Living for the Glory of God ~ Vivir para la Gloria de Dios

Why I Love the Apostle Paul ~ A Book Review

Centuries later, our Lord continues to utilize Paul to impact lives. By preserving His word through Paul’s hand we have both teachings of doctrine and Christlikeness combined with the testimony of a lifestyle to match. As a result, centuries later God is still using Paul to influence people today in a way that is enduring. For that reason, Paul is well-embraced by Christians today and John Piper shares his own reasons for loving Paul in his upcoming book, Why I Love the Apostle Paul: 30 Reasons. John Piper is well-known for writings that are both weighty and functional and so readers will come into this book with expectations for the same. True to form, Piper is thorough, covering 30 reasons why he loves the Apostle Paul (in 30 chapters divided into seven parts). Each part is divided into various aspects of Paul and his influence, with Piper covering Paul’s personal life and sacrifice,  his sufferings, passion for people, which leads to his concern for others, and ultimately his commitment and teaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Utilizing his gift of words, John Piper conveys the heart of the Apostle Paul and how that heart is meaningful for us today. Each reason that he lays out is crafted with care combined with scriptural citations to support his reasoning. Most importantly though, Piper conveys the depth of his love for Paul by appealing to Paul’s impact for God. It’s not so much a love just for Paul, but a love for God that is conveyed through Paul. Piper repeatedly uses Paul to draw readers’ attention and love to the God of Paul, not just Paul himself.  Readers should not expect this to be the same as his other books though. This particular book does not come with the same level of profundity as the author’s other books, especially for those who are familiar with the Apostle Paul. Instead, Piper appeals to the serious lessons he has taught in previous books to convey the depths of Paul. The real profundity comes in the fact that the author has taken time to see depth in what many of us have simply written off as routine and in doing so generates a love for Paul.  Additionally, this book is different because it is more personal. While there is always a personal element to Piper’s writings, this one is more intimate because he conveys how God’s words through Paul have spoken to his own personal struggles. It shows the practicality of Paul and our need for God’s words through the Apostle.  In many ways this book is reminiscent of Joseph Ellis’ work, American Sphinx. This is not because Paul and Thomas Jefferson are so similar, but instead because the authors utilize a unique approach. Ellis writes of Jefferson not to give a biography, but to capture the mindset of Jefferson and analyze his character. John Piper does something similar, not focusing merely on Paul’s personal history, but on his heart as it is inclined towards God.  If life is to be dictated by the question, “Does this glorify God?” (see my New Year’s post written here) then this book’s value must be analyzed by answering the same question. John Piper himself has had a great impact for the kingdom of God by pointing others towards God’s glory and he is no different here. While fixating on Paul, he does so in a way that causes readers to consider who God is and not only love Paul, but love God. I am not going to say this is a must-read book like some of his other works, but it is certainly one that is worthwhile for those who desire to know more about Paul.

To pre-order a copy of Why I Love the Apostle Pauli, click here.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced in any way by the author, publisher, or any other person associated with this book and it is the direct result of my reading of it.

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