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Paul: An Outline of His Theology

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Now back in print in a beautiful new paperback edition, this study by one of Europes foremost New Testament scholars provides a comprehensive exposition of the teaching of the apostle Paul. / Firmly grounded in a careful exegesis of the biblical text and crafted with constant reference to the wealth of scholarly study of Pauls writings, this volume is a standard for interp ...more
Hardcover, 587 pages
Published August 1st 1975 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
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Challenging, but very rewarding. A treasure trove of insights into the apostle Paul, especially focusing on the centrality of Christ in all of Paul‘s preaching and theology.
Joshua Centanni
May 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
A slog to read straight through but highly recommended by all folks Reformed.

Will likely use in the future for delving into topical issues in Paul's epistles.
Jacob Aitken
This book was the godfather of soul in making the discipline of biblical theology both exciting and orthodox. Ridderbos correctly noted unifying themes in Paul and resisted the urge to comparmentlize Paul and treat him like a professor of Systematic Theology. Rather than offering a full review of each part of the book, I'll set forth some conclusions from the book:

1. When Christ came he inaugurated the new eschatological time of salvation, marking a new re-creation of the world via Christ's deat
Kelle Craft
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. A classic work! Ridderbos’ interactions with & critiques of the popular critical scholars like Bultmann, Schweitzer, Kasemann, et al. are very informed and the best volume on Paul’s theology available. Overall, he offers a robust defense of the historically Reformed understanding of Pauline theology. Although this was written before the New Perspective came into popular opinion, he does much to dispel the beginnings of this thinking in the air of his day.

On par with Vos’ Pauline Eschatology
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rts
A comprehensive and thorough overview of Paul's theology from the Epistles. I loved his redemptive-historical approach to Paul instead of purely ordo salutis framework with which most people approach Paul, myself included. Definitely will be a standard reference on all things Paul. Most insightful chapters were 3-6,11,12.
Jason Keel
May 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I had to read this book for a class, and it was a slog. Dense theological language, in depth analysis, and very dry writing. Was this a translation issue or just a writing issue? I can't tell. That said, there were gold nuggets aplenty in this tome that may prove helpful in pastoral ministry.
William Albers
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ridderbos is a heavyweight (I can only imagine what reading him in the original Dutch is like), but well, well worth it. I will be returning to this book as a reference for years to come.
John Yelverton
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty extraordinary work about the Apostle Paul and his teachings, perspectives, and overall theology. My only complaint is that Herman Ridderbos uses an unnecessary, verbose vocabulary which will send the reader scrambling for a dictionary on more than one occasion.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those theology books that you ought to read if you want to be a theologian. Ridderbos systematizes Paul, and that has real value for theology. It has some drawbacks, too, which I'll get to in a few paragraphs.

While I read this book from cover to cover over nearly four months (about 6 pages a day, resting on Sundays), the real value of the book is as a reference volume, and not one to read through. It isn't a commentary per se, but it helps you grasp what Paul was getting at topica
Let's be honest. This was a THICK book. Nearly 600 pages of dense, dutch reformed thinking on the doctrine of Paul in the new testament. And I didn't make it through.

I started this book because of a class I am taking on ItunesU, which calls the student to read chapter 3, but I grew ambitious enough to try and tackle the whole thing. I made it about 300 pages. Which, I believe, is a colossal feat!

My expectations of this book were fairly high due to the other book I read by Ridderbos, Redemptive H
Lu Tsun
The beginning chapter of Ridderbos' Paul: An Outline of His Theology is a very significant introduction in light he uncovers the various non-Christian philosophical influences and agenda behind multiple approaches to the Pauline studies where a "widespread group of interpreters, highly differentiated among themselves, who endeavor to understand the Pauline gospel in its original meaning and purport without subjecting its content to a previously determined hermeneutical principle" (p. 42).

Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We have large books that we lug around from home to home, office to office, taking up space. We know they're good--classics, even--and sooner or later we realize we should either read them or get rid of them (or both). This is one such book. I read a few pages a day in spare moments at work. It is the best Pauline Theology of the pre-NPP 20th century. In some ways it was nice to read a pre-NPP Pauline Theology (that's pre-New Perspective on Paul, by the way). But of course that doesn't make it a ...more
Scott Cox
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, theology
This is an excellent study of the great themes of the Apostle Paul in the Bible. The most profound chapters of this challenging book by Dr. Ridderbos were "The New Life" and "The New Obedience." These address the role of the law (God's law) in a believer's life. The following is an example of his teaching on 1 Cor.9:21, "This passage contains three elements in which the relationship of Christ and the law in its continuing significance is clearly expressed: (a) The law no longer has an unrestrict ...more
Aug 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About once a year I read the section on Fundamental Structures. It is enough to satisfy devotional needs, provide solid teaching material, and save me from the discouragement I get from the all too common one-dimensional approach that can only hear Paul teaching one thing - a personal-ethical justification by faith. This book is so much deeper and exegetical than typical Protestant reading of Paul. Ridderbos digs into Paul's theology without abandoning his creedal convictions. NT Wright said som ...more
Dec 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not read this book in its entirety, but have read a large section of it.

