The Psychology of Paul: A Fresh Look at His Life and Teaching
James R. Beck
Kregel Academic,
304 pages, $16.99

How could a zealous persecutor of the church be transformed into Christianity's greatest evangelist? Beck, a professor of counseling at Denver Seminary, examines one narrow band of Pauline thought, psychological studies of Paul's life and work, and one branch of that field, personality theory.

"We are now living in a post-Christian world and we need, perhaps more than ever, to look freshly at the teachings of Paul to know how to live in these uncharted waters," he writes.

Beck explores Paul's preconversion years, his conversion, and others' appraisals of Paul's personality. (Some depict Paul as conscientious, a man of profound faith, and healthy in his relationships. Others depict him as bigoted, arrogant, and hung up on sex).

Beck writes that the nature of Paul's thorn in the flesh is important, because Paul's suffering helped develop his theology of weakness.

Beck offers all Christians a chance to deepen their understanding of the Pauline letters and their application to contemporary life.

Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.

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