The letters of the Apostle Paul are central witnesses to the Christian faith and to the earliest history of Christianity. And yet, when students, preachers, and others turn to Paul, they find many things "hard to understand" (2 Peter 3:16) in these ancient writings.
James Prothro’s new book aims to help readers see the Apostle’s faith and hope at work as he evangelized the nations. Steeped in up-to-date scholarship and a passion for the gospel Paul preached, Prothro draws readers into Paul’s life and letters in order to help them hear the Apostle’s voice. The book’s chapters offer introductions to Paul’s background, life, and legacy; an introduction to ancient letter writing; a guide to understanding Paul’s theology across the letters; a survey of the portrait of Paul in the Book of Acts; separate treatments of each letter’s background and purpose; treatments of key theological topics in each letter and a thorough outline of each letter showing its arguments and how they make sense.
Prothro introduces complex matters with clarity, balance, and an inviting style. He not only offers answers but models how to ask questions, helping us reason through Paul’s letters as ancient documents and as Christian Scripture. This book will prove a valuable introduction for those who study, teach, and preach these biblical books.
"James Prothro has here distilled a mass of learning into an intelligent and clearly written introduction to Paul’s theology, letters and historical setting. Students will find an extremely helpful guide here to the apostle’s thought and writings, as well as a lucid account of the main currents of contemporary interpretation. Highly recommended!"~Simon J. Gathercole, University of Cambridge
"The past years have witnessed an overwhelming flood of studies on Paul the Apostle and his theology. James Prothro’s new book, The Apostle Paul and His Letters, presents an up-to-date review of the main questions about Paul, and provides a clear, wise, and faith-filled review of Paul’s life and each of his letters. Highly recommended for use in seminaries and theological colleges."~Daniel Keating, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
"James Prothro has written an outstanding introduction to Paul and his letters. Comprehensive in scope, carefully researched, balanced, and theologically insightful, this work clarifies the background, structure, and theological issues of each letter that students need to know if they are to read Paul with confidence and understanding. It is an ideal text for introducing Paul to undergraduate and graduate students, one of the best available."~Frank Matera, The Catholic University of America
"James Prothro offers students and the larger academic community an absorbing introduction to Paul in the classical style, leading the reader into the letters by means of historical context, genre, and theological concerns. We are swept away by a coherent big picture, but also captivated by such social details as the costliness of producing manuscripts in Paul’s time. Here is a subtle, yet engaging, book that joins together elements of a handbook and a perspectival monograph, inviting us into ongoing scholarly discussions about the apostle’s writings, making sane (if sometimes debatable) decisions about such matters, and showing definitively how the letters remain essential for the faithful."~Edith M. Humphrey, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary