Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.75 shipping
Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ Paperback – October 28, 2011
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2017 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"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.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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. That's because Paul sounded like a fool to them." (loc. 406).
They questioned his teachings. There were plenty of factions and groups who thought their doctrine was superior to others. James and the Judaisers in Jerusalem questioned his Gentile disciples' rights. Paul spent much of his ministry collecting money for the famine-stricken church in Jerusalem (even though there were churches in Greece and Asia likely just as impoverished) likely to try and unite the factions, particularly Jew and Gentile, but scholars are divided as to whether Jerusalem even accepted Paul's gift.
"Paul saw every event in his life, every relationship he had, as opportunities to experience the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus." (loc. 95)
Paul saw Jesus several times in visions and appearances, but we forget he wasn't around Jesus to soak in his teachings while on earth. Yet, Paul's writings and life are such a fantastic reflection of what Jesus' life meant.
Reeves contrasts Paul's life with the American life-- we're constantly striving to avoid loss and gain security. We're also constantly trying to stand up for our rights.
"(I)f I spend most of my time protecting my interests and devote much of my energy trying to avoid loss, how will I ever gain Christ? For those of us who prize comfort, will we ever experience the crucified life?" (Loc. 335).
Christians are often quick to judge a person who they see in poor circumstances as "reaping what he (presumably) sowed" or as suffering due to some secret sin. Reeves reminds us that followers looked at Paul's (and Jesus'!) hardships the same way-- surely these were fools:
"(T)he cross should make us all reticent to declare who is cursed by God...There was nothing about him that looked like success. I can imagine Paul's converts saying, 'If that's what the cross does to a man, I'll try something else'" (Loc. 206 and 284).
Reeves expounds on Paul's teachings on marriage, fellowship (particularly the Lord's Supper), legalism, eschatology, and more than I can review here-- I highly recommend reading all of it. One example of a poignant question Dr. Reeves asks the modern church: Has today's church made "family" an idol? We're always reading about liberals' "war on the family" and that "adulthood means marriage; marriage means children." That's not supported by Paul at all, quite the opposite. Paul urged his disciples to love Christ more than anything, and marriage-- where you have to divide attention among the needs of spouse and children-- was to be avoided given the imminence of Christ's return:
(W)e often misunderstand (or completely ignore) his advice about marriage because we don't share Paul's eschatological outlook...Paul didn't write for posterity, believing one day his advice would become our Scripture. No, he wrote because he believed the time was short" (Loc. 1504 and 1700).
(Paul) presumes that a man will love Christ more than any woman. He thinks that women won't look for fulfillment in a man because they find everything they need in Christ...In our attempts to make Christian families ideal, we forgot our most important obligation: devotion to Christ (not the family) is what makes a man or a woman a Christian...As far as Paul was concerned, true love isn't found in marriage" (Loc. 1542, 1564, and 1587).
Reeves imagines what it would look like if Paul were doing marriage counseling. Husband and wife bring their grievances to his office and Paul responds with questions about their individual walks with Christ--the heart of the problem, but sadly missing from most books and counseling on marriage and communication.
In independent-minded America, we often believe we can be Christians by ourselves. That our denomination--our team-- is the "winner." That our sins only have private consequences. Paul's letters overwhelmingly paint the Church as a united family, what helps one is to help all-- what hurts one hurts all (most people never grasp that the "you" in Phil 1:6 is a plural noun). That's the overarching theme of the crucified life-- our old families, customs, beliefs, our rights to ourselves are crucified with Christ.
"He would encourage us to find a way to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others, even for those with whom we disagree. Paul would remind us that we can't be Christians by ourselves." (Loc. 2827).
This book is five stars.
"How can a man who lived 2,000 years ago possibly be relevant to me, a 21st century American Christian?"
"Surely Paul's writings are outdated. They lack in modern cultural significance."
"I try to read Paul, but it just doesn't make sense."
"Paul is so arrogant"
If these thoughts, or something similar, have ever crossed your mind I strongly recommend you read this book.
However, there was a definite negative! Those of us who live close to the Katrina situation object to his politicizing on something that he obviously had little or no first hand knowledge. New Orleans got a record amount of financial and other assistance -- even though their neighbors took a bigger hit. The book would have been taken more seriously and given more credibility if his politics had not entered early in the book. This is the second spiritual book I've read that an author has used as a politcal springboard -- which seems just out of place!