The Life, Letters & Theology of Paul

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Order of Contents  40+

Life & Letters of Paul
.      Best  7
.      More  30
The Theology of Paul  12+
Speeches of Paul  1
Authenticity of Paul’s Letters  3
Archaeology & Geography Related to Paul  8
Quotes on Paul
The Companions of Paul  3

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The Best on the Life & Letters of Paul  

See also ‘The Theology of Paul‘, which works usually have information on Paul’s life & letters, as well as Introductions to the New Testament, the Epistles, and the Epistles of Paul, on our New Testament Background page.

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Simple, Devotional & Practical

Stalker, James – Life of St. Paul  1884  in Hand-Books for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte

Stalker was a minister in the United Free Church of Scotland and is generally conservative.

“An ideal work for laymen.” – Cyril J. Barber

Whyte, Alexander

The Apostle Paul  1903  230 pp.  These chapters were originally in his Bible Characters

“Eloquent, discerning studies by a great Scottish preacher of a generation past.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Intermediate

1800’s

Conybeare, W.J. & Howson, J.S. – People’s Edition: The Life and Epistles of St. Paul  1869  This edition, which was originally planned by the authors, is a less technical abridgment of the original work below.

See Spurgeon’s remarks below.

“Excellent background material on the life of the apostle Paul coupled with a valiant attempt to fit the events of the Book of Acts and the epistles into a chronological framework.  First published more than a century ago (1852) but still worth consulting.” – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

Robertson, A.T. – Epochs in the Life of Paul: a Study of Development in St. Paul’s Career  1913  358 pp.

“A clear, well-outlined study of the development of Paul’s thought and ministry.” – Cyril J. Barber

Machen, John Gresham – The Origin of Paul’s Religion  1925  345 pp.

Chapter 4 specifically defends that Paul’s theology was an unfolding of that of Jesus, as opposed to the liberal assertion that Jesus and Paul’s theology are contrary to each other.

“Consists of the James Sprunt Lectures, Union Theological Seminary, Virginia.  Surveys the early years of Paul’s life, his Jewish environment, religious training, and the development of his doctrine.  A valuable treatment.  Amillennial.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

Conybeare, W.J. & Howson, J.S. – The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, vol. 1, 2

***  “Far superior to any other work on the subject.  It stands like some o’ertopping Alp, a marvel among Scriptural biographies.  We have not space to mention Howson’s minor works [provided below] connected with Paul, but they are all good.”

Lewin, Thomas – The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, vol. 1, 2

***  “Dr. Gloag in his Commentary on the Acts says: ‘Two works are especially instructive, and deserve careful perusal.  The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, by Lewin, and the classical work on the same subject by Conybeare and Howson.  In the former the historical connections of the Acts are chiefly stated, and in the latter its geographical relations.” – Spurgeon

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More on the Life & Letters of Paul

See also ‘The Theology of Paul‘, which works usually have information on Paul’s life & letters, as well as Introductions to the New Testament, the Epistles, and the Epistles of Paul, on our New Testament Background page.

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Practical & Devotional

Taylor, William – Paul the Missionary  1882  605 pp.

“Popular messages which deserve serious study.” – Cyril J. Barber

Meyer, F.B. – Paul: A Servant of Jesus Christ  1897  210 pp.

Meyer (1847–1929) was an English, baptist pastor who wrote numerous, very good devotional works.

“A brief, devotional study of Paul’s life and labors.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Intermediate

1800’s

Binney, Thomas – St. Paul: his Life and Ministry, to the End of his Third Missionary Journey  1870

**  “Mr. Binney says, ‘This work is strictly an outline of the life of St. Paul and it is nothing more.’  It is a capital preparation for reading Lewin and Conybeare and Howson.” – Spurgeon

Blunt, Henry – Lectures upon the History of St. Paul  1835  24 Lectures

**  “Printed in such large and widely-leaded type that a very little matter goes a long way.  Very good, but not striking.” – Spurgeon

Goodwin, Frank – A Harmony of the Life of St. Paul according to the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline Epistles  1895  230 pp.

