As a working and preaching pastor I face I dilemma. I want to keep up with the latest developments in biblical studies for my professional development but more importantly to help me get a deeper grasp on the meaning of Scripture for my own discipleship and to enrich and shape my preaching and teaching ministry. But the truth is that I don’t really have the time. My dilemma is actually twofold, not only do I not have time to keep up with everything that is published but the format of the material is all too often designed more for scholars than pastors.
All of that explains why I have really appreciated a book called PAUL DISTILLED by Gary Burnett because it has helped me with this dilemma. In this great little book Burnett, in a really accessible form, gives the average joe pastor or Christian like me, access to some of the best current (and past) thinking about the theology of the Apostle Paul. But its more than just a work of Pauline theology Burnett does a good job of connecting Paul’s thinking in relevant ways to contemporary culture (he loves using song lyrics as illustrations) and our experience of Christian spirituality.
Here are some of the academic works he quotes from:
- THE KING JESUS GOSPEL: Scot McKnight
- WHAT PAUL REALLY SAID: NT Wright
- THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD: NT Wright
- BECOMING THE GOSPEL. Michael Gorman
- PAUL, THE SPIRIT AND THE PEOPLE OF GOD: Gordon Fee
- SALVATION BY ALLIEGANCE ALONE: Matthew W Bates
Nearly all of these books have been on my Amazon wish list or on my bookshelves waiting to be read. Burnett has given me access to some of their key insights in an easily digestible form. I have particularly appreciated how he has drawn the connections between Paul’s teaching and the experiences of his first readers in the 1st century.
Here is a little taster from the chapter on the Gospel and you might recognize the work of people like NT Wright and Scot McKnight behind this quote.
Here is the table of contents just to whet your appetite for more
I am about halfway through and I know that this going to become one of my go-to resources when I come across these issues in passages I am going to be preaching on. So if you are pastor / preacher, small group leader or simple a disciple of Jesus, this is a book worth buying.