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Editorial Reviews


"Paul the Missionary is a joy: rigorous in its scholarship, clearly written, and relevant. It is a welcome antidote, first to those studies of Paul that focus exclusively on his theology while totally ignoring the fact that he was a missionary and, second, to all missiological methodology that is rooted in pragmatics rather than in theology and Scripture. Twenty-first century missionaries, students, New Testament scholars, pastors, and all thinking Christians would profit from this book." (Keith Ferdinando, Theological Book Review, 2009)

"Invaluable to pastors, teachers, students, missionaries, and missiologists that see their work as closely related to that of Paul." (Thomas M. Anderson, Religious Studies Review, March 2010)

"Schnabel invites the reader to a biblical feast that is both academic and spiritually refreshing. Should prove to be influential in ongoing Pauline and mission studies." (Edward L. Smither, Criswell Theological Review, Fall 2009)

"Schnabel succeeds admirably. Paul the Missionary is an excellent resource that I will be recommending for years to come. I know of no other book that provides such a comprehensive, biblically faithful, and nuanced understanding of Paul and his missionary work." (Robert L. Plummer, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, September 2009)

"This information-filled book draws richly on the author's exhaustive (nearly 2,000-page!) prior study of early Christian missions. Writing as a mature biblical scholar and former OMF missionary in the Philippines, Schnabel honestly acknowledges the complexity of the hermeneutical and pragmatic task facing the contemporary practitioner. Perhaps that is why his concluding chapter contains so many judicious and valuable insights." (Richard Schultz, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, July 2009)

"A reliable guide to students of Paul. A fresh study of Paul's mission work with the stated aim of undesrtanding the goals that the apostle had and the methods he used." (Greg Goswell, New Life, May 28, 2009)

"The reader will find much solid information in this substantial work." (Donald Senior, C.P., The Bible Today, July 2009)

"Although Paul the Missionary is not a quick read, it is a rewarding one. New Testament scholars, missiologists and missionaries, and local pastors like me will profit from Schnabel's focused attention on Scripture. And ministers of the gospel will profit through extended reflection on the theology and praxis of Paul, whose example is well worth imitating." (George P. Wood (www.georgepwood.com), February 6, 2009)

"In this magisterial work Schnabel carefully and thoroughly plumbs the New Testament data to develop a comprehensive picture of Paul's approach to mission. His understanding of Paul as a missionary together with his application to selected issues in contemporary missiology provides an invaluable foundation for evaluating our contemporary approaches to mission ranging from the influence of cultural values (such as effectiveness and efficiency) to the lastest fads (from church growth to people group thinking to communication theory to short-term missions). Missionaries and missiologists alike owe Schnabel our thanks for this penetrating work which will play a significant role in missions studies for years to come." (A. Scott Moreau, professor of intercultural studies, Wheaton College, and editor, Evangelical Missions Quarterly)

"While Professor Schnabel modestly claims merely to bring some of the benefits of the last one hundred years of New Testament and Greco-Roman sociological insights to Roland Allen's work, he does so much more. Here is the new textbook for mission methodology. While technically limited to Paul, Schnabel covers the vital topics: goals, message, methods. The missions classroom has long needed this resource. Current and aspiring missionaries will benefit from what this scholar/missionary/teacher has to say." (E. Randolph Richards, dean, School of Ministry, Palm Beach Atlantic University)

"Following his landmark volume Early Christian Mission, Schnabel has written an equally useful volume on the missionary work, message and method of the apostle Paul. This work will prove invaluable to all serious students of Scripture and in particular to all missionary practitioners. A former missionary to the Philippines, Schnabel brings to this task the mind of a first-rate New Testament scholar and the heart of a disciple committed to help fulfill the Great Commission. Fittingly, the volume is dedicated to Peter O'Brien, who has likewise contributed significantly to the scholarly exploration of the Pauline mission. Highly recommended!" (Andreas J. Köstenberger, founder of BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS®, editor of Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and professor of New Testament and director of Ph.D. studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)

About the Author

Eckhard J. Schnabel (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He has taught previously at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, Illinois), Freie Theologische Akademie (Giessen, Germany), Wiedenest Bible College (Bergneustadt, Germany) and Asian Theological Seminary (Manila, Philippines). His books include Early Christian Mission (volumes 1 & 2) and Der erste Brief des Paulus an die Korinther, and he is the author of numerous articles, including "Luke" (with David W. Pao) in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament and contributions in InterVarsity Press's Dictionary of Paul and His Letters and Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 518 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (November 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830828877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830828876
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By George P. Wood VINE VOICE on February 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Eckhard J. Schnabel, Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2008). $32.00, 518 pages.

