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The Four Distinct Viewpoints of the Apostle Paul

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Four Views on the Apostle Paul (the book) focuses on the four different viewpoints on reading and studying Apostle Paul. Every contributor is sympathetic to a specific, differing point perspective. These distinct views are compared to the views of the other contributors. The four perspectives include the Jewish perspective, Post-New Perspective, the Reformed Perspective, and the Catholic Perspective.[1] Does the book consider Paul's specific questions, such as what Paul's thoughts were concerning salvation or Christ's significance? How does one describe the perspective of Paul from a theological standpoint? What kind of church did Paul envision?[2]

There are four contributors: Thomas R. Schreiner, Luke Timothy Johnson, Douglas Campbell, and Mark D. Nanos.[3] Both Schreiner and Johnson hold a degree in philosophy, while Mr. Campbell is a professor and Mr. Nanos is a Scholar-in-Residence at Rockhurst University. Mr. Schreiner, when it comes to Apostle Paul theology, is an expert. Mr. Timothy attempts to appeal to Catholic-focused scholars that recognize that medieval interpretation of the scriptures is essential. Interestingly, he is a former priest and monk. Nanos specializes in Jewish/Christian in nature, and he felt that Paul was an apostate representing Jewish Roots and that Paul is the leading advocate for the Torah. Campbell has a more selective approach, as he is more focused on issues of ethnic origins that have to do with the Christian versus Jewish identities.

Mr. Schreiner focused on the Apostle Paul's Reformed aspect, while Mr. Johnson focused on the Catholic side. Mr. Campbell argued the Post-New Perspective, while Mr. Nanos set his sights on the Jewish view portrayed within the writings and personage of Apostle Paul. Let us look at the question of the church's vision, according to Paul.[4] The Baptist perspective would say that unity, with harmony, will occur when all the nations reconcile with God. (Ephesians 2:11 - 3:13)[5]. The Catholic view believes that Israel is to hold fast to its heritage of religious roots and harbor a unique identity from the rest of the world. Nanos believes that Paul focused more on good relations with those who believed and were not Jewish. Paul did practice the traditions of the church as it was known before. He kept the Lord's supper, songs, and even baptism, and therefore, reinterpreted the Torah.

The Apostle Paul was an essential character when it comes to Christian belief. Paul's writings are heavily interpreted in different ways, mostly regarding a theology of Christianity. The book is necessary because it blends crucial dialogue in a theological world and uses these perspectives to discover Paul through a hermeneutical lens. Ultimately, Paul was a figure of pure controversy. He was flogged, thrown in prison, stoned, and mercilessly beaten without being subversive, offensive, or controversial. All four contributors can agree that Paul helped mold the early church in a significant way. The Gentiles had a chance to become saved through their faith and without having to perform Jewish customs. This was revolutionary. The book blends older, traditional concepts with perspectives to leave one with much theological food for thought.

Bird, Michael F, and Thomas R Schreiner. Four Views on the Apostle Paul. Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 2012.

Tyndale. Holy Bible: Inspire Bible NLT. Tyndale House Publishers, 2016.

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[1] Michael F Bird and Thomas R Schreiner, Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 2012).

[2] Michael F Bird and Thomas R Schreiner, Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 2012).

[3] Michael F Bird and Thomas R Schreiner, Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 2012).

[4] Michael F Bird and Thomas R Schreiner, Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Grand Rapids, Mi: Zondervan, 2012).

[5] Tyndale, Holy Bible: Inspire Bible NLT. (Tyndale House Publishers, 2016).

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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