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The Apostle : A Life of Paul

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  657 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews

The Acclaimed Biography of the Early Church's Greatest Evangelist--the Apostle Paul.Master storyteller John Pollock makes Paul and his amazing story freshly alive, so that you can know the greatest apostle much as Luke and Timothy did as they traveled with him. As you turn the pages, you'll sense Paul's motives, his aims and priorities; what mattered to him; and what he wa

Published January 1st 1996 by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (first published January 1st 1969)
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Andrew Mcneill
Mar 27, 2013 Andrew Mcneill rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography of the Apostle Paul which is scrupulously accurate and detailed. It does a remarkably good job at helping the reader see the life-setting of the epistles. Paul comes to life through the pages, and although Pollock is at times a little quick to label Paul's decisions as mistakes, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Thurman Faison
Jul 21, 2014 Thurman Faison rated it it was amazing
Mr. Pollock gives us an intriguing look at the Apostle Paul through a most interesting historical unfolding of his life: through personal experiences, and through the exhibition of his unconquerable faith in Christ. The author helps us to better understand the writings of Paul from the perspective of what he was going through in his personal life, and his interactions with his companions and the various congregations of believers he helped to establish. You get a deeper look into his motives, ...more
Keenan Johnston
Aug 19, 2016 Keenan Johnston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Johnny Cash biography led me to an interest in Saint Paul. Cash - with all his contradictions - found a lot of comfort in the scriptures. David was an adulterer; Moses was a murderer; Jacob was a cheater; and Paul was a persecutor of Christians. If God had time for these flawed characters, Cash believed God had time for him too despite all his highs and lows.

This perspective of the founders of Catholicism as flawed human beings was something that I've never considered. Though not one of the
Alicia Ruggieri
Though this book had a bit of a slow start for me, I cannot express adequately how glad I am that I persevered! Polluck brings together all of the information on the Apostle Paul from the New Testament and supplements it with extra-biblical source material (including primary and secondary sources). The author also uses his tremendous grasp of NT Greek to expand on the nuances of some of Paul's words. For anyone like me - who has long tried to piece together the details of Paul's life with his ...more
Anish Vargese
Nov 01, 2016 Anish Vargese rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Faith Revealed

I found this biography helpful in understanding the teaching of Paul. It provided context that then allowed the words to hold greater meaning.

A good read for anyone interested in the Truth of Christ Jesus.
Jan 05, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
Pollock’s biography tells the story of Paul from his participation in the stoning of Stephen as described in the seventh chapter of Acts to his final imprisonment and execution in Rome in 67 A.D. In his preface, Pollock explains his reason for writing a biography on Paul:

“One of the most frequently mentioned figures in history, whose writings are read by millions every day, is little known to this generation as a person. The name of Saint Paul the Apostle is familiar to all Christians, to most J
Feb 21, 2016 Glen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superbly written book that narrates the life and writings of the Apostle Paul in an accessible and captivating way. The author has a depth touch at combining sound research, scriptural citations and theological insights without defeating the purpose of a biographical sketch void of academic citations.

As a Bible teacher, this book provided great continuity between the individual missiological challenges Paul faced and how life situations influenced his strategy/writings. Pollock does an admirab
Aug 06, 2016 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, bible
The five-star review is a composite of four stars for the accomplished biographer John Pollock and six stars for St. Paul. Prior to reading this book, I had thought of Paul the most most people probably do: as the author of half the New Testament. But, other than a few of the major biographical details - early life as a pharisee, conversion on the Damascus Road, other highlights from Acts - I hadn't spent much time thinking about the life of St. Paul.