The Harmony consists solely of quotes from relevant scriptures from the KJV, sometimes put side-by-side in columns, as in a typical Harmony of the Life of Christ, but here in the chronological order of Paul’s life.  The necessity of the harmony stems from details given of Paul’s life, otherwise scattered across his letters.  Here they are helpfully put together and harmonized.

“This book is designed as a handbook for students.  It is called a Harmony, as I have endeavored to blend the history of Paul’s life as given in The Acts of the Apostles with selections form the Pauline Epistles…  The Harmony covers primarily the life of St. Paul, and therefore the dogmatic and ethical portions of his writings are generally omitted, that, in so short a handbook, the story of his life may not be lost in his theology.” – The Introduction

Howson, John S. 

The Metaphors of St. Paul

“Four studies based upon the NT Scriptures and centering in the metaphors used of or about Roman soldiers, classical architecture, ancient agriculture, and the Grecian games.” – Cyril J. Barber

“…We have not space to mention Howson’s minor works connected with Paul, but they are all good.” – Spurgeon

The Character of St. Paul, 5 Lectures

Evidential Conclusions from the Four Greater Epistles of St. Paul  48 pp.

Scenes from the Life of St. Paul and their Religious Lessons  244 pp.

Iverach, James – St. Paul: his Life and Times  1890  230 pp.

Iverach was a professor in the Free Church of Scotland.

“A brief historical treatment.” – Cyril J. Barber

MacDuff, J.R. – The Footsteps of St. Paul, being the Life and Times of the Apostle  1855

“A verbose, but very picturesque account of the life of the celebrated Apostle to the Gentiles.” – Cyril J. Barber

Rivington, Francis – The Life and Writings of St. Paul  1874

**  “Nobody possessing Conybeare and Howson will need this work, though in the absence of better this would have been serviceable.” – Spurgeon

Smith, Thornley – Saul of Tarsus: The Pharisee, the Convert, the Apostle and the Martyr  1861

**  “Thornley Smith always deserves attentive reading.” – Spurgeon

Tate, James – The Horae Paulinae of William Paley Carried out and Illustrated in a Continuous History of the Apostolic Labors and Writings of St. Paul, on the Basis of the Acts  1840

Paley’s ‘Horae Paulinae’, which this work expands, is below under ‘The Authenticity of Paul’s Latters’.

**  “Though not commentaries, the three works just mentioned are sources of information not to be neglected by the student of Acts.” – Spurgeon

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1900’s

Moffatt, James – Paul and Paulinism  1910  90 pp.

Moffatt was a liberal.

“A short, but important study.” – Cyril J. Barber

Ramsay, William M. – The Teaching of Paul in Terms of the Present Day  1913  475 pp.

Ramsay was a conservative.

“Deals with the thought of the apostle, his Areopagus address, his relationship to the mystery religions, his conversion and imprisonment, and the date of the Galatian error.” – Cyril J. Barber

Hayes, Doremus Almy – Paul and his Epistles  1915

“Contains a helpful analysis of Paul’s life and thought as found in his epistles, and a mine of homiletic information for pastors.” – Cyril J. Barber

Goodspeed, Edgar Johnson – Paul: an Outline Bible Study Course  1922  90 pp.

“Makes use of all the critical data current at the time, and provides an intensely interesting, highly readable, and captivating account of Paul’s voyages and journeys, letters and followers.” – Cyril J. Barber

Foakes-Jackson, F.J. – The Life of St. Paul  Buy  1927

Foakes was a professor of Church history at Cambridge and Union Theological Seminary, New York.

