I want you to dig deeper into reading Paul. Thus, this list of introductions on Paul the Apostle.
I may modify it over time, but for now, these are my favorite intro level books on Paul.
I won’t agree with every author in their entirety, but that’s not the point! I want folks to engage!
Here are some of my favorite introduction level books on Paul:
- The New Perspective On Paul: An Introduction (Kent Yinger)
- In this short little book, readers learn what “new perspective” means in a quick way. Highly recommended first step to understanding an important issue.
- Introducing Paul: the Man, His Message, His Mission (Michael Bird)
- I like Mike. He’s an excellent writer and a great guy. His book on Paul is a great introduction to important issues when studying his letters.
- Four Views on the Apostle Paul (ed. Michael Bird)
- This is the best book out there to understand the broad conversation happening with Paul. The chapter on “The Jewish View” (by Mark Nanos) is by far my favorite.
- Through the Eyes of N.T. Wright: A Reader’s Guide to Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Derek Vreeland)
- The most important book that has been written on Paul in the last few years is NT Wright’s big book. This book summarizes the big book for those who want to know the main arguments without reading 1700 pages!
- Paul Was Not a Christian: The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle (Pamela Eisenbaum)
- This book is from the Paul within Judaism or the Radical New Perspective on Paul approach. It is excellent. Flat out. Written by a Jewish scholar of the New Testament. I nuance certain things differently, but appreciate its overall vision of Paul.
- The Paul Debate: Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle (N.T. Wright)
- Imagine that NT Wright took his 1700 page book and condensed it into 200. That is this book. Excellent give for the theology nerd in your life.
- Paul: A Very Short Introduction (E.P. Sanders)
- E.P. Sanders’ big book, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, singlehandedly changed the landscape of Pauline studies by reframing Judaism as a religion of grace. This very short book summarizes his views of Judaism and Paul.
- Reinventing Paul (John Gager)
- The radical perspective on Paul is outline here in a very helpful way. John Gager builds on the work of Lloyd Gaston (Paul and the Torah) and other early “within Judaism” scholars.
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Author: Kurt Willems
Kurt Willems is a pastor, author, and spiritual director. His first book, Echoing Hope: How the Humanity of Jesus Redeems our Pain, releases in March 2021. Kurt is also the host of the Theology Curator podcast. He has a master of divinity degree from Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary and a master of arts in comparative religion from the University of Washington.
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