This biography filled in many holes and gave
Steve Gilbert
May 08, 2013 Steve Gilbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am typically wary of biographies of Bible characters. They are often written by pastors who seem to be the life story to teach life lessons. That is why this one has so impressed me. This was written as a biography with the reader to draw life principles. Using scripture and historical research, the author does a fantastic job sharing the story of Paul. What surprised me was the few times that Paul did not seem to practice what he preached. This helped to show that Paul was just a normal man ...more
Patty Suiter
Jul 30, 2016 Patty Suiter rated it it was amazing
A fascinating biography of Apostle Paul. I have always been interested in Paul's life and how he became who he was from where he started. I've picked up the major details in the Bible but still I was not getting whole picture.
I read previews from several biographies but found that many of them had quotes from this book by John Pollock.
I love the way Pollock took me from beginning to end. Most of his reference is from the Bible, but many details are added based on other historical facts and assum
Lynn Meinders
Mar 11, 2016 Lynn Meinders rated it really liked it
Wow! This read like a novel. It wore me out in places. It made me realize how much I do not know about this critical person in the Christian church and brought to light so many connections for me. It was challenging to keep with the names of cities and the names of people and the sheer detail. Pollack does state where there is not hard evidence for what he writes, but he explains to my satisfaction why he is presuming these things. About 2/3 in I wanted to quit. It was so difficult to hear about ...more
A history that reads like a novel

John Pollock tells the story of the life of Paul the apostle in this well written and thoroughly researched biography. Biblically based, this book tells not only the story from scripture, but adds extra canonical resources to fill in many of the gaps not recorded by Luke. Pollock is comfortable quoting Suetonius or Tacitus in addition to the Bible. He also speculates when appropriate to do so.

I don't always agree with Pollock. For instance, I assert that the epis
This is a long audiobook about the life of the Apostle Paul that fills in all the gaps that the New Testament leaves out. By this I mean all the cultural and historical details. I enjoyed these bits far more than the biblical re-telling, which I know quite well and don't find very interesting these days. I've come away from this audio thinking a lot better of Paul, as I used to think that he was a real chauvinist. I must admit that I struggled with the narrator's voice, as there was not enough ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Danielle rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, religion
This book was interesting. I haven't really been able to get into Paul's letters in the Bible, but I have been interested in his life since he is such an important person. This book made his work very compelling--and I gained a respect for him that I didn't have before. A lot of this book is conjecture, but it still felt well researched. The author seems to be using the Bible as a primary source and several other historical documents to fill in the gaps and flesh out some of the events.

If you do
Jeremy Barker
Jan 03, 2013 Jeremy Barker rated it really liked it
It was a very enjoyable way to read about the life of Paul. It is helpful to see someone piece together some of the backstory of what was going on in Paul's life, his relationship to the churches, his ambitions and desires. All of those are expressed in subtle ways throughout his writings and this book brought those aspects to the forefront and used them to inform the reading of the text.

Though certainly there are some interpretative decisions made by the author in regards to details that are u
Listening to audiobook version; waited about 4-5 months to receive it via digital library (WI).

There were some great nuggets in this read such as happiness comes from giving instead of receiving; Paul worked (like the scriptures say, you don't work you don't eat) and still did ministry not relying on others to pay his way...he only sought their gratitude. Most pastors sadly today rely on people's tithing and offering for their pay.