As a pastor, I am constantly in danger of getting so caught up in the maintenance of my church that I forget its mission. To avoid this danger, I read widely in theology, biblical commentary, and spirituality rather than in leadership and management. Leadership and management are important disciplines, of course--spiritual gifts, even. But American society is so permeated by consumerist assumptions and management techniques that pastors must be wary lest in their stewardship of the church, they become conformed to the world rather than transformed by the renewal of their minds.

The renewal of pastoral minds, and through them the renewal of the church, requires focused attention on Scripture. What does it say about the mission of the church? How should the church go about accomplishing that mission? In Early Christian Mission (2 Volume Set), Eckhard J. Schnabel set out to study the theology and praxis of Christian as it is portrayed in the literature of the New Testament. Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods narrows its focus to see what can be learned about Christian mission from the career and theology of the Apostle Paul. This entails a close reading of Paul's missionary journeys in Acts as well as of his thirteen canonical letters.
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Format: Paperback
Schnabel, professor of New Testment at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, presents a distinctive and thorough treatment of the Apostle Paul by focusing on Paul as a missionary. There can be no doubt that keeping Paul's missionary motivations in mind helps illumine Paul's thinking and writing, and furthermore, that investigating the way Paul carried himself as a missionary has bearing on what it means to be a Christian and more specifically a missionary in our twenty-first-century context.

Relying heavily on what must be an even more exhaustive treatment in his two-volume Early Christian Mission, Schnabel first sets out to describe the mission Paul undertook (dividing Paul's "travels" into fifteen different "periods" of mission), the task he set for himself (or maybe better, the task he saw himself as being given), and the message he preached. He then synthesizes this material in two chapters that discuss Paul's strategies and his methods for carrying out that mission. In the final chapter, he brings the study to bear on questions of mission in the current context, both in understanding why and how a church should grow and in what way current missionary endeavors should be informed by Paul.

I found the descriptive portions of the book to be informative, and though keeping track of fifteen "periods" of mission over Paul's career is cumbersome, it also helpfully breaks up the more traditional missionary "journeys" in a way that better reflects the reality of Paul's undertaking. Easily lost in the old scheme are the significant periods spent in various locations in sustained ministry, whether the two years in Ephesus or the six months in Athens, the sorts of durations that are more obscured than illumined when talking about "travels" or "journeys.
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Like Schnabel's two volume magnum opus Early Christian Mission, this book is loaded with sound exegesis of the salient Pauline texts. In a nutshell, the message of this book is that Paul didn't follow cleverly devised strategies or use rhetorical and emotional speaking techniques. He simply preached that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead, and he was willing to preach anywhere the Spirit led him. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 is a key text for Schnabel: Paul has become all things to all men so that by all possible means he might save some.

In the introduction, Paul defines mission or missions as the activity of a community of faith that tries to win people over to the content of their faith and to their way of life.

In chapter one, Schnabel discusses Paul's missionary work. Rather than the time tested division of Paul's work into four distinct missionary journies, Schnabel cogently argues for 15 distinct phases in Paul's ministry, beginning with his conversion and preaching in Damascus and ending with ministry in Spain (phase 14) and in Crete (phase 15). During this section, Schnabel argues that when Paul went into Arabia (Galatians 1), he wasn;t going there for training or preparation. He was going there to preach the gospel, though we have no record of thr result sof this ministry, or of any ministry that Paul did from 33 AD to about 42 AD, though we know he spent a number of years ministering at the church in Antioch before the fifth phase of his ministry in Antioch and his departure with Barnabas for Galatia, Lystra, and Cyprus.

The second chapter describes Paul's missionary task.
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