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Paul, Apostle of the Free Spirit Paperback – 1 Feb 1981

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Product details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Paternoster Press (1 Feb. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0853643083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0853643081
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 714,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The outcome is a very readable and well-ordered volume which combines a biographical sketch of Paul, an introduction to his writings and an outline of his theology in one integrated whole." -- Theology "Clarity, profundity, good documentation and common sense abound ... has flashes of insight or erudition on practically every page." -- Church Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

F.F. Bruce (1910--1990) was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England. He wrote more than forty commentaries and other widely used books, including Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, The Acts of the Apostles, The Gospel of John, and The Message of the New Testament. He served as general editor of The New International Commentary on the New Testament from 1962 to 1990. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KudzaIshe on 28 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Lovely book which sets the ancient world alight with great descriptions and vivid explanations. Lovely and well written. Great for bible students.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mick C on 2 Jan. 2014
Format: Unknown Binding
Simply brilliant. An excellent resource for this studying the epistles of Paul. Detailed, interesting and informative.
Great for Sermon preparation and Bible Study.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been able to use this book in preparing essays, and have found it very readable and easy to refer to
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 59 reviews
103 of 105 people found the following review helpful
The quintessential book on Paul 31 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is head and shoulders above all other Paul books I've ever read. The quantity of information that Dr. Bruce covers is massive, yet he does it in a very understandable and well organized fashion. I cannot imagine a more well-written book on the topic of Paul.
Bruce includes a tremendous amount of historical background in order for the reader to better comprehend who Paul was, and why he lived and acted the way he did. I especially enjoyed Bruce's theory on the development of Paul as a person throughout his life. Many people forget about all of the events in Paul's life and how those events would change a man.
I honestly cannot think of anything negative to say about this book. If you want to know more about Paul (and early Christianity), then I can think of no better starting point than right here.
92 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Excellent portrayal of all aspects of the apostle Paul 30 July 2001
By Brian Gamel - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the only book written exclusively about Paul that I have read and the only one that I think I will for quite some time. When I began my search for a good biography of the life of the apostle Paul I spent many hours sifting through editorial reviews all claiming strong accolades for each book I ran across. I eventually bought this one if nothing else than lack of desire to find "the one." Ironically, I think I did.
Bruce's portrayal of Paul is full and complete, covering the span of his life as well as the history, culture and geography of its setting. Each chapter is neatly categorized under numbered main ideas while still expounding a full thesis throughout. The design, as well as the content, of the book is superb.
I was concerned that I would not be able to find a book on Paul that combined both literary criticism and scholarship with a moderate to conservative outlook on Christianity in general. My concerns vanished after the first few chapters and I began to see the scope of Bruce's writing. Perhaps the most gripping aspect of the book is Bruce's ability to present Paul as a real person instead of merely an iconoclastic image of a legend. By combining both scholarship and straightforward hermenuetics the apostle springs to life as a threefold person, for Paul was a man of heart, mind and action and no element is neglected at the expense of the other. The reader is allowed to glimpse at Paul's personality as an audaucious and perhaps blunt individual who nevertheless is steadfast in his determination to complete the mission given to him by the risen Christ. Paul's heart is clearly seen in his interaction with is fledgling congregations while his mind is picked at for the tremendous ideas and thought he developed that affected the rest of christendom.
In short, I was more than satisfied enough with this book that I have found no need for another for a while. I would recommend this book to conservative evangelicals looking for an adequate description of Paul's life, thought and activity.
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Welcome to the world of the chief apostle 16 Dec. 2000
By E. Johnson - Published on
Format: Paperback
If ever there was a complete work of the apostle Paul, this is it. And it is written by no less an expert than one of the 20th century's foremost Christian scholars, F.F. Bruce. Now that it's in paperback, every Christian ought to examine it for himself. The problem is, we're such a light-hearted fictional society (yes, I'm talking about us Christians) that many might never touch this book with a 10-foot pole. There's not enough plot to it, I can hear someone say. (Are you kidding? Who could have lived any fuller a life than Paul? He was the MAN!) In addition, another possible complaint could be that it's not written in an easy-flowing biographical style. True, but at the same time, this is not an impossible book for the average layperson to understand. That's why the publisher has made it available in paperback.
