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Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  859 ratings  ·  51 reviews
This is a biography of Paul by one of the foremost Pauline scholars of our time. While Bruce's primary concern is to portray the life of the apostle Paul, he also examines the main themes of Paul's thought, set in their historical background and illustrated from his letters.
Published December 1st 1977 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (first published December 1st 1969)
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Matt Crawford
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A template for similar works. Everything you would want out of a study of this nature. Bruce’s work on the life of Paul is in-depth and a creative way to work through the life of the apostle. I admit at first I wondered how a book bigger than my Bible was going to go through half of half of the Bible. I anticipated fluff but Bruce leaves none. It seems like a novel where the city and monographs are characters themselves.
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biblical-studies
A traditional, conservative overview of the life and letters of the Apostle Paul. Bruce was a great scholar and this book, characterized by what you might call sanctified precision, contains a good number of deep, helpful observations.

One downside: Many of the chapters in this book were originally published as articles in journals and magazines. It reads much like the conglomaration that it is.

This is the textbook for "Life of Paul," a course I teach at Amarillo College in Amarillo, Texas.
Scott Ray
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful in-debth look at the Apostle Paul. It goes through his theology and his life folding them together in to a very well rounded look at him. Using his life as the bring in the letters at the times he would have written them. Then goes deep into the subjects that he writes about in each of the letters.

Also a very convicting book in that we see what someone who is completely sold out is willing to endure and do for the sake of the Gospel.
Victoria Downey
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruce gives a beautiful, theologically-heavy and extremely pertinent view on the inner-workings of Paul. