AUTHOR: Leslie Hardin
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2016, (192 pages).
- Evangelism and Proclamation
- Corporate Worship
- Caring for one another / Building up other believers
- Spiritual gifts
- Perseverance under suffering
Each chapter begins with a familiar phrase from one of Paul's epistles. Instead of going deep into any one epistle per chapter, Hardin strings together common themes from all of the letters, tying Old Testament themes together with New Testament teachings. Understanding Paul also requires the historical traditions of old, his Judaism upbringing, ethnic identity, and personal details. Paul's prayer is filled with wisdom and biblical principles. It is also personal and relational. He disciples people from all walks of life, both Jews and Gentiles. He uses his writings to disciple others which could instruct us on how we communicate and disciple others in this technological era. He was always looking for someone to disciple. Paul's understanding of worship goes beyond meeting in a physical place toward offering his life as a testimony of worship. He participates in services both in public places as well as private homes. Paul's understanding of holiness is not about a list of do's and don'ts. It is a set of principles based on exposition of the Ten Commandments. Hardin does a good job in telling the story of Paul's spiritual life through these nine disciplines. It is a systematic exposition of Paul's personal life. After breaking down the nine spiritual disciplines, Hardin attempts to integrate them back together through the six marks of Paul's spirituality. They are:
- He is faithful to Scripture
- He is an imitator of Christ
- He lives in freedom and in grace
- He glorifies Jesus
- He is committed to unity
- He is a spiritual man
Recently, there has been a spate of interest on the life of Paul. Many of them describe his life either through individual epistles or some historical quest like the Jesus quest. The scholar NT Wright has also written a lot on Paul which deserves a wider audience. That said, not many deal directly with the spirituality of Paul, which is where this book fills a gap. Learning the way Paul works through the various spiritual disciplines may be more relevant for those of us who want another way to approach spirituality. Many have written about the spirituality of Jesus and how great Jesus is. Some may prefer to learn from His disciples instead, for whatever reasons. By learning from the ways of Paul, we are given an alternative model toward Christlikeness.
Leslie Hardin is Professor of New Testament at Florida Christian College. He has been a pastor for over 15 years.
Rating: 4.25 stars of 5.
This book has been provided courtesy of Kregel Academic without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.