Good things come in small sizes – or so they say. That’s definitely true of Guy Prentiss Waters' ‘Life and Theology of Paul’. Published by the Reformation Trust, a division of Ligonier Ministries, Guy’s summary of Paul’s theology is as good as it gets. Dr. Waters is the James Baird Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.
For those who were forced to write essays in school and university, we will know that it is often hard to preserve the sacred literary balance between being precise and being comprehensive. Anyone, given time and resources, could write a huge tome on Paul’s theology. It takes a genius, who genuinely understands his subject and has carefully selected every word he has used, to produce a 124 page compendium of the heart of New Testament theology.
‘The Life and Theology of Paul’ is, at its most basic level, a study of the major themes of Romans 1-8 (it doesn’t tell you that on the back page, but that is what it is). After a 3 chapter introduction, its emphases rest on sin, justification and sanctification, the latter two being framed under the foundation of Union with Christ. Every chapter concludes with a short section called, ‘Lessons for Today’ which helps us understand how these life-changing doctrines can change our lives today. Anyone who can understand Vos’s Pauline Eschatology and explain it in words which the normal man can understand is worthy of our respect. Waters does this admirably.
You might think you are being short-changed in buying this relatively short book. Not at all! Every paragraph is pregnant with potential for further study. Water’s language is aimed at a mid-range level of understanding which means that all of us can benefit from studying a chapter a day in our own devotions. If you are a minister searching for subject matter for that next sermon series, ‘The Life and Theology of Paul’ will give you the energy of a fox in a hen coop. Knowing Dr. Waters as I do, he would want me to tell you to rush out and buy a copy to keep him in fancy bow ties; but the real reason you should buy it is that it will increase your understanding of the central themes of our redemption in Jesus Christ and fill your heart with worship. To quote him, ‘never look outside of Jesus Christ ... everything we need for these matters of eternal consequence is bound up in the Saviour. And that is good news for sinners.’
This book is available to purchase from Amazon.
Colin Dow, Glasgow City Free Church