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Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ Paperback – October 28, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is not a book with simple modern steps to achieve a better spirituality, but a valuable engagement with ancient Christian spirituality as exemplified by Paul's teaching and life focused on Christ's crucifixion, burial and resurrection." (Robert S. Dutch, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 35(5))

"In the end, the book succeeds in articulating what it would mean for us, as Christ followers in the twenty-first century, to live out Paul's theology in a robust and compelling way with its myriad of contemporary examples. . . . Anyone looking for a depiction of what following Paul would practically look like in our current world will find this book worth his or her time." (Benjamin J. Burkholder, Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Fall 2012)

"The book is intended for all who are interested in Paul and who are developing a basic understanding of who he is, and, in this regard, Reeves has accomplished his purpose. It is recommended for scholars, pastors, students, and the untrained who are interested in this area and who desire a current scholarly yet readable and understandable approach that emphasizes the importance of demonstrating the gospel in every situation." (James M. Howard, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 55(3))

"An engaging discussion of Christian living as expounded in Paul's letters." (Ray Van Neste, Preaching, November/December 2012)

"Rodney Reeves' new book, Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ, is one of the most courageous sketches of Paul's view of the Christian life I've seen. I think he takes Paul at his word and then turns Paul's words on us so we can see ourselves in the mirror of Paul's radical (ludicrous) vision. . . . Pastors, buy this book and meditate your way through it. You will rise up and call me blessed if you do" (Scot McKnight, Jesus Creed, December 14, 2011, www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed)

"Imitating Christ is too often reduced to the classic spiritual disciplines. While not inherently wrong, it superimposes an artificial framework on Paul. Like Procrustes of mythology, we stretch and chop the text to fit the bed. Dr. Reeves, a beloved professor in the classroom and an accomplished Pauline scholar, highlights the essential elements of following Christ, letting Paul use the framework Paul chose. Don't let his charming style and delightful wit deceive you. This is not fluffy devotion, but solid exegesis, cognizance of issues, thoughtful reflection and practical application by someone who knows and believes the text. Here is the spiritual formation textbook you were looking for." (E. Randolph Richards, professor of biblical studies, Palm Beach Atlantic University)

"Reeves has a remarkable ability to make ancient texts speak with a modern voice. He helps us rediscover Paul's spirituality, not in some lazy, postmodern, touchy-feely sense, but in a rigorous, immensely practical, how-to-live-your-life sense. In a day when we are advised not to put people on pedestals, Reeves insists that we place Paul squarely on a pedestal--head and shoulders above the rest--and imitate him." (David B. Capes, Thomas Nelson Research Professor, Houston Baptist University)

"This book is an outstanding resource for anyone who yearns to know Christ more deeply and follow him more completely. Rodney Reeves has given us a valuable gift in Spirituality According to Paul. His combination of careful biblical scholarship, wise pastoral counsel and open-hearted sharing of his own faith journey helps us see in new ways what authentic spirituality is all about. This book is a rich resource for pastors, lay leaders and all believers who want to grow in their relationship with Christ and to live out their faith each day." (Mark D. Roberts, senior advisor and theologian-in-residence, Foundations for Laity Renewal)

"I am convinced that my friend Rodney Reeves writes to challenge, confound and sometimes irritate! Rodney has a keen mind and a distinct way of pressing God's truth into our heart, then probing there to see what we are going to do in response. This is a great book to read, study, digest, meditate and, as a result, imitate the apostle of Christ." (Rex M. Horne Jr., president, Ouachita Baptist University)

"This accessible book is appropriate not only for classroom use but also for church contexts." (Matthew P. O'Reilly, Religious Studies Review, Volume 39, Number 4, December 2013)

About the Author

Rodney Reeves (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of The Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry and professor of biblical studies at Southwest Baptist University, both in Bolivar, Missouri. Previously a pastor with churches in Arkansas and Texas, Reeves is author or coauthor of A Genuine Faith: How to Follow Jesus Today, Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ and Rediscovering Paul: An Introduction to his World, Letters and Theology. His articles have appeared in journals such as Perspectives in Religious Studies, Biblical Illustrator, Southwestern Journal of Theology and Preaching.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830839461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830839469
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Resolved For Christ Blog on May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Probably one of the best books written last year that seemed to really fly under the radar was Rodney Reeves' little book Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ. I don't say this lightly because there were a lot of really good theological works written in 2011. However, in terms of sheer practicality, I think Reeves' book is up there.

Let me explain a bit. Spirituality According to Paul is organized around Paul's three major ideas: you were crucified with Christ, buried with Christ and raised with Christ. Reeves' devotes four chapters to exploring each of these themes. The catch to all of this is that he explores in a way that reminds of the mystics--except with jam up exegesis. What I mean is that each chapter is packed with these powerful, practical ideas and insights into Paul's theology. However, the book isn't linear like many theological works and it definitely doesn't spend a significant time on any one given topic. Think a less poetic, more exegetical Eugene Peterson and you are barking up the right tree with this book. Reeves' style is fluid and compelling and makes you want to read more.

