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Illustrated Life of Paul

B&H Academic / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

Except for the Lord Jesus himself, no person has been more influential in the history of the church than Saul of Tarsus. Paul's influence upon the early church's most cherished convictions is so clear and powerful that some scholars have dared to describe him as the founder of Christianity.

Paul had a greater impact on the formation of the Christian church than any other apostle. He wrote thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament so that nearly half of the New Testament documents bear his name. Although some of Paul's letters are brief compared to other New Testament books, his epistles compromise approximately one-fourth of the total volume of the New Testament.

Approximately sixteen chapters of the Book of Acts focus on Paul's persecution of the church, conversion, missionary labors, arrest and imprisonment. When these chapters are combined with Paul's letters, Paul may be recognized as the author or subject of nearly one-third of the New Testament. Paul was not only the most effective Christian missionary and church planter in history, but also the most significant and influential interpreter of Jesus' teachings and of the significance of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and return.

Illustrated Life of Paul introduces readers to this amazing man and his incredible story. It explains the background of each of Paul's letters and offers a summary of the beliefs of one of the keenest theological minds in the history of the church. All along, it enables the reader an opportunity to step into the world of Paul with over 150 photos, maps, illustrations, and charts.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 300
Vendor: B&H Academic
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 X 0.88 (inches)
ISBN: 0805494537
ISBN-13: 9780805494532
Availability: In Stock

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Author Bio

Charles L. Quarles (Ph.D., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is coauthor of The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament (with Andreas Köstenberger and Scott Kellum) and The Sermon on the Mount: Restoring Christ's Message to the Modern Church.


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  1. Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Okay, but I wasn't impressed
    February 9, 2016
    SnickerdoodleSarah
    Gender: female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    The Illustrated Life of Paul by Charles Quarles is, as the title demonstrates, an account of the life of Paul with illustrations (mainly photographs) of the places he is associated with, maps to give one a picture of where he went, and photographs of archaeological finds from Paul's era. For the most part, Quarles does a good job of sticking to the Biblical account, and I do not remember him questioning, or even hinting at doubting or questioning the Bible's accuracy in the least.

    But I have a few issues with this book. First, Quarles takes some liberties in imagining Paul's thoughts and feelings. Here is an example of his imaginative pictures: "Paul was happy to be back in Jerusalem. He had lived in Jerusalem longer than any other place. It still felt more like home to him than anywhere else. His sister's family lived there (Acts 23:15). He was thrilled to see her, her husband, and her children. His nephew was practically a grown man now. Where did the years go? Paul wondered. Paul had no regrets over the years he had invested in sharing the gospel around the world, but he did sometimes miss the joys of hearth and home, of watching his nieces and nephews grow, and of reminiscing with his sister about their childhood.when Paul looked into his sister's face, he still saw his father's eyes, and her smile was just like his mother's. Looking into her face always brought back a flood of memories." He doesn't give these imaginative scenes a lot, normally he just gives a straightforward account along with historical details, he includes a bit of speculation, but doesn't paint imaginative scenes like the one above, but that just makes his ventures into imaginative 'pictures' of Paul even more out of place and embarrassing.

    Second, and related to the above, the author makes statements in various places throughout the book that bothered me, speculating on why the Apostle's may have gone to such and such a city, or why they did such and such. When he was speaking of Paul in Athens he was commenting on the strategic advantage of getting people in that city to see the credibility of the Gospel, "If the gospel won acceptance in this intellectual center, it could no longer be dismissed as the fantasy of madmen. Instead, Christianity would be recognized as a reasonable faith accepted by some of the world's most brilliant thinkers." I really don't think that Paul's goal was to have the Gospel recognized as 'intellectually credible' by the brilliant thinkers of the day, rather I would assume, based on his writings that he would have expected the opposite, "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the discernment of the discerning will I bring to nought. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1Co 1:19-25)

    And third, among the illustrations of the book is at least one nude statue of a man (the 'god' Hermes). I don't need to know what the 'gods' of the day looked like, nor do I think that such illustrations are appropriate in a Christian book.

    Overall, I simply didn't 'love' the book, and I'm not exactly sure why. Perhaps because one could simply pick up the Bible and read Acts and Paul's epistles to learn about his life? I mean, technically speaking, it was Luke's biographical account of Paul that made it into the Bible, so who could really write a better biographical account? I have absolutely no problem with people writing biographical accounts of Biblical characters as long as they make sure to have the Bible as the primary and most authoritative source of their information, and Quarles does a pretty good job. it was okay and others may like it better. It does give interesting historical background information of the time.

    I really liked how Quarles ended the book, by encouraging a proper perspective of Paul as God's slave/servant, and that people should not admire the Apostle too much:, "Although those who study the life of the apostle cannot help but be moved by his faithfulness, inspired by his passion, and awed by his commitment they must not forget that Paul would blush, not with embarrassment but anger at such accolades. To those who would deify him, he would retort, 'Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you' (Acts 14:15). To those who would sing his praises, he would quickly reply, 'Was it Paul who was crucified for you? Or were you baptized in Paul's name?" (1 Cor 1:13).Although this book has attempted to help readers better know the mind and heart of the apostle Paul, Paul himself would insist that this was not the point.'For I didn't think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Cor 2:1-2) Know him, Paul would say. Know him.If knowing Paul stirs a yearning ot know the One for whom he suffered, the One whose name he proclaimed, the One for whom he died, then Paul lived and died well. (then he quotes Phil 1:20)."

    Many thanks to B&H/Lifeway blog review program for sending me a complimentary review copy of this book (My review did not have to be favorable)!
  2. Victorville, CA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A great resource to use with your Bible in studying the life of Paul!
    January 25, 2016
    Heart2Heart
    Victorville, CA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could find a Bible that was illustrated in such a way that it gave you a sense not only of what life may have been like, but what it looked like as well? We read of some many towns and cities in the Bible but unless you have a Bible map and a modern day map, it is hard to trace where the locations of those cities or towns might have been. The Illustrated Life of Paul by Charles L. Quarles does just that utilizing the letters that the apostle Paul wrote to many of the churches of the New Testament from the towns of Corinth, to Thessalonica, to even the cities of Ephesus and Smyrna.

    Except for the Lord Jesus Christ himself, no person has been more influential in the history of the church than Saul of Tarsus who would later be renamed Paul. Paul's influence upon the early church's most cherished convictions is so clear and powerful that scholars debate whether Paul is a mere follower of Jesus or the actual founder of Christianity. Paul himself settled that debate when he described Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of the church and the head of the church. Paul insisted that Jesus has preeminence in all things, in both the church he founded by his death and resurrection and the creation he fashioned by his indescribable power.

    Approximately sixteen chapters of the book of Acts focus on Paul's persecution of the church, his conversion, his missionary labors, and his arrest and imprisonment. Paul laid more bricks in the foundation of the church than any other apostle. He wrote thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. Nearly half of the New Testament documents bear his name. Although some of Paul's letters are brief compared to other New Testament books, his epistles comprise approximately 1/4 of the total volume of the New Testament. Paul's influence on the development of Christianity is without parallel. He was a highly effective Christian missionary and church planter and is a key interpreter of Jesus' life, death, resurrection and return. Except for Jesus of Nazareth, no man's life has been more fascinating. It truly does provide the reader more background detail about the cultures, the cities and towns as well as people surrounding the ministry of Paul along with some amazing photos throughout the books as each chapter is dedicated to a portion of Paul's life and travels along the way.

    I received Illustrated Life of Paul by Charles L. Quarles compliments of B and H Publishing Group for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation aside of a free copy of the book in exchange for my personal and honest evaluation. I love being able to take this book side by side with the Bible and get a truly visual perspective of what is happening either through the book of Acts or even in the time of one of Paul's letters. We know that there is more than went on and this background is key along with the photos to give the reader a broader view of the urgency of the letters for example or what was happening in the day as the church began to grow and at times get divisive. For me this makes a wonderful visual commentary to aid me in my daily Bible reading in regards to the life and ministry of Paul and thus rates a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. I would love to see these for all the books of the Bible!!! It makes it truly come to life in a more powerful way.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Illustrated Life Of Paul
    February 24, 2015
    W K Wiggins
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Outstanding read. Follows the Bible storyline very well. The translations from the KJV to modern English are true to the root meaning of the language of St Luke. The number of illustrations and the subjects chosen to illustrate do a great job of giving you a sense of familiarity with scenes and landscapes most often never seen by readers of the Bible worldwide. Overall, Charles L. Quarles "Illustrated Life Of Paul", presented a very familiar character, Paul of Tarsus, in a fresh new and informative way.
  4. West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    valuable resource
    August 18, 2014
    Jimmy Reagan
    West Union, OH
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Outside of Christ, whos life is most critical in the big picture of the New Testament? I imagine we would all answer the Apostle Paul. In that case, we will need a composite description of his life. For that need enter this fine volume by Mr. Quarles and published by B & H Pubplishing.

    There are several famous, yet thick scholarly volumes on the life of Paul, such as those by Conybeare and Howson, Farrar, Bruce, and Pohill, but perhaps this accessible volume will better serve most Bible students. It will definitely help to connect the Book of Acts with the Epistles of Paul in a most helpful way.

    The work is biographical and chronological and pleasantly fits in each Epistle to events of Pauls life. That really brings the text alive! We know something of Pauls hardships but seeing what he faced where it happened is even better. You will read what scourging for Jewish people was like as well as Roman flogging. His details on life in a Roman prison were more horrifying than I ever thought.

    The first chapters on Pauls earlier days filled in many blanks for me. Explaining the routes, either sea or land, that Paul traveled made sense of many biblical statements. All in all, there is much helpful information and Mr. Quarles writes well.

    The only suggestion I would offer is a comprehensive chart relating his

    life and the Epistles.

    The visual aspect of the book is icing on the cake. The pictures are outstanding as are the maps that may look familiar if you have the well-done Holman Atlas of the Bible. This is a valuable resource!

    I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
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