Rediscovering Paul: An Introduction to His World, Letters, and Theology
By David B. Capes, Rodney Reeves, and E. Randolph Richards
Reviewed by Clint Walker
This is a second edition of Rediscovering Paul, a book that is most often used as a textbook. Well loved by thinking evangelicals across the country, it is also a great read for a pastor or lay person who wants an introduction to a systematic treatment of Paul.
This second edition of this book is quite timely, as several people have been following N.T. Wright and James Dunn's lead with their rather deep and lengthy studies released in recent years, and so there has been a brighter light placed on Pauline Studies int he last few years.
As the subtitle indicates, this book seeks to put the leadership of the Apostle Paul in the Christian Church in context with his times and culture. Capes, Reeves and Richards do this by dedicating some portion of their book to addressing these concerns directly, but even as they begin to discuss Paul's letters, beliefs, spiritual life, and legacy they continue to contextualize the life and teachings of the Apostle Paul. You really, at certain points, get a glimpse into what it would be like to be a shopkeeper in Asia Minor, and the implications of being a new believer in Christ. It really is quite fascinating.
It approaches the biblical writings in the context of the places Paul ministered and the people he ministered with. So, we look at his letters as the letters he wrote before prison, and in prison. And we get to deal with the pastoral epistles in a little different way, as those are also addressed directly.
What I like about the book is the last chapter, which is the "so what does this mean to churches today?" chapter. I think in a lot of works that are more academic some of these things are discussed and implied indirectly, but I think that the author's willingness to engage how Paul may speak to the church today is enlightening.
This book is very easy to read. It would be a fun book to teach out of even in a local church.