For what it is worth, I thought the first four chapters alone would be worth the price of admission. In particular, his first two chapters absolutely floored me. I actually had to put the book down on numerous occasions and just worship God. However, what is perhaps the greatest praise for a book that I can give is this: it made me want to go back and re-read the Bible. Reeves' book made me want to put his book down and pick up Philippians and read it again...and again...and again. Seriously. Reeves' book is that compelling.

I don't know really how to categorize this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. P. Dwight on July 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is refreshingly biblical, solid in its exposition of Paul's writing, and effective in depicting Paul's life experiences as growth-in-Christ experiences. In a Christian culture where we are enamored with successes and personalities in a "lights-cameras-action" kind of way - Rodney Reeves repeatedly affirms the apostle Paul's hardships and weaknesses as the very basis of his confidence of Christ's work in his life, and as the way to grow deep with Jesus Christ. One might say a strength of this book is how it emphasizes Paul's theology of weakness, where Christ is formed in us not through our victories but our trials. True to the Pauline epistles, this book is meaty and offers rich food for contemplation and growth as a companion for the realities of life. I'm very grateful for it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JustinHoca on April 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the best book on or about the Bible that I have read in a long time and if I had the resources I'd give a copy to everyone I know (lending of it is unfortunately not enabled for Kindle. References are also not hyperlinked, making it difficult to flip back and forth). I think every Christian should read it. Dr. Reeves is a Greek expert and Pauline scholar, Dean of the Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry at Southwest Baptist University. My encounters with him really influenced me and I've never met a Southern Baptist pastor/theologian/teacher who talks, teaches, and writes like him. I had the privilege of hearing him preach a sermon series on Paul while he wrote this book, and his passion for imitating Paul was quite evident.

Reeves does an excellent job explaining the context of Paul's day and the situations of the churches which received his letters. He lucidly explains various lines of scholarly thought on confusing passages. Reeves asks thought-provoking questions about how we imitate Paul as we do church today. What is this "crucified life" that Paul talked about?

I think as believers we often think of Paul as the greatest preacher who ever lived, who was wholeheartedly admired and respected by believers he came into contact with--the children's Sunday School version of Paul. We also think of the Church in Paul's day as being relatively undivided--non-denominational. In reality, Paul's letters to Corinth tell us that he was not a great public speaker-- far inferior to the famous Corinthian orators trained in rhetoric. Churches looked at Paul's life of hardship--beatings, shipwrecks, etc.-- and wondered if he was under God's punishment rather than blessing.

"(T)he Corinthians had come to despise the messenger.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Roberts on October 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding book. Reeves is a fine biblical scholar who gets deeply into the meaning of the Paul's letters. But he also makes excellent connections between biblical truth and our situation today.

There is much talk today about spirituality. Yet some of this seems untethered to deeper theological truth. Reeves opens up Paul's thought and experience in a way that helps us to know and experience God in a way that is genuine, vital, and truthful.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. It will be of particular value to church leaders: pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, etc. But there is much wisdom here for anyone who wants a more vibrant and profound spiritual life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Clint Walker VINE VOICE on October 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
Who was Paul really? Many books have been written on this subject of who Paul is, what his viewpoints were, and what he was trying to accomplish with his life and ministry. With Spirituality According to Paul, Rodney Reeves studies Paul from a different perspective. Reeves asks what Paul's spiritual life was like, and how he believed people were spiritually formed in Christlikeness.

All of what Reeves has to say hinges on two concepts, both of which are very biblical. The first concept is that Christian spirituality and Pauline spirituality are grounded in the paschal rhythm of dying, being buried, and being raised with Christ. The second concept is related to it, and is actually stated first in this text, and that is that Paul presents his life and ministry as a model of this rhythm to those that need further instruction, going to the point of calling people to follow him as he follows Christ.

The entire book follows the outline of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ as a model for understanding Paul and his leadership and spiritual life. In the process, some very important and common matters are discussed such as human sexuality, work, and worship. Reeves also covers some more esoteric concepts such as mystery, spiritual warfare, and the life. In addition to this, Reeves covers some attitudes of disciples, such as self-denial and obedience to God.

I thought throughout Spirituality According to Paul, Reeves did a great job of understanding Paul's spirituality in light of a series of narratives. He showed how Paul adopted Jesus' narrative as his own and let the Jesus story inform Paul's story. He also showed how Paul's influence in turn encouraged other people to adopt the Jesus narrative, and define their lives by being "in" Christ.
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