Debates have raged for decades over the teachings of the apostle Paul. From John Piper and N.T Wright’s writing treatise and counter-treatise over the “New Perspective” to
complementarians and egalitarians arguing over what Paul meant when he taught on gender roles, there has been no shortage of ink spilled. Paul has been used to justify the most conservative and the most liberal positions within Christianity. Is it necessary to add one more entry-level book to the pile?
Ultimately, the reader will have to decide how to answer the question above. In 40 Questions About the Apostle Paul, authors Echevarria and Laird provide a high-level overview of
most of the issues surrounding Paul and his writings. The format of the 40 Questions series makes it very conducive to offering basic overviews of a given topic. In this, the authors succeed greatly. If you are looking for a conclusive analysis of the life of Paul, his family background, or his theological positions, you won’t find it here.
What 40 Questions About the Apostle Paul offers is a college or lay-level introduction to the life and writing of Paul. The book is divided into three sections, addressing Paul’s life,
writings, and theology. The section on the life of Paul contains minimal detail and supporting documentation, as so little is actually known about Paul and his life. The second and third sections offer much more for the beginning student and would serve as a jumping-off point for anyone who wants to better understand the debates surrounding Paul.
Overall, this book is helpful and will serve as a solid addition to the Pauline corpus. Like many of the books in this series, the reader needs to understand the purpose of the book to derive the most benefit. I received a free copy of this book from Kregel in exchange for an honest review.