A Study of the New Testament Theme of Birth from Above
By William Orr and William Guy
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In the face of frequent and sometimes loose contemporary usage of the term “born again” (which is the King James version of the Bible’s rendering of a phrase from John 3:3), the authors of this book attempt to examine what the New Testament reveals about the process of being “born from above” (which is a preferable translation of the Johannine phrase). The third chapter of the Gospel of John, with its grounding in old Testament prophecy, is examined in detail in order to see what Jesus says about this process of birth. Then four New Testament characters are discussed as “test” cases. On the basis of their analysis, the authors believe that “birth from above” is not some sudden cataclysmic and definitive alteration in the life of an individual but rather the beginning of a process which takes place in company, and sometimes in conflict, with others, in order that the divine society envisioned by Jesus may come into existence and thus replace the wrangle of warring element into which the world has been fractured. It is a means of bringing peace, which in the deepest Hebrew sense means ultimate well-being, into the world. This purpose of this book is to illuminate the possibility of establishing a world society that understands itself to be the family of God.
William Orr is Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is, with James A. Walther, the author of the Anchor Bible volume on I Corinthians. William Guy is a poet, novelist, and translator, and an avid student of languages and literature.
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