Live Q&A with Professor Tom Wright #bigread12

Ever wished you could ask one of the world’s foremost theologians a direct question? 25-30 people took advantage of our online live Q&A and did just that – and we had great discussions this lunchtime. Above you can see what the screen looked like for Bex as the central moderator.

With the event instructions, and requests for questions circulating over the past week or so, we had a few questions to start us off, so the event got moving pretty fast. Prof Tom Wright, as always, excellent at answering questions… and encouraging us that we are all learners!


  1. Why is Lent important and why is Mark important this Year?
  2. How did you choose the language for your NT translation?
  3. How can we use the Big Read to help and engage with those who are exploring Christian faith for the first time after the course has finished?
  4. Mark raises the issue of identity, how do you hope people will grow in their identity as sons and daughters of God as they participate in THE BIG READ?
  5. Following on from the “brigands” on Jesus’ right and left – what light does that shed on Mark 10:35 when James and John ask who will sit on Jesus’ right and left in glory?
  6. Do you think we should print the last section of Mark, which is not present in early translations?
  7. Is Mark accessible for people at any stage of their walk with Jesus? I know in my homegroup there’s a big range!
  8. I love the use of this technology and format and Tom’s embrace of it, would Tom say why this whole BIG READ thing is important to him as a priest, teacher? He’s invested a lot in it.
  9. I’ve found that when talking to people about Mark, they have a problem or cannot seem to get to grips with the ‘Messianic Secret’ How would you go about consolidating the theme of secrecy in Mark with a gospel like John where Jesus seems so accessible and openly shows his true identity in front of many people.
  10. Looking at the fig tree, if the fruit isn’t in season why did Jesus kill it and what does that mean for us as human beings?
  11. It may be a contrived question, but is there a key verse or sentence that we need to keep in mind when reading Mark’s gospel?
  12. In Simply Jesus, you used the analogy of the Perfect Storm. I have found it very helpful in explaining that ‘this is the time’ you are now speaking about. Could you develop that idea for us here?
  13. Many of my non Christian friends say they cannot take the Bible seriously as it’s been interpreted in so many different ways over the years, how would you respond to that?
  14. I was told in a New Testament Gospels module at university whilst studying for my Theology degree that Mark’s Gospel is all about Socio-Political criticism. Whilst I think this is certainly true to an extent, the lecturer said that Mark could have ‘made miracles up’ to show his resentment of the political framework at the time, with one example being the miracle of the exorcism of Legion being a picture of Roman Imperialism. Is this an appropriate way of reading Mark’s gospel, and do you think that a reading of the gospel in this way could undermine Jesus’ power? (Sorry that this is such a long question!)
  15. If Son of God means Messiah not second person of Trinity then why do you believe in a Trinity?
  16. With 95% or so of Mark’s gospel appearing in Matthew and Luke, what in your view is unique about Mark’s message of how Jesus became King?
  17. I have been asked why we want to read Mark again when we know it so well, what would you say to that? Also  I have been asked why we would want to keep rereading the Bible, how would you answer that?
  18. Does Mark have a specific way of describing holiness? I’m thinking particularly of the story of Jesus healing the leper, ‘Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him.’ Mark 1.41
  19. Along with his own books on Mark, which books and scholars would Tom particularly recommend to aid us to go deeper in Mark? *Sorry, think may have missed this question going past!
  20. How do you interpret Mark’s claim that blasphemy against the holy spirit is the only unforgivable sin? Does this mean that a person merely needs to utter “I reject the holy spirit”, like those atheists who put “blasphemy challenge” videos on youtube? Or is there more to it than that?”
  21. Ron: ” I live in the united states, are there plans to export BigREAD13 to US and Canada? What would need to happen to make that happen?” *Bex says already available in print format at least, and website is global, but want to start some conversations re making this happen next year.
  22. When thinking of Mark in relation to the other gospels, how important do you think is the view is that Mark was probably written first and that it’s based on the eyewitness testimony of Peter (if we believe Papias)? And would you agree with that view?
  23. On a similar healing theme. In Mark 5 a lady is healed simply by touching Jesus’ garment, when he notices that power has gone from him. What are the theological implications here?
  24. I would really love to hear his view on inclusivism & universalism and are you doing a book on hell at any point?
  25. hello, I’ve got a practical question about the course: is there a single link to download all the resources for a specific week? on 12baskets, it looks like you have to download each piece separately. *Bex is looking into this with Wayne from 12Baskets
  26. you talk a lot about the excitement of Paul mixing metaphors in trying to convey a picture of what he’s feeling… In churches with Charismatic style prohecy i hear people mixing metaphors all the time in meetings. Is it possible that paul was doing something similar? Prophesying in the broad sense of speaking out the truth of God?”
  27. Is there any news on Vol 4 of the Christian Origins series?

The Files

Have you mentioned your experience?

Emma Major:  is quick off the starting blocks, and I’ve seen a few other comments on Facebook and Twitter to indicate the value of this session, e.g.

The photo (and yes @drbexl has her eyes shut!)


  • Professor Tom Wright for giving up the time to undertake this live online Q&A
  • University of Winchester for allowing us to use the software. For those of you who are confused by this, Bex works part-time Universities of Winchester/Durham, and promotes the use of this software for Winchester academics.
  • Keith Jagger for managing the software at St Andrew’s end, and Anna Blanch for organising that.
  • Holly Thompson for encouragement, practical tests and managing the chat section – and advertising via @SPCKPublishing
  • Sean Skinner, for input, testing and advertising via @premierradio
  • Help with testing last week from @adamswbrown and @grahamcrosbie
  • All those of you who helped promote, gave in questions, and took time out to partake in such an event!

Please do add comments below …. 

About bigbible

The #BigBible Project. Educating in the digital spaces, creating 'bigger Bible conversations' between #digidisciple(s). Look out for #bigread14.