The Spirituality of Paul: Partnering with the Spirit in Everyday Life
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The Spirituality of Paul: Partnering with the Spirit in Everyday Life

Kregel Publications / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

In The Spirituality of Paul, Leslie T. Hardin helps Christians discover Paul's spiritual principles by answering these questions: What were Paul's spiritual disciplines? How did they help him? And how might they be applied to our lives?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0825444020
ISBN-13: 9780825444029

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  1. Kevin M Adams
    Orlando, FL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good book on Spiritual Formation
    April 5, 2017
    Kevin M Adams
    Orlando, FL
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Leslie Hardin's The Spirituality of Paul is in a sense a follow up to his book The Spirituality of Jesus. The book deals with spiritual formation and the work of the Spirit in making believers more like Christ. This discipleship of the Spirit is unpacked from Paul's writings and experiences in the New Testament.

    Hardin deals with the following topics in the book;

    Practice of the Spirit

    Devotion to Scripture

    Prayer

    Disciple-Making

    Proclaiming the Gospel

    Corporate Worship

    Holiness

    Spiritual Gifts

    Building One Another Up in the Faith

    Suffering

    Pauline Spirituality

    Each topic/chapter is dealt with from the perspective of Paul. Hardin unpacks the writing and routines of Paul as they relate to the various topics above.

    Hardin is blunt and honest in his grappling of these issues as he states "Paul frustrates me" and "often seems to contradict himself" (11). The first chapter expands on this frustration as Hardin wrestles with what "spiritual" means. He views "biblical spirituality as a practical partnership with the Spirit who is already at work (17) and aims to unpack this from the record and writings of Paul in the New Testament.

    One aspect of the book I really appreciated was Hardin's emphasis on saturating yourself with the Scripture. Hardin mentions that in Romans 9-11 alone Paul alludes to over 100 Scripture passages in the Old Testament. This illustrates his point that Paul was so steeped in the Scriptures that he oozed it. He didn't need to necessarily quote a verse to support some point, his point flowed from his Scripture saturated and Spirit filled life. Hardin lays out the phases of Scripture saturation that occur as disciples immerse themselves in the Word.

    Thinking about Scripture

    Thinking with Scripture

    Thinking from Scripture

    At this third stage, Thinking from Scripture, we begin to s"ee all of life through the lens of Scripture" (40).

    In the same chapter on Scripture, Hardin interacts with N.T. Wright and the New Perspectives on Paul movement in his discussion of "works and law". Hardin, with Wright, argue that Paul was referring to a "Jewish-style-holiness works" and with Wright, specifically referring to an "ethnic identity" (37).

    Hardin continues his though provoking analysis of Paul on the aforementioned topics throughout the book. Here are just a couple of my other takeaways.

    Though a great man of prayer (he's praying during conversion in Acts 9:11), saying more on the topic than just about any other topic, there are actually no prayers of Paul's recorded in Scripture. Though he prayed a lot, there is little evidence of him praying for temporal, daily comforts (Although he did pray to be relieved of the "thorn in his flesh" whatever that was.).

    Paul's modus operandi for training (disciple-making) was time on task (59).

    For Paul evangelism was about making disciples, not just winning converts. Paul's modus operandi was to stay in one place long enough (if possible) to convey the teaching of the Christian faith and lifestyle, not just proclaim the death of Jesus and move on (87).

    Regarding holiness, Hardin notes, God took the initiative. We've been made holy, worked over from the inside out in ways that we could never accomplish on our own. Our response to God's initiative is a life of holiness in gratitude (109).

    Of course there is much good material in the rest of the book as well including, thoughts on unity in the congregation, spiritual gifts and suffering.

    In all Hardin's book is a good read, a welcome additional to my library on spiritual formation and has several good gems in each chapter.

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.
  2. sheep23
    St. Charles, MO
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Paul's Spiritual LIfe
    March 19, 2017
    sheep23
    St. Charles, MO
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The Spirituality of Paul by Leslie T. Hardin

    Robust and dense argumentation, heavy theological jargon, and weighty social issues, are a few of the things that come to mind when we think of the apostle Paul. Yet, key to his development as a follower of Christ is his life in the Spirit, his spiritual life. Professor Leslie T. Hardin steps in with a book entitled The Spirituality of Paul: Partnering with the Spirit in Everyday Life, a work focused on the prayer, proclamation, and worship of Paul given to Christ.

    Leslie explores the context of prayer in the life of Paul by looking at his writings. In the writings of Paul, Leslie finds an enormous freedom in prayer that also looks at the kind of prayer that Paul called others to carry out. He writes, Paul will not prayer degenerate into simple asking, though, as if God were a spiritual vending machine. The language of thanksgiving is the most frequent of all the prayer vocabulary in Pauls epistles. (47) His prayers of thanks were for varied reasons, for converts, for the grace of God in Christ, and for challenges for his readers. Nevertheless, Pauls prayers ran the spectrum but were of an intense nature but not all the same. He used exalted language at times while using personal and more informal language for his close friends.

    Very concrete to Pauls mission and preaching is the central idea that Pauls descriptions of salvation are more corporate than individualistic, (95). Drawing on the rich stories of Abraham and the blessing of all nations through this patriarch, Paul saw Christs coming, dying, and rising as incorporating both Jews and Gentiles into one family of God. Where the rubber meets the road for Paul is his insistence that since there is a unity in the people of God, weekly gatherings are to be unified offerings and not replete with economic, social, and personal divisions (97). Although tight divisions remained as in Corinth and still do in our culture, Paul pushes back with a focus on the all unifying good news of Jesus Christ as the breaker of all that destroys unity.

    Thanks to Kregel Publications for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  3. PASTOR JIM GRAY
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Worth Consideration
    March 2, 2017
    PASTOR JIM GRAY
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The study of spirituality is not an easy one to grasp and define. Hardins work has some redeeming features on the subject. He sees Pauls spirituality as a practical partnership with God in which Paul becomes more Christlike. Spirituality is made up of nine disciplines:

    The two main elements are

    Prayer

    Evangelism

    In addition, they are;

    Disciple making

    Corporate worship

    Studying the Word of God

    Holiness

    Caring and building up of other believers

    Spiritual gifts to edify the body (i.e. The church)

    Perseverance during suffering.

    All of these elements are important and should be considered, although they do not carry the same weight.

    His views are colored by the New Perspective of Paul which he has clearly bought into. Yet, the book has merit to aid in thinking on spirituality. The author seems to write on Pauls personal view, but omits any strong doctrinal viewpoint. I would consider this work more subjective, than objective. The book overall is creditable for consideration. As to readability, I struggled at times. However, it is worth reading and should be considered by those who are studying the subject.

    I received this book free from the publisher to review. It did not have to be 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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