Michael F. Bird’s “A Bird’s -Eye View of Paul” was written for the common man to understand Paul’s theology. With just the minimum jargon, Bird gives an overview of who Paul was and what he proclaimed. Without going into technical details, he gives perspective by concisely mentioning the different views on various issues. Here is a theologian who writes for God’s people, not fellow academics. In the first chapter, he quoted Scot McKnight, a theologian whose blog I used to read:
“Paul’s theology is not systematics; instead, he is grasped best when at least the following seven Pauline principles are kept on the table as we proceed through his letters.
First, the gospel is the grace of God in revealing Jesus as Messiah and Lord for everyone who believes;
second, everyone stands behind one of the twin heads of humanity, Adam and Christ;
third, Jesus Christ is the centre stage, and it is participation in Him that transfers a person from the Adam line to the Christ line;
fourth, the church is the body of Christ on earth;
fifth, (salvation-)history does not begin with Moses but with Abraham and the promise God gave to him, and finds its crucial turning point in Jesus christ – but will run its course until the consummation in the glorious Lordship of Christ over all;
sixth, Christian behaviour is determined by the Holy Spirit, not the Torah;
seventh, Paul is an apostle and not a philosopher or systematic theologian.
These principles spring into action when Paul meets his various threats(circumcision, wisdom, gifts, works of Torah, ethnocentrism, flesh, rival leaders, and eschatological fights about the Parousia or the general resurrection)”.
(Extract from Scot McKnight in Jesus and His Death: Historiography, the Historical Jesus, and the Atonement Theory)
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