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Book Review: The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (Seyoon Kim)

Seyoon Kim. The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament). Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2007. 402 pp. $46.00.

OriginIf you have an academic interest in New Testament studies, you’ve most likely heard of the WUNT monograph series from Mohr Siebeck. These are among the most prestigious in the field, but unfortunately, like all academic monographs, are rather inaccessible to most. This is why I take notice (and rejoice!) whenever there’s a more affordable reprint, and I want to spread that cheer far and wide. I’ve previously reviewed Wipf & Stock’s reprint of Aquila Lee’s WUNT monograph From Messiah to Preexistent Son, and today I’m highlighting another Wipf & Stock reprint – Seyoon Kim’s The Origin of Paul’s Gospel. This is a slightly revised version of Kim’s doctoral dissertation under F. F. Bruce submitted to the University of Manchester in August 1977. Despite the fact that this study is dated, it is an important one in the history of Pauline research and deserves a wider readership.

In contrast to much of modern Pauline scholarship which attempt to explain the origin of Paul’s gospel in light of literary and religionsgeschichtliche parallels, Kim’s thesis is that Paul’s “gospel and apostleship are grounded solely in the Christophany on the Damascus road and that he understands himself solely in light of it. The Damascus event is the basis both of his theology and his existence as an apostle” (31). Convinced that we can only truly understand Paul and his theology when we take seriously his insistence that he received his gospel from the Damascus Christophany, Kim guides us through a tour of Paul’s own testimony with a historico-philological method rather than a search for parallels between Paul’s theology and this or that stream of ancient Mediterranean belief.

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Book Review: Apostle of The Last Days: The Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul (C. Marvin Pate)

Today I have a review of this book at Nate Claiborne’s blog.

Apostle of The Last Days is a valuable contribution to Pauline studies. The majority of the book is a survey through Paul’s entire corpus, demonstrating the eschatology of each epistle vis-à-vis the competing eschatologies of the respective cities. It’s written at a moderately academic level, with most Greek words untransliterated. This book is definitely a treat for anyone with particular interest in Pauline studies and/or eschatology; but because the thesis is advanced through a survey of all of Paul’s epistles, it would benefit any semi-academic student of the Word by imparting a greater understanding of each of Paul’s epistles.

Click here to read the full review.

Book Review: Romans 1-7 For You (Tim Keller)

Timothy Keller. Romans 1-7 For You. The Good Book Company, 2014. 208 pp. $22.99.

romWhile all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, it’s hard to deny that in a sense there is something extra-special about the Epistle to the Romans. It is, as Luther wrote in his commentary on the book, the “purest gospel.” No other section of the Bible takes us to such devastating lows in confronting us with our depravity, and no other section of the Bible takes us to such soaring heights with the reality of our justification and union with Christ. And through the Spirit of God this marvelous book has been the explosive catalyst in the lives of giants in the faith like Augustine and Luther, whose effects are still felt in the Church today.

As glorious as the Epistle to the Romans is, there are parts that are undoubtedly difficult to understand. Though there are riches to be gleaned even at the surface, there is a vast trove of treasures available to be mined by those willing to do a bit of hard digging. And a perfect tool for digging up the great treasures in the first seven chapters of this magnificent biblical book is the latest volume of the God’s Word For You series, Tim Keller’s Romans 1-7 For You. Each volume of this series “takes you to the heart of a book of the Bible, and applies its truths to your heart” (5). It’s designed to be used in a variety of ways: simply to be read cover to cover, to be used as a part personal devotions, or as a resource to teach others the Word of God.

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