The Apostle Paul is, perhaps, one of the most debated biblical figures. His writings are vigorously debated amongst Pauline scholars. There are debates over the language which Paul used, and if Paul is harsh or if he is speaking in a gracious tone. Debates are certainly raging discussing different doctrines (for example, God’s election in Romans 9) or the role of women in the Church.
Robert Picirilli’s book Paul the Apostle: Missionary, Martyr, Theologian is written: “for a student who has only a general background in the New Testament” and, on the other hand, “for a serious student who desires depth and detail” (11). I would also add a purpose for this volume is the pastor who needs a memory refresher concerning Paul, his life, ministry, and theology.
I appreciate Picirilli’s plain language. Authors that communicate God’s truth and that can likewise communicate that truth in an academic setting are of immense value to the kingdom and God’s people. This is a volume that a person without rigorous academic training can invest their time and knowledge and not be lost in higher academic jargon.
I likewise appreciate Picirilli’s structure. He takes Paul as the Jew and scholar pre-conversion, through his conversion, and his ministry post-Acts 9. The chapters (3-8) covering Paul’s post-conversion are the bulk of the work. In these chapters, he provides basic background information and outlines of each letter from Paul.
Finally, I appreciate that he provides a list of resources that concludes the work. Libraries, bookstores, and the like are filled with books that are either too simplistic (the sense which Picirilli addresses in the preface), or works that inundate the reader with academic specific jargon. Based upon the goals he outlines in the beginning, Picirilli, he exceeds my expectations.
If you are remotely interested in the life and ministry of Paul, you need to read this book. Picirilli encapsulates well one of the most influential figures in Christianity in an accessible manner for people of varying degrees of curiosity and academic rigor.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Moody Press through the Moody Blogger Review Program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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