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How To Like Paul Again

How To Like Paul Again
By Conrad Gempf
ISBN 978-1-78078-061-0
Reviewer: Pieter Lalleman

How to like Paul againAs the blurb says, Conrad Gempf loves Paul and thinks he is a genius. He admires his style, his insight and his clever way of arguing. And he manages to bring his enthusiasm across very well in this book which I can recommend without hesitation.

In the introductory part Gempf explains that the Bible was not written specifically for modern readers and that it is first and foremost a book about God.

When reading the letters in particular, we need to understand that they form one half of a conversation and are in no way pieces of systematic theology. To understand them, we need to discover why they were written and what was going on among the addressees.

These insights are then applied to Galatians, 1 Corinthians and Philemon respectively. Gempf engages the reader in the process of discovery, releasing his expert knowledge only gradually. Paul’s apparent inconsistencies are explained and the relevance of each letter for today becomes abundantly clear. At the end of each of the 15 chapters there are questions for study and reflection.

The word ‘again’ in the title can be confusing: Gempf, an American who teaches at LST, addresses Christians who have never liked Paul in the first place.

I would say that those who are less negative in their assessment of the apostle will also enjoy this book. It does not contain any references to other books, which makes me hope that Gempf himself will cover Paul’s other letters in future books.

The Revd Dr Pieter Lalleman is Acadamic Dean and Tutor of New Testament at Spurgeon's College

Baptist Times, 23/12/2013
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