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Written by one of the best known and most respected biblical scholars of all time, this illustrated volume explores all of the primary themes in Paul's thought as they developed in the historical context of his life and travels. While Bruce's primary concern is to portray the life of the apostle Paul, he also examines the main themes of Paul's thought, set in their historical background and illustrated from his letters. Originally published in 1977, this new paperback edition of Paul will be used with profit by all who have an interest in the primitive church—from general readers to the most advanced biblical scholar.
Posted February 5, 2001
After completing a bit of research on F.F. Bruce, I found out that he has been a student and teacher of ancient literature. Mainly a professor of biblical studies at the University of Manchester, whom is one of the best known evangelical biblical scholars. Bruce gives a detailed historical context of Paul¿s life and ministry in this book. This book contains thirty-eight chapters including detail on topics such as ¿The Rise of Rome¿ and ¿The Gospel According to Paul¿ begins with his life in Tarsus where his Jewish family enjoyed citizen rights in this Greek-speaking city. Out of this book came a brilliantly painted picture of Paul¿s life from his early childhood and family history and his eventual initial relationship with the church as persecutor. Leading into his Damascus Road Experience and his letter writing where Bruce describes, ¿I have not attempted to expound Paul¿s teaching systematically but rather to treat its main themes in their historical context, as Paul himself had occasion to develop them in his letters.¿ (11) Bruce describes Paul¿s teaching comes from his newfound freedom in the Risen Lord. The center of Paul¿s understanding is that God justifies the ungodly. Bruce describes Paul¿s mystical experiences but is quick to explain that Christ- Mysticism is not the center of his theology. There is just an overwhelming amount of information in this book, but in a positive sense. There is a very analytical approach by Bruce to Paul and he is also critical in his writing. In a way I do wonder about all the detail, but with my little Biblical Knowledge I should not be skeptical. Bruce utilizes Acts to summarize Paul¿s life in his book and obviously understands that Paul did have knowledge of the oral tradition of Jesus and utilized what Jesus said in his ministry. The limited use of the Pastoral Epistles in this book, were baffling, especially in terms of talking about the end of Paul¿s life. But Bruce does give a great synopsis of who Paul was and what his ministry was. Bruce says, ¿It is best to let Paul be Paul. And when we do that, we shall recognize in him the supreme libertarian, the great herald of Christian freedom.¿ (461) Bruce discusses the authorship of Paul¿s letters. Colossians and Philemon were plainly written at the same time and place, according to Bruce. Bruce is in contest with the fact Paul writing a shorter epistle to the Colossians which was later expounded and expanded by the same author of Ephesians and also this person enlarging ang coming up with the present canonical Colossians. Bruce is also quick to suggest that if Ephesians and here discusses issues like the Holy Spirit, the new man, the broken wall and the heavenly ascent. ¿If not by Paul, is a masterly summary of Paul¿s theology by a disciple who was capable of thinking Paul¿s thought¿s after him.¿ (424). The final chapters discuss Paul and his final days. This would have been a great place to incorporate and expand on the pastoral epistles. Bruce discusses many theories on the conclusion of his life, and as Paul Harvey would say, ¿And now for the rest of the story¿..¿ Bruce offers suggestion that there were possibilities that he was Exiled and that there were alternatives to release him on the one hand and execution on the other hand. Bruce does state that his execution was in connection with Nero¿s persecution of Roman Christians. The dating of his persecution was somewhere around 65 A.D. Out of this book we get a rich reward of who the Apostle Paul was. Truly a heart set free by the grace of God to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to many people. This is a great book for everyone; laity, college and seminary students, and clergy will all benefit from the brilliance FF Bruce and his in-depth analysis of the subject of Paul and his contributions to Christian thought. Some may need to have a Bible handy to reference certain scripture, but other than that, this is a gr
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