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N.T. Wright explains the world of the New Testament in new book

CHICAGO (RNS) — New Testament scholar N.T. Wright has spent most of his life teaching people how to study the New Testament.

And the most important thing, he says, is getting the context right.

Without that context, it’s “fatally easy for people to distort bits of Christianity,’” Wright said.

“If we ignore the context, we can make the New Testament stand on its hind legs and dance around the room and play to our tunes — and that that has always been the case, no doubt,” he told Religion News Service in a recent interview. “But the correction is always to go back to, ‘What was the context?’”Wright, a retired Anglican bishop and now chair of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, is author more than 80 popular and academic books about Christianity and the Bible. The latest — co-authored with fellow scholar Michael F. Bird — is “The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians.”