Another Big Book on Paul? Bring It On!

Some thoughts from a fellow Pauline scholar on Douglas Moo’s eagerly awaited, comprehensive study of the apostle’s letters.

About a decade ago, I watched a YouTube video featuring New Testament theologian Anthony Thiselton. He was holding up one of his books (skip ahead to the 7:45 mark) and talking about how funny it is that he wrote a 1,500-page commentary on 1 Corinthians, which takes up about 13 pages in the Bible.

To most people outside the world of biblical studies, that does seem … extreme. But what can we say? Biblical scholars like Thiselton (and me) love to give careful and prolonged attention to all the details in Scripture.

Over the past few decades, the bulk of that attention seems to have been directed toward the life and writings of Paul. In 1998, James D. G. Dunn published his massive Theology of Paul the Apostle, weighing in at over 800 pages. Not to be outdone, 15 years later N. T. Wright produced double the size in his two-volume Paul and the Faithfulness of God.

As much as some might groan at the thought of reading (or reviewing!) a long book, many experts on Paul actually relish another opportunity to revisit the mystery and genius of the first and greatest Christian theologian. This describes the sense of anticipation with which I awaited a new study from Douglas J. Moo, A Theology of Paul and His Letters: The Gift of the New Realm in Christ.

General reflections

Moo is widely known for his work on Romans, articulating and defending a Reformed, evangelical interpretation for a new era. He has also written books on a wide range of New Testament topics such as eschatology, creation care, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, law and gospel, sin and salvation, and men and women in family and ministry. In my view, Moo shines brightest as a writer of biblical commentaries, having penned insightful studies on Romans, …

Continue reading…