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The cover to this image was taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

At the time I bought The Gospel According to Paul, I was particularly enamored by that apostle (he is called one though he was untimely born and isn’t one of the 12). I still love his epistles and his story; I only give that information to explain why I bought that book.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read it (Sept. 7, 2018). I don’t honestly remember too much. I was perhaps being unfair because I wanted the same fulfillment I get from reading one of Paul’s epistles, and it’s pretty unfair to expect that. I do know that it covers some of the constants in Paul’s writings.

The Gospel belongs to God. I assume the clarification here has something to do with Paul’s use of “my gospel.” He does this the same way us Navy folks say “my ship” or “my command.” We’re taught in the Navy to take ownership. This is to build a person to care or defend things like they’re his own. MacArthur clears that up.

Then there is that thing Paul does so well, which is (and this is my paraphrase here) the summary of how and why we are saved. Faith over works. The death and resurrection of Christ is our sole hope for salvation.

I’m positive there was more, but this study just didn’t hold me the way others from MacArthur do. I could read 12 Ordinary Men 100 times and still be satisfied. Perhaps part of the reason this story doesn’t resonate with me is I’d studied Paul’s works a lot before reading it, so the material just wasn’t particularly enlightening. Please know that I don’t mean this to imply I know everything about Paul and the Gospel. That’s not my intent at all. What I mean is that I was pretty familiar with the terms and concepts MacArthur covered, so I didn’t get that really cool jolt a person gets when particularly difficult passages or concepts finally click.

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Image of Dr. MacArthur taken from his web site for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

I’d recommend this to anyone not familiar with the Biblical explanation of salvation. This would also be particularly interesting if you’re curious about Paul, but another reason this didn’t meet my expectations is that I truly wanted to study the man  more. If anyone is aware of a good, historically-based, biography on Paul is, I’d be interested in reading it.

None of this is a nock on the book or MacArthur. I just had to note what I thought it was (a biography of Paul with narratives that demonstrate his representation of the Gospel) with what it actually was (a simple study of how Paul taught the Gospel.)

It’s still an interesting story and a great addition to MacArthur’s bibliography.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Gospel According to Paul by John MacArthur

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