Book Review: The Spirituality of Paul

The Spirituality of Paul written by Leslie T. Hardin is published by Kregel Publications.  As you may or not be aware of in recent scholarship there has been a system of thought called the New Perspective on Paul.  Out of this system of thought have come many publications in support of or in rejection of this method.  Due to this reinvigoration into Pauline studies, there is a large outcry for a reexamination of our understanding of Paul.  Many who call for this reexamination are not rejecting the older system of thought but rather are looking for a study into Paul’s life which comes from modern scholarship, while others are looking for a overhaul of previous understanding.  In the case of The Spiritually of Paul, Hardin takes an interesting approach, while accepting the New Perspective on Paul as correct he examines Paul in an avenue few have tired.
Hardin examines Paul not from a doctrinal standpoint, although he has very specific views on the doctrine espoused by Paul, rather he examines Paul from a personal religious perspective.  By this the author is looking into the scriptures to see how Paul’s relationship with Christ was from the letters he was writing.  This is a hard study to complete since mostly all of the information that is known of Paul is in historical narrative from but rather in doctrinal letters to individuals or churches.  Yet even with this obstacle Hardin does a commendable job in his research looking at 10 different areas of Paul spiritual life.  From this study Hardin explains that Paul was practicing what he preached and to live a Christ-like life we can and must imitate Paul as he imitates Christ.
If one is looking for a primer on the practical life application that can come from a study on the spiritual life of Paul from the perspective of author who admittedly and readily advocates the New Perspective on Paul, this is a work worthy of study.  With the said, if you are like myself, someone who rejects the New Perspective on Paul as heretically against the teachings of scripture, then this book is helpful to understand some of the practical outworking of someone who advocates the New Perspective on Paul (nevertheless a moderate one) from a popular level of understanding.  In this the reader can still glean many helpful insights from Paul’s spiritual journey. In the end Hardin work was a delightful piece explaining his study of the personal spiritual life of Paul as well as an easy read with most of the highly academic remakes limited to the footnotes.

This book was provided to me free of charge from Kregel Publications in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.

Title: The Spirituality of Paul: Partnering with the Spirit in Everyday Life
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Year of Publishing: 2016
Number of Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-0825444029

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