Every volume I’ve encountered in this Biblical Theology of the New Testament (BTNT) series has been excellent. As much, or maybe more, than the others this volume by Pauline scholar Douglas Moo shows expert handling. You wonder if there are absolutely no issues however minute that Moo doesn’t know all about involving Paul. Having written major, and I might add well received, commentaries on Romans, Galatians, Colossians, and Philemon, who could have been better positioned to write this work? As he relates in the preface, he worked on this project over 15 years. It was bound to be good and it is.
When I first picked up this volume, my thought was that it seemed to be laid out differently than the others in the series. The design appeared pedestrian and early on he relayed that he felt more comfortable in the trees than in the forest, that he enjoyed exegeting a text more than taking these big-picture views. Naturally, I lowered my expectations…until I read far enough to realize that he had misled me. The design was perfect because of the excellent work he did within it. Further, I felt he took me high enough to get a clearer forest view than I had. He knew every ditch that scholarship had run into, but he stayed on the highway. He wrote as one of whom Paul’s writings had pierced his heart after filling his head. Are we so jaded these days that we have forgotten just how much that can elevate a work like this one?
I enjoyed chapter 2 on the shape of Paul’s thought. In fact, it well illustrates what I said above. He sifted so much of the scholarly refuse to blaze a straight path to the mountain top. Along the way, you saw his honesty too. He had occasional small deviations to the normal conclusions of the bunch he runs with, but he seemed bound to tell where his studies took him. Let’s call it refreshing.
After that chapter you are better equipped to traverse his discussion of Paul’s life and ministry. After that, he takes each Pauline epistle in turn. You will feel in the hands of a master throughout. It is not a commentary, but has as much awareness as found in one.
Part 3 backs up and talks about the collective theology that you’ve already been collecting in the book to that point. Read enough to get his concept of the “New Realm”. It really unifies his entire presentation. Taking the three parts of this book together is somewhat akin to looking at Paul through a prism. Paul’s lofty contribution is key to our faith and worthy of such a grand view. This book provides such a view in a way that few ever have.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Others in the series: