St. Paul the Apostle: The Right Man at the Right Time
by Irving L. Brittle, Jr.
Pen House

"Paul was purpose driven and had an ironclad, fearless, never wavering belief system."

After diligent study, author Brittle offers a thorough examination of the New Testament's Paul—the apostle who devoted much of his life to promulgating a spiritual path that would come to be called Christianity. The young Paul, originally named Saul after Israel's first king, grew up in Tarsus, a thriving industrial and academic center in Anatolia (Turkey). His Jewish parents were Roman citizens, an advantage for Paul in later life, allowing him certain legal protections. His early family life and schooling, as described here, would have been typical for devout Jews of his time. He was zealous in his calling to uphold Jewish law, weeding out and, when necessary, destroying heretical followers of Jesus. Brittle has painstakingly assembled the historical references that follow Paul through his youth, his conversion to Jesus the Messiah, and his establishment and encouragement of newly formed Christ-centered enclaves throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Brittle's engaging chronology reveals Paul's evolution: from his dramatic conversion to a broader realization of who Jesus was to his incremental codification of a religion based on Jesus' example. A man who once had scrupulously defended legalistic Judaism, Paul, as depicted here, was challenged by circumstance to ponder the necessity for such laws as circumcision and animal sacrifice. He was looked to, along with his companions, as an authority for this "completely new theology." Through Brittle's research, a dynamic portrait emerges: a man who cared for all, made no distinction between Gentiles and Jews, walked thousands of miles, and was often in danger or prison while accomplishing the mission he was called to. With study questions at the end of the chapters and a lengthy bibliography, Brittle's work will likely attract those interested in Paul and the early development of the Christian faith.

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