Let me say, if you consider yourself a person who loves the Word of God, a book like this will only enhance your study. It takes us from the beginning of Saul/Paul's life and opposition to the Way all the way to his imprisonments and death, with an emphasis on the apostle's theology. In effect, Bruce gives us the complete context to help us understand the situations that caused Paul to write the way he did. You will want to have your Bible nearby when you read it. Another valuable tool in this book is its index. This book could be used when carefully studying Acts or one of Paul's epistles. The background information the book provides what is probably more valuable than a set of NT commentaries. While the book can be either read or just utilized as a resource, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best single work on Paul that I have ever seen.
48 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Free 25 April 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book, Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, written by the evangelical, conservative biblical scholar, F. F. Bruce, is a summary study of the life of Paul. Bruce writes from a conspicuous learned background, yet his voice is elegant, discernible, and vivid. A book like this is the yearning of every student of biblical studies, particularly those with moderate to conservative beliefs and not always in agreement with the liberal, school of history approach taken by other books of this genre. Bruce is concise, comprehensive, and enjoyable. The book is a collection of writings by Bruce, some from as early as 1969, while much Bruce apparently wrote new when publishing the book in 1977. He ties them together very well, with only a minimum of repetition. One exception is the often repetitious analysis of Paul's Roman citizenship and it significance. Some chapters at first disappointed me with the shallow treatment of a topic, but I was usually relieved when finding a more fully developed examination of the same topic in a later chapter.Bruce relies heavily on the book of Acts, whose historical value, in characteristic conservative fashion, he generally accepts unquestionably.
One objection I have to Bruce is that he does not allow for a Hellenized Paul. Bruce argues firmly the Paul was a "Hebrew born of Hebrews." On page 43, and 127, Bruce argues that Paul's Judaism was free from Hellenistic influence, from which Paul had been sheltered since childhood. Several other studies have shown that Judaism, and particularly Pharisaism, was significantly influenced by Hellenism during the second temple period, despite their attempts to resist it. The Greek language and traditions were hybridized with local cultural environments. The effect of this influence can be seen in the vocabulary, concepts, metaphors, and cultic acts from the Greeks which appear in much of the New Testament. How could a person such as Paul, who was born in a Greek-speaking city, educated in and communicated in Greek, pretend to be uninfluenced by Hellenism? Similarly, Bruce often refers to Christ as Jesus of Nazareth; on page 56, he says that Jesus "emerged from obscurity of his home in Nazareth." On page 47, he calls him "A visitor from Galilee." I sense that his emphasis is that Nazareth, and all of Galilee, was thought of as the rural backwoods of Palestine, a view that has come under recent challenge. If Bruce sees Paul without Hellenistic influence, he surely does not allow for a Hellenized Christ. But new excavations at Sepphoris and Tiberius portray a different picture of first century Galilee, one that is far more cosmopolitan and Hellenized. Bruce puts great emphasis on Paul's Pharisaism and the importance of the Pharisee in first century Palestine. The power and influence of the Pharisees on Judaism during the time of Paul is not as clear as Bruce infers. Josephus, himself a Pharisee and predisposed to bias, tells us little of them from the start of Herod's rule until the revolt in 66 C.E. Pharisaic practice and beliefs of were, until recently, based on view that Pharisaism dominated pre-70 C.E. Judaism, and that post-70 C.E. rabbinic literature accuracy reflected the earlier practices.
I feel Bruce does not emphasize as much as he should the conflict between Paul and James the Righteous, brother of Jesus. I do not feel the antagonism between Paul's "Gentile Mission" and James' "the Jerusalem Church" is adequately covered. Acts may not tell the whole story about these relations; more from Pseudoclementines on this subject would have been welcomed. Overall, I feel this book is admirable. It is a good treatment of Paul's life and work. I especially like the early chapters on the historical background of the world in which Paul lived. I found Bruce's occasional criticism of Bultmann's views throughout the book interesting, and wished Bultmann was alive to rebut them. I enjoyed the subtle humor, it made the book more readable.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Wow, this book is great 3 July 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm about half way thru this book. It is filled with info you need to know: the history of the early church; Roman politics, laws; what the Sanhedrin could/could not do; political/theological battles between the Pharisee and the Saducees; politics of Stephens death; theological dilemma of Paul (pre Damascus) if Jesus was the Messiah yet was crucified/hung on a tree; development of the early Christian theology. Every page has something intensely interesting to we Christians. Really makes Acts come alive. Really helps illuminate some of Paul's writings when you understand what was going on at the time and why he was defending himself at times. Exciting, interesting, keep your bible open and be ready for an adventure.
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