read it in its entirety. I am a woman soloist singer in my church, so there are questions that I had for myself in my ministry. By the way, Carey, I think you are so brilliant, I’m not always sure if I see everything the same way you may, but I love listening to you speak. I’m listening to a few of your audiobooks. Congratulations on your success.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on November 6, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks Elena!

      We don’t have to agree on everything at all, I just want to help you and your team thrive in life and leadership however I can!


  3. Brian Cunnington on November 5, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    Great interview Carey… always a pleasure listening to NT Wright (and you of course). Blessings on your continuing ministry

    • Carey Nieuwhof on November 5, 2019 at 9:30 pm


  4. Joanne Venneker-Louwe on November 5, 2019 at 11:28 am

    Thank you Carey for this podcast and the following links. I appreciate the work you do.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on November 5, 2019 at 9:30 pm

      My pleasure!

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