Not all my summers look the same, but this summer I was privileged to read a lot of new books. I will be releasing a series of lists of some of the books that stood out, and will be starting with a list of Pauline resources. The list is in no particular order; click the photos for Amazon links.
Journeys of the Apostle Paul: This 2020 release is packed with insightful, accessible, and relevant articles, as well as with high quality visuals and maps. With each essay carefully written, this makes for a great resource for the beginner on Paul and his letters, though it can prove valuable to those more advanced as well. Rich in theological depth, insight, and relevance, many can benefit from this resource, as it is not too dense nor is it at all “watered down.”
Reading Philippians: What stands out in this resource is a rare mixture of accessibility and deep rooted-ness in the world of Paul. While Nijay Gupta is one of the leading scholars on Paul, he has provided the Church with a resource which anyone can pick up and understand. Full of references to pop culture, as well as relevance for the “real word,” this makes for a great resource for either private/personal study or more of a group oriented Bible study.
Jesus the Lord According to the Apostle Paul: When it comes to modern writers and thinkers on Paul, Gordon Fee has been most formative to the development of my theology, helping me gain a robust understanding of the role of the Spirit in the lives of believers and the life of the Church. In this 2018 release, Fee offers a condensed version of one of his earlier works, Pauline Christology. Jesus the Lord is refreshingly readable and clear, providing a window into the heart and mind of Paul by one of the finest modern thinkers in New Testament studies. I find this to be a great companion to Paul’s letters, and a helpful guide for understanding the apostle’s theology.
Paul and the Language of Faith
Have we misunderstood Luther? Are we mistranslating pistis (the Greek word often translated “faith”)? These questions and others are dealt with here in a balanced way. When it comes to Paul and questions of works and faith, Gupta is one of the most interesting and stimulating voices in scholarship. Here the author argues that when it comes to translating and understanding pistis, we can do better. An important book in New Testament studies, in the studies of Paul, and in the studies of faith or “pistis” in the Bible, I recommend this to the careful student of Paul. The gist of this book is: Let’s remain faithful to the various and beautiful nuances of pistis in the world of the Bible. Though it may mean more work, it’s worth it–no shortcuts!
Participating in Christ (2019)
Michael J. Gorman has in the last few years become one of my favorite authors on Paul. His Reading Paul left a mark on me years ago as I found myself agreeing with Gorman, who refuses to make Paul “left” or “right” and yet is clear: Paul does not steer clear of politics. In Participating in Christ, Gorman remains clear and persuasive, showcasing the need to recover the Pauline doctrine of union with Christ.
Philippians (Michael Bird/ Nijay Gupta): With careful attention paid to historical and cultural context, as well as to what others have been saying about Philippians, this is a resource I gladly welcome in my library. Theologically rich and written by two of the best Pauline thinkers and New Testament scholars, this is a superb and solid resource.
Offer Yourselves to God (2019)
Gordon Fee has published a short and simple resource on vocation in the letters of Paul. Though it is brief, Fee wastes no words and provides guidance where there is not always direction. This has proved helpful to me personally in navigating the turbulent waters of God’s will for one’s life.
F.F. Bruce on Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians: Now this is not a new resource technically, but the publisher recently released a paperback edition. I’ve been a fan of Bruce’s work for some time for his ability to bring the text home, his tone, wittiness, and commitment to go where the text leads. His Philippians commentary comes highly recommended by me. Bruce is one of the finest scholars and modern interpreters of Paul and has been a guide for me for years in my own study of the apostle.
Preaching Romans: Four Perspectives
I find this to be an intriguing resource with contributions by the (as of recent) late James Dunn, Scot McKnight (who is also co-editor), Stephen Westerholm, Michael F. Bird, Richard Hays, and others. The four perspectives are the Reformational perspective, the New Perspective, the Apocalyptic Perspective, and the Participationist Perspective. Here is an intriguing dialogue of sorts which showcases not only four major lenses through which Romans is read/interpreted, but also the multifaceted nature of this rich letter.