God and the Pandemic

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


God and the Pandemic


N.T. Wright


Zondervan Reflective (originally published in the United Kingdom by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge)

Publication Date:

June 2020




87 pages


As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, many Christians the world over have been left wondering how to interpret events. Is this a sign of God’s wrath? A call to repentance? Or just another reminder that we live in a broken world where terrible things happen? Theologian N.T. Wright considers these questions as he leads readers through how the Bible talks about plagues and other large-scale catastrophes. He starts by considering how such events are portrayed in the Old Testament, then he unpacks how Jesus’ death and resurrection altered God’s relationship with humanity, thus changing how people must interpret events. He finishes by considering how the early Christians responded to suffering around them, showing a model for how Christians should respond in any tragedy.

Wright does an excellent job of doing what the best theologians do in crises: pointing people back to the Bible, showing how its principles apply to the current moment. His conclusions are honest and highly helpful, highlighting how COVID-19 really hasn’t changed the church’s basic position. In crises, the church must seek God’s counsel, then help the victims and each other. This is how the church has behaved in famines (as seen in the book of Acts), in plagues (as seen in historical records), and should be the church’s response today.

Although this conclusion may sound optimistic, Wright is careful not to understate the struggles COVID-19 is creating. He emphasizes that Christians shouldn’t downplay the problem of evil, thus generating quick answers to avoid the pain. The fact there is evil and strife in the world is something Christians should grieve, even though it’s a perennial problem. Avoiding or explaining away the reality of suffering only makes people flippant. Balancing hope in Christ with grief at evil’s existence keeps Christians honest and able to approach suffering in a mature way.

A terrific primer on suffering and a great aide to Christians in this troubled time.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Christians seeking a historic, orthodox Christian perspective on pandemics, and how COVID-19 fits into the Bible’s view of suffering.

Christian Impact

Wright does an excellent job of unpacking the relationship between plagues, national suffering and God throughout the Bible, giving readers a mature lens for interpreting COVID-19. In doing so, he gives readers the tools they need to be good witnesses and avoid hysteria in a difficult time.

God and the Pandemic: A Christian Reflection on the Coronavirus and Its Aftermath

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