Book Review – Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians by Tom Wright

book-1-corinthians-for everyonePaul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians by Tom Wright

This little book (256 pages long but small in dimensions) by Tom (also known as N.T.) Wright really is for everyone. Although it is “approachable and anecdotal in style”, even those who have read the bigger commentaries would benefit from this book.

Wright manages to combine personal anecdotes, exegesis, exposition and even a bit of Greek word study in an oblique way for every passage of 1 Corinthians. This is quite masterful.

He has written his own translation for the whole book of 1 Corinthians. Here is an example of 2:14-3:4:

Someone who is merely human doesn’t accept the things of God’s spirit. They are foolishness to such people, you see, and they can’t understand them because they need to be discerned spiritually. 15 But spiritual people discern everything, while nobody else can discern the truth about them! 16 For ‘Who has know the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of the Messiah.

3:1 In my own case, my dear family, I couldn’t speak to you as spiritual people, but as people who were all too obviously merely human, little babies in the Messiah. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, because you weren’t able to take it — and you still can’t, even now! 3 You’re still determined to live in the old way! Yes, wherever there is jealousy and quarrelling, doesn’t that mean you’re living in the old way, behaving as any merely human being might do? 4 When someone says ‘I’m with Paul!’, and someone else says ‘I’m with Apollos!’ are you not mere humans?

That gives you an idea of how long each section of Scripture is. The exposition is typically about four pages.

His translation, like his exposition, is also a mixture of sorts being somewhat literal, dynamic and paraphrastic all in one where appropriate. One little annoyance is he says you see in almost every passage.

Another small annoyance is as he is wont to do, he let’s his political and social comments slip in now and then but it’s very infrequent and not very obvious.

This book is very well put together and although it’s very accessible for everyone, it’s deep and insightful enough to truly be for everyone.

There is a helpful glossary in the back of the book where he provides a paragraph description of select terms. I especially liked kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven.

Wright has a whole series of “For Everyone” books. Search for:
Tom Wright For Everyone
using the Amazon search box in the right sidebar here.

I think it would be great if there were Bible study guides to go along with these for group Bible study.

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (March 2004)
ISBN-10: 0664227910
ISBN-13: 978-0664227913

Buy it at:

2 Responses to “Book Review – Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians by Tom Wright”

  1. 1 Tim

    Thanks for the review.  I like to use Tom Wright’s commentaries for daily spiritual reading of the scriptures.  Although I typically don’t read his translation, which you have accurately depicted as being a mixture, his commentaries are at the very least thought provoking.   Sure, his political ideas sometimes creep up, but like you said it isn’t too distracting.  I have gone through Mark and the Captivity Epistles, and I am currently reading through Galatians. 

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    You’re welcome. These would be nice devotional material as you describe. It would be nice to have his translation of the whole NT by itself.

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