Ridderbos' work is a translation from Dutch and is sometimes hard to follow. This is partly due to the translation from Dutch to English (the translator did a fine job), but also because he deals with some weighty, complex issues.

This is probably a book that only a person interested in the study of Pauline literature will find any pleasure in reading. If you are interested in Pauline literature, it is an outstanding
Adam Ross
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Ridderbos is a fresh voice in theological studies, though his book is many years old. While dense reading like Vos, Ridderbos is pure Dutch Calvinism, with a solid understanding of Paul. Though his book is a systematic theology, he emphasizes many things most systematics do not - that Paul was a theologian of the Resurrection, that a, if not the, central theme of salvation is union with Christ in baptism, that salvation consists of accepting Christ as both savior and Lord, and his emphasis on gr ...more
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book is not for the faint of heart or serial first-chapter-only-reader. I nicknamed this the Encyclopedia Paultanicca (with the additional allusion to the Titanic intended). Ridderbos was a brilliant man, and his 'outline' of Pauline theology is incredibly helpful. For the non-academic, it does take a while to adjust to his writing style (get used to seven line sentences, for example), but this work is comprehensive in unpacking Paul's theology. I found the topical sections on marriage, ...more
Feb 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read while deployed. Extremely dense and a book I need to re-read. A very good overview of Paul, and it in no way limits the man, or his theological views. Christ created a new world through his death and resurrection, and Paul correctly identifies him as the second Adam who makes a propitiation for the Original Sin of the first Adam, and this is the bedrock of the Pauline writings. Additionally, we are called to be completely in Christ and live a dedicated life in Christ, ultimately being resur ...more
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The description offered here in Goodreads says it all. Ridderbos does an exceptional job outlining a comprehensive study on Paul's theology while defending the orthodox teachings that have recently been questioned. This is a dense and difficult book to read but the serious student will be blessed by its deep theological truths. I found myself stopping to worship at several points and highly recommend it to anyone willing to understand the simplicity of Christ's historical death and resurrection ...more
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is excellent, all-encompassing book comprehensively details the essence of Paul's theology. Translated from the German, it takes some work to unwind paragraph-long sentences, but it is well worth the effort. I only got through the first two chapters on the general structure of Paul's thought. It may take a summer off, or a seminary course to have time to finish it.
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Translated from Dutch, this is dense and solid material. Ridderbos is a great theologian, and his insights on Paul are immense. While conservative, he can match the brightest lights of the German liberal schools of thought on Paul especially his command of the relevant literature. Excellent stuff here.
Tyler Brown
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get it. This is a monumental work in Pauline theology. I love so much of what Ridderbos has to say and so many of his insights are breathtaking. All that being said, why is this beautiful doctrine so difficult to read? Because he's writing in another language and he's a Dutch scholar. Sure. But it makes it so much more inaccessible than it needs to be.

But I love him. So helpful.
One of the high achievements of the Reformed biblical theology movement. Though sometimes imperfectly translated (or perhaps unskillfully written) and sometimes counter-intuitively organized, this work deserves a significant place among the major twentieth-century studies of Paul.
Bryan McWhite
This is a classic. A powerful, compelling, thorough going Pauline theology that gets Paul right. A difficult read, but most highly recommended!
Michael Jones
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to go back to this book when I'm considering various passages in Paul. It's a very good book for starting my thinking in good directions as I'm preparing sermons.
Paul Jeon
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This "dated" work is still far more insightful and informative than more modern and seemingly exciting works. An annual read.
Jason Brubaker
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible in certain areas but overly nuanced in others. A "must have" book to complete your New Testament library.
Kingsley Layton
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romans-studies
A superb addition to understanding Paul and his theology. Don't skip on this one.
Sean McGowan
Great book. Dry and rich all at the same time!
Mark Trigsted
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seminary-rts
A Classic... Will come to him often...
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