Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review of FOUR VIEWS ON THE APOSTLE PAUL edited Michael F. Bird

The Apostle Paul was probably the most significant figure in the spread of Christianity and its continued preservation to this day. His writings have been widely read and widely quoted. Yet not everyone is in agreement about what Paul was trying to communicate in his writings. In fact, although I was somewhat aware, I didn’t completely realize the range of thought that people have come to in their study of Paul and his writings. In the Zondervan Counterpoint Series volume FOUR VIEWS ON THE APOSTLE PAUL, four scholars present four different perspectives on Paul. Thomas Schreiner presents the Reformed View. Luke Timothy Johnson presents the Catholic View. Douglas Campbell presents the Post-New Perspective View. Finally, Mark D. Nanos presents the Jewish View.

The book presents each of the scholars’ essays, which are followed by responses by the other three scholars. It shows a great interaction between the authors concerning their views. The only addition I would like to see from one of these books is a rejoinder by the essay’s author in light of the other scholars’ responses.

I fall in line mostly with Schreiner’s Reformed View, but I enjoyed reading the responses to his essay on some things that might need to be rethought and reformulated.

FOUR VIEWS ON THE APOSTLE PAUL is a good resource for theologians interested in diving deeper into the New Testament text. I must say that I found it a bit frustrating that Paul’s writings could be seen in some very different ways, which can lead to confusion for some believers. However, I do think it’s important to look at the evidence and let the Scriptures speak for themselves.

I received this book for free for review from Zondervan, and the opinions contained in this review are completely my own

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