Leisure read 2014
Adrienna Turner, Author of "The Day Begins with
Jan 20, 2016 Brad rated it liked it
This book was a surprising find. What I didn't see value in at first, I found to be helpful in the end. I knew about Paul's life from the Bible, but I didn't really know and understand the background of his life. This gave me a context in which to place the stories and books of the Bible which he wrote. With a fuller context comes greater understanding. Now I can read the writings of Paul with a richer, and deeper, understanding than just the surface-level understanding I had before. It does ...more
P. Steven
May 20, 2012 P. Steven rated it really liked it
After going through Pollock's book and using it in a college course that I have been teaching, I recommend it without any objections. I respect the opinions of those that feel that the author takes too many liberties with facts, but Pollock admits when he takes such potential contrivances in his notes. As one that has been cover to cover through the scriptures nearly 40 times since '95, Pollock has delivered a work of integrity that fills in the blanks and details. I give him an "A-" on a nearly ...more
Ian Rees
Mar 04, 2013 Ian Rees rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I was expecting a novel, so was surprised to find it was a biography, but it was no less interesting because of that. Pollock stitches together the details of Paul's life from his letters and the book of Acts, filling it it with historic information from a wide range of other sources, both ancient and more recent. So we end up with a comprehensive picture of life in the first century and of what it was like for the early Christian church, as well as an in-depth portrayal of the apostle himself ...more
Jul 01, 2016 Curtis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
The biographer sets out to offer a historically accurate account of the apostle Paul's life using all of the available sources and stories written about him. It was a fascinating listen and I would highly recommend it. While I questioned the motives the author attributed to Paul in certain instances and wondered how the story would have played out from alternate perspectives I am grateful for an account that grounds the writings of Paul within a story. It brought his writings to life and ...more
Brian Eshleman
Oct 15, 2014 Brian Eshleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The biographer stitched together biblical insights about Paul with his own knowledge of historical context for a very valuable read. Want to know how Paul would have been trained? Want to know what was culturally normal in the Corinth or Thessalonica he was writing to? This is your book. The author manages to keep a textured narrative going without rampant speculation filling in the gaps. When he isn't sure, he says so. When there are alternate explanations, he is willing to admit it. And yet ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first grabbed this Kindle download, I mistakenly thought it was a historical novelization of Paul's life. As such, I was not prepared for the rather dry read of a biography. I gradually grew to appreciate the extensive research of the biographer; however, and little by little didn't notice that it was lacking dialog. This was a fascinating interweaving of biblical and other sources of the day surrounding a significant figure in the New Testament church. It would make a wonderful companion ...more
I loved this biography of the Apostle Paul. Most of the story I recognized from reading Acts and Paul's epistles. However, the author tied events and messages together in a way that gave me a new appreciation of this great apostle. He even pointed out how Paul matured spiritually through the years, so the later epistles were more powerful than the early ones. I highly recommend this to anyone to get a new perspective on the life of the man who wrote so much of the New Testament.
Russell Tucker
Sep 30, 2013 Russell Tucker rated it liked it
Taken as a whole this is a beautiful and moving biography of a remarkable man of faith, daring and intellect. I did struggle to wade through some of the middle sections of the biography as they were light on narrative movement. Getting through those chapters was worth the effort though. I've found Paul's testimony and missionary zeal inspiring in new ways because of the big picture that this biography offers. We'll worth a read.
Barri Bryan
Aug 31, 2012 Barri Bryan rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book. Using research and imagination, John Pollock
tells the story of The Apostle Paul's life from, as Saul of Tarsus,how he persecuted Christians, to his conversion as one 'born out of season' to his martyr's death.
As I read, Paul's journeys became very real to me, as did his faith and his dedication.
I came away with a greater appreciation for this man and all those early believers who suffered and died to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Tom Park
Nov 06, 2012 Tom Park rated it it was amazing
Having read the Bible several times and even studying the book of Acts and many of Paul's letters, this book gave everything a fresh outlook. The author staid true to the scriptures, but added a great deal of information concerning the time of Paul. It is not a quick read. I found myself reading and then putting the book down to think about it. It had become a part of my permanent library, since I expect to return to it many times.
Jean Reese
Apr 30, 2016 Jean Reese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Apostle Paul

I was so drawn into this book on The life of Paul that I could not put it down. The author drew me in and captivated me with the story of Paul, his life and ministry. I felt like I "was there" along on the journey. I felt his struggles, his pain, his joys and at last, his triumph home going to be with the Lord Jesus Christ who he served. I recommend this book to all Christians, and all who love Paul. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
Mary Dulaney
Dec 31, 2015 Mary Dulaney rated it it was amazing
Based on the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of Paul, and contemporary sources, the author brings Paul to life from the time he first appears to hold the cloaks of those who were to kill Stephen to the end of his life in Rome. While some incidents are deductions from evidence, the author shows how events probably happened and at the same time, gives the reader an insight into the mind and heart of Paul that was changed forever on the road to Damascus.
Deanna Peshl
Very informative and it helped fill in holes with Paul the apostles life. Now when I read the Bible I will have an enhanced understanding of his writings and letters.
In the biographical sense, it sometimes was difficult to thread the story of his life. Im sure that was a challenge for the author. At times it was hard for me to get into it. Normally it doesn't take me that long to finish a book but this time it did.
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“Disgust at idols strengthened his love for idolaters, and the man who once held Gentile neighbors at a distance now listened to their problems, fears, and temptations.” 2 likes
“His joy was a release of Paul's conversion, not the heavy backslapping practical-joking humor of the Victorians, nor the cynical satire or the flippancy of the twenty first century mass media, just the gift of not taking himself or his adversaries too seriously.” 1 likes
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