Paul Behaving Badly: A Fun Read to Prepare You to Defend St. Paul

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This was such a fun read! Paul Behaving Badly takes on the task of looking at all of the accusations leveled against this major New Testament figure. Was he racist? Was he sexist? Was he a kill-joy? Was he a homophobe?

Each chapter gives a presentation of the case against him and then explains, using mainly history, who Paul really was. All of these accusations have some truth and some bias behind them. This book is apparently the most recent in a series that included the books God Behaving Badly and Jesus Behaving Badly. The authors admit right off the bat that their job is a completely different ball of wax as Paul was a historical human being, nothing more and nothing less.

The historical Paul they reach is the best we can formulate right now using scholarship. A living, breathing human being, who you may or may not want in your parish. The book is a very quick, light read where you’ll learn without realizing you’re doing it. It is a good book for people looking to defend Paul in today’s world.

Although it was written by Evangelical Christian pastors for an Evangelical Christian audience, I can testify as a Catholic scholar who has studied the Bible at a Catholic theological grad school (Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, MO) that what they say is in line with the best of scholarship. This book is definitely educational for Christians of all stripes. All Christians who want to know more about Paul and to be able to defend him needs to read this book.

This book is currently available at your favorite bookseller, including some places you wouldn’t expect (I saw it on Target.com). I got the opportunity to read it in exchange for an honest review through my membership in Netgalley and I promptly bought a copy for my armchair Biblical scholar father for Christmas. Thank you InterVarsity Press!

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