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Paul, Apostle of God's Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology Paperback – March 1, 2006
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"Tom Schreiner's abilities as a skilled exegete and a good writer come together well in this superb volume on Pauline theology. Schreiner not only presents the major themes of Pauline theology with exceptional clarity but also provides illuminating insight into the difficult issues in Pauline studies today and numerous applications to the life of the contemporary church. In light of the current critical tendency to discount the Pauline authorship of Ephesians, Colossians and the Pastoral Epistles, it is refreshing to read a volume on the theology of Paul that gives these letters their rightful place in the representation of his theology." (Clinton E. Arnold, Talbot School of Theology)
"Dr. Schreiner has produced a deeply exegetical study of Paul's theology. Even those who disagree with some of his conclusions will benefit from his careful analysis of the text of Paul's letters and his fair-handed treatment of alternative positions. The book will be especially useful to students and pastors, but scholars will also profit from its thoughtful exegetical discussions and its persuasive case for the centrality of God's glory in Christ to Paul's theology." (Frank Thielman, Beeson Divinity School)
"In light of the considerable body of scholarship on Paul, writing a theology of the apostle is a daunting task indeed. Taking his methodological cue from Schlatter's maxim of 'seeing what is there,' Schreiner admirably succeeds in his task by providing a highly competent treatment that is distinctive in at least three ways: focusing on Paul as a missionary; identifying 'God in Christ' as the center of Pauline theology; and affirming all thirteen letters attributed to Paul as authentic. While not quite as extensive as James Dunn's recent The Theology of Paul the Apostle, Schreiner's work breathes a more conservative evangelical flavor, which is sure to make it the preferred text in many classes on the subject." (Andreas Köstenberger, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)
About the Author
Thomas R. Schreiner is James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and associate dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. His other books include The Law and Its Fulfillment, Interpreting the Pauline Epistles and Romans.
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Despite the length of the book, Schreiner is amazingly adept at covering a wide breadth of information in a short amount of space. An excellent example is his discussion of tongues. He covers whether all believers should speak in tongues, tongues as a sign of judgment on unbelievers, baptism in the Spirit, tongues as an earthly or heavenly language, and the practice of tongues speaking today all in under 5 pages! The wonder of this book is not that it is almost 500 pages long, but that with all it covers it is not 900 pages long!
He doesn't shrink back from 'hot button' issues like women in ministry, spiritual gifts, roles in marriage, and slavery in Paul's writings. In fact I wish I had read his thorough and level headed treatment of spiritual gifts about 10 or 12 years ago when they were a significant point of controversy.
But these are not the main issues Schreiner addresses. Much more of his attention is focuses on God, Christ, sin, salvation, Paul's mission and suffering, justification, sanctification, the church, and the fulfillment of God's promises.
If you want a comprehensive understanding of Paul's letters, Schreiner is an excellent teacher and guide.
Schreiner's stance is decidedly conservative and Reformed, yet not to the point of Scripture twisting or skewing exegesis. There is a real freshness to this book, in that it avoids flattening Paul's theology into an emphasis on only one theme (such as justification, union with Christ, or reconciliation), but rather emphasizes all of these themes in relation to the central motif of God's glory as revealed in Christ. The glory of God in Christ is the sun in Paul's theological solar system and the planets of justification, union with Christ, reconciliation, et cetera all orbit around this one glorious center.
While Schreiner's exegesis is fresh, it is not a departure from historic Protestantism. Schreiner does NOT teach justification by works. But he does understand the already/not yet nature of God's salvific work. There are dimensions of salvation that are yet to be realized by God's people and the Scriptures represent perseverance in faith and obedience as a necessary corollary to final deliverance. But even our perseverance in faith and obedience are the direct result of God's effectual work within us, so all is of grace.
Another unique feature in Schreiner's work is his emphasis on Paul's suffering as a crucial means of fulfilling his mission. In fact, Schreiner does a wonderful job of weaving Paul's theology into the missionary context in which it was originally framed. This adds a personal dimension to the book and will help students avoid the danger of abstracting Paul's theology from real life.
This is an excellent book that I heartily recommend. The Christian church should thank the Lord for such gifted scholars as Thomas Schreiner and both scholars and pastors should take advantage of this labor of love.