“An important, popular treatment explicating the development of Paul’s theology.” – Cyril J. Barber

Shepard, John Watson – The Life and Letters of St. Paul  Buy  1950

“An exegetical study which makes use of both grammatical and historical data and provides a lucid, adequate explanation of each of the Pauline Epistles.” – Cyril J. Barber

Miller, Donald G. – Conqueror in Chains: A Story of the Apostle Paul  Buy  1951  Westminster Press (liberal)

“A dramatic and deeply moving account of Paul’s life. Survey’s his journeys, discourses, trials, shipwreck and imprisonments.” – Cyril J. Barber

White, Reginald Ernest Oscar – Apostle Extraordinary: A Modern Portrait of St. Paul  Buy  1962

“A clear, concise interpretation of Paul’s life and ministry which ably combines historical and exegetical, theological and devotional emphases.” – Cyril J. Barber

Wiles, Maurice F. – The Divine Apostle  Buy  1967

“An able and persuasive defense of the value of the early Patristic teaching on the life of Paul.” – Cyril J. Barber

Ogg, George – The Odyssey of Paul  Buy  1968

“An invaluable study of the chronology of the life of Paul.  Corrects the chronological deficiencies found in Conybeare and Howson and other earlier treatments of Paul’s itinerant ministry.” – Cyril J. Barber

Longenecker, Richard Norman – Ministry and Message of Paul  Buy  1971

“A clear and concise introduction to the ministry and message of St. Paul.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

1800’s

Farrar, F.W. – The Early Days of Christianity  1882  690 pp.

Farrar (1831–1903) was a liberal, but the work was a precedent in its field.

Ramsay, William

Pauline and Other Studies in Early Christian History  1906  485 pp.

Ramsay (1851–1939) was a Scottish archeologist, New Testament scholar and the foremost authority in his day on Asia Minor.  After a lifetime of research, from initially being skeptical of the early Church history recorded in Acts, he came to the conclusion that:

“it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement…”  

“You may press the words of Luke [who wrote Acts] in a degree beyond any other historian’s and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment…”

“…these essays deal with a wide variety of NT themes.  Of particular interest are his chapters on “The Statesmanship of Paul,” “The Worship of the Virgin Mary at Ephesus,” “The Authorship of the Acts,” and “Pauline Chronology.” – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

Smith, David – The Life and Letters of St. Paul  1919  740 pp.

Smith was a liberal.

“A monumental work which combines readability and scholarship with accuracy and a vivid portrayal of the historical events surrounding the ministry of the apostle.  Thorough, and still of value today.” – Cyril J. Barber

Moe, Olaf Edvard – The Apostle Paul: his Life and Work  Buy  1950/1968   reprinted in the Twin Brooks Series

“First appeared in German in 1923… Comprehensive in scope and fully abreast of the major criticisms leveled against the apostle.” – Cyril J. Barber

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The Theology of Paul

The Theology of Paul  12+

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The Speeches of Paul

Eadie, John – Paul, the Preacher, or a Popular and Practical Exposition of his Discourses and Speeches as Recorded in the Acts

***  “Designed to give ordinary readers a juster and fuller conception of the doctrine and life-work of the apostle.  An able work.” – Spurgeon

“A series of popular expositions of Paul’s discourses and speeches contained in The Acts.” – Cyril J. Barber

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On the Genuineness of Paul’s Letters

Lathrop, Joseph – Introductory Sermon on the Evidences of the Gospel, and the Genuineness of Paul’s Epistles  19 pp.  The memoir of the author was written by William Sprague

Lyttelton, George, Lord – Observations on the Conversion and Apostleship of St. Paul, in a Letter to Gilbert West  1747  120 pp.

*  “Gilbert West and his friend Lord Lyttleton, both men of acknowledged talents, had imbibed the principles of infidelity from a superficial view of the Scriptures.  Fully persuaded that the Bible was an imposture, they were determined to expose the cheat.  Mr. West chose the Resurrection of Christ, and Lord Lyttleton the Conversion of St. Paul, for the subject of hostile criticism.  Both sat down to their respective tasks, full of prejudice, and a contempt for Christianity.  The result of their separate attempts was that they were both converted by their endeavors to overthrow the truth of Christianity!  The came together, not as they expected, to exult over an imposture exposed to ridicule, but to lament their folly, and to congratulate each other on their joint conviction, that the Bible was the Word of God.  Their able inquiries have furnished two most valuable treatises in favor of revelation; one, entitled ‘Observations on the Conversion of St. Paul,’ and the other ‘Observations on the Resurrection of Christ.'” – Spurgeon

Paley, William – Horae Paulinae, or the Truth of the Scripture History of St. Paul Evinced, by a Comparison of the Epistles which Bear his Name with the Acts of the Apostles and with One Another  1790

**  “Though not commentaries, the three works just mentioned are sources of information not to be neglected by the student of Acts.” – Spurgeon

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Archaeology & Geography Related to Paul

Popular & Practical

MacDuff, J.R. – St. Paul in Rome, or, the Teachings, Fellowships and Dying Testimony of the great Apostle  1871

**  “Sermons preached in Rome, into which are ably introduced eloquent mention of the existing traditions and remains which associate the Apostle with that great city.” – Spurgeon

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Intermediate

Morton, Henry Canova Vollam – In the Steps of St. Paul  Buy  1963

“An eye-witness description of the writer’s travels as he followed the steps of the apostle Paul from his birthplace in Tarsus to the scene of his martyrdom in Rome.” – Cyril J. Barber

Kelso, James Leon – An Archaeologist Follows the Apostle Paul  Buy  1970

“A picturesque account of Paul’s life and ministry ably supplemented by archaeological information.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

Ramsay, William M.

St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen  1894  390 pp.

Ramsay (1851–1939) was a Scottish archeologist, New Testament scholar and the foremost authority in his day on Asia Minor.  After a lifetime of research, from initially being skeptical of the early Church history recorded in Acts, he came to the conclusion that:

“it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement…”  

“You may press the words of Luke [who wrote Acts] in a degree beyond any other historian’s and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment…”

“Deals with the cities made famous by Paul.  Includes a chronology of early church history from A.D. 30-40, and a chapter on the composition of the Book of Acts.” – Cyril J. Barber

The Cities of St. Paul, their Influence on his Life and Thought  1907  500 pp.

The Historical Geography of Asia Minor  1890  550 pp.

“An old standard work.” – Cyril J. Barber

Studies in Asia Minor  72 pp.

Unnik, Willem Cornelis van – Tarsus or Jerusalem: the City of Paul’s Youth  Buy  1962

“A scholarly study of the place where Paul is supposed to have spent his youth.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Quotes on Paul

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

‘Just a Talker’, p. 18

“I look on the apostle Paul as the greatest genius that ever lived.”

“Paul, whose principle aim as a writer seems to be to unfold the whole unity of the divine plan.”

“I bless God for Paul.”

“Look at the zeal of the apostle Paul – the edge which he received has never a day blunted.”

“It is characteristic of the apostle Paul that, whatever be the subject of which he treats, he always finds his way easily to the cross, to Christ crucified.”

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The Companions of Paul

1800’s

Howson, John – The Companions of St. Paul  1883  305 pp.

“Twelve messages on lesser known NT characters.” – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

Lees, Harrington – St. Paul’s Friends  Buy  1917  being 12 expositions

Harrington was an Anglican Archbishop in Melbourne, Australia.

Redlich, E. Basil – St. Paul and his Companions  1913

“A study of Paul and his friends and helpers in the light of the history of Acts and the epistles. Contains some good ‘seed thoughts’ for sermons.” – Cyril J. Barber

Seekings, Herbert S. – The Men of the Pauline Circle  1914

“Deals first with the distinguished members of Paul’s company, then those who were obscure, thirdly with the officials whom he contacted during his ministry, and lastly with the unrecorded.  A suggestive work.” – Cyril J. Barber

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2000’s

Barber, Cyril J. – Come Before Winter: Profiles of Some of Paul’s Friends… and Some who were not  Preview  Buy  2008

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Related Pages

New Testament Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction

New Testament Commentaries

New Testament Theology

Whole Bible Commentaries