Many Christians who know and love the Bible think they know the apostle Paul. He's a theological master, a pastoral mentor, a spiritual adviser and a missionary hero. Yet just when we think we have him in our grasp, he slips through our fingers. At the point where we suppose we have finally understood him, Paul again confounds us. But he also beckons us to explore God's ways more deeply.
Michael Bird suggests that if the Paul we claim to know looks and sounds a lot like us, it's probably a warning light that we don't know him as well as we think we do. But if we let Paul be Paul, allowing him to speak for himself in his language, on his terms and for his purposes, then we stand a chance of meeting him anew.
Introducing Paul is an animated and penetrating survey of Paul's life and teaching. It covers all the basics students need, while offering new insights with a light touch. Blending life and study, Bird aims to get us excited about reading Paul's letters, sharing his gospel and living the Christian life the way he thought it should be lived. For beginning students and laypeople, Introducing Paul is a valuable entrance into the contemporary study of Paul.
"This is the first book to put in the hands of the student or layperson who wants to know what Paul is all about. The super bonus of this book is that it navigates current discussions about Paul without burdening the reader. Introducing Paul sparkles with wit."
"Michael Bird offers an insightful, readable and serious (yet occasionally witty) introduction to Paul in conversation with the best scholarship on the apostle. It will be especially useful for those who think they know Paul well but have the courage to take a fresh look and have their assumptions challenged. Particularly important are Bird's discussions of justification and of the gospel itself. Let those who have ears to hear listen to what the Spirit--via Paul and Bird--is saying to the people of God in a world that seems increasingly similar to Paul's."
"For anyone who would like to get 'up to date' on issues of Pauline scholarship, in a way that will help student, teacher or preacher, this book is thoroughly recommended."
"Bird has written a useful entry-level book for undergraduates, informed laypersons, and for ministers seeking to stay current within Pauline studies. Recommended for those seeking to understand the contours of Paul's thought in a way that is engaging, relevant, and highly readable."
"Bird has written a wonderfully helpful introduction to Paul. He is clearly well informed on the issues, and he writes thoughtfully in an engaging style. As a student of Paul, I found the book marvelous, a wonderful summary and reminder of key issues in Pauline studies, presented in a fresh manner."
"Author Michael Bird offers much that should educate and inspire readers about this vitally important historical figure."
"Introducing Paul is wonderfully written, intermingling scholarly observations and humor throughout. I highly recommend Bird's primer as a resource to assist new readers of Paul in understanding the essential elements of Paul's theology."
"A wonderful introduction to the Apostle Paul that manages to be both brief and substantive. . .A wonderful introduction to Paul's theology."
"A valuable and timely contribution. . .a fine introduction to the current shape of Pauline studies. A great way for any student of the Bible to catch up on the current conversation."
"A brief, readable, sensible summary of Pauline studies in a usable format. . . A good overview in a helpful manner, summarizing key aspects of Paul's life and message along with a good dose of humor."
"The value of the book is in Bird's ability to produce a volume that exhibits both breadth and simplicity in exploring and summarizing areas of Pauline study while also maintaining an appropriate depth for a work of introduction. Bird appears to have achieved his explicit aim to go deeper into Paul without losing his readers in the mire of scholarly debates and complex technicalities, while also hoping to show Paul both relevant and riviting to today's church."
"Bird has a knack of vividly putting in current context the radical nature of some New Testament claims and the way they were perceived 2,000 years ago."
"An excellent book. It is well thought out, documented, and presented. Bird argues well for his analysis of Paul and what he was like and what he believed. Bird writes well and with conviction, personality and passion."
"A wonderful introduction to the Apostle Paul that manages to be both brief and substantive. Some books on Paul focus on the theology of the apostle expressed in his letters. Others provide a biographical look at the apostle's life and missionary journeys. Introducing Paul combines the best of these approaches. Bird delves into Pauline theology, the specific letters, the story of Paul's life. And he accomplishes these tasks in less than 200 pages."
"In less than 200 pages, Bird not only covers the basics, but he acquaints the uninitiated with the basics of the various discussions and controveries going on in Pauline studies. I recommend this book for college students and new Bible students. As far as basic books go, this is certainly an excellent basic text for any study of Paul."
1. What is Paul?
2. A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to Damascus
3. The Stories Behind the Story
4. Reading Someone Else's Mail
5. The Royal Announcement
6. The Crux of the Gospel
7. The Return of the King
8. One God, One Lord: Monotheism and the Messiah
9. Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel: The Ethics of Paul
10. Gospelizing: Paul's Spirituality