Paul’s Second Exodus

One great New Testament theme is that of the Second Exodus. Christ is the new and greater Moses, delivering his people from a greater captor than Pharoah, to a greater Promised Land than Canaan. The Second Exodus theme can be found all over the pages of the New Testament. In light of this, here is N.T. Wright’s exciting reading of Romans 6-8 in his work Paul In Fresh Perspective:

…Paul believes that the new Exodus has been launched through the work of Jesus. When he speaks in 1 Corinthians 10 of  ‘our ancestors’ being ‘baptized into Moses’ and so forth, clearly indicating the parallel between being baptized into the Messiah, he seems to be envisaging Jesus’s death as the moment of new Exodus, an impression confirmed, if somewhat kaleidoscopically in terms of theme, by his almost casual reference to the Messiah as the Paschal lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). This is then filled out by his large-scale exposition, in Romans 6-8, of the entire Exodus theme as applied to the people of God in Christ. To recapitulate the point: in Romans 6 God’s people come through the waters which mean that they are delivered from slavery into freedom; in Romans 7:1-8:11 they come to Sinai only to discover that, though the Torah cannot give the life it promised, God has done it; with the promise of resurrection before them, they are then launched onto the journey of present Christian life, being led by the Spirit through the wilderness and home to the promised land which is the renewal of all creation (8:12-30). This is Paul’s version of the retold Exodus story… (Paul In Fresh Perspective, 138)

Wright is drawing from the approach of Richard Hays in his seminal Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul.



Posted on April 19, 2012, in N. T. Wright, Typology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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