Second Reformed Church

Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: "The Spirituality of Paul"

I received Leslie T. Hardin’s The Spirituality of Paul:  Partnering with the Spirit in Everyday Life and I’m not sure what I expected, but it was not the book I read.  I would rather title this book, Be Like Me:  Lessons in Obedience in the Life of Paul.
Hardin gives anecdotes about her upbringing amidst exploring the life and priorities of Paul.  She goes through readable chapters on devotion to the Scripture, prayer, disciple-making, proclamation of the Gospel, corporate worship, holiness, spiritual gifts, building one another up, and suffering.
I found this book to be a good introduction to Paul.  This would be a good book for a high school class or a freshman college/seminary course.  Harding stays with a simple presentation of what the Scripture says, but does not neglect to mention some of the major issues in higher critical thought – such as, how many Isaiahs are there?  Therefore, this is a book I would use with someone in a guided/discussion manner – I would not just hand this over and say, “Have at it” – this book needs to be discussed as one goes through it.
The one hesitation I have with the author is in her discussion of suffering.  She makes it clear that her experience was one of being told that if one suffered, it was punishment for sin – which, of course, is not always the case – and that’s the problem.
Hardin writes, “It is not [God’s] desire to crush me and cause me to suffer” (165).  If I give her the benefit of the doubt and read this as though she is arguing against a capricious God, well, alright, but it is not clear.  If she is saying God never causes suffering or death due to sin, then I must disagree.  God is free not to show mercy.
This, again, is one of the reason this is a book I would recommend using with someone, rather than just giving it to someone.  It is a good introduction to Paul, but discussion and Bible reading will make it a stronger and more useful work.
[This review appears on my blog and on  I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.]

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