A Book Review
There is no shortage of books about Paul, but 40 Questions About the Apostle Paul by Miguel G. Echevarría and Benjamin P. Laird is an excellent survey and introduction to many significant issues surrounding this pivotal figure in the New Testament, and one you should consider reading or assigning. The book contains three parts:
- Questions About Paul’s Life
- Questions About Paul’s Writings
- Questions About Paul’s Theology
This book addresses controversy with discussion on such matters as the authenticity of Paul’s letters, the New Perspective, the pistis Christou debate, and the complementarian/egalitarian debate. The authors objectively present diverging views on contested points, weighing in with their own views, but fairly representing each side. Echevarría and Laird succeed by including many of the questions for which students of the New Testament would want and expect to find coverage. Questions on Paul’s death, the authorship of Hebrews, the church and Israel, the atonement, spiritual gifts, and eschatology are all present.
The answers to the 40 questions contained in this book are helpful and clear. They also direct interested readers to books and articles for further study. Are there any questions a book on Paul should have included? Recognizing it can only cover so much, I noticed several topics that it does not cover explicitly:
- Paul and Empire Criticism
- Paul and Head Coverings
- Paul and Apocalypticism
I mean this as no critique. In fact, the authors themselves note in the introduction that a book answering 100 questions about Paul would not be unreasonable. I think they did an excellent job of selecting valuable topics for examination. For that reason, I would recommend this book as an undergraduate textbook or for pastors or laypeople who want to expand their knowledge of Paul—the “apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of GOd of God” (Col. 1:1).
Kregel’s 40 Question Series is a great collection of books that introduce readers to important considerations surrounding major topics. Echevarría and Laird’s contribution to this series upholds the quality we’ve come to expect. Their easy-to-read-and-reference book will help you better understand the Paul of Scripture.
Special thanks to Kregel Academic for a free copy of this book, for which they did not require a review. This did not affect my thoughts in any way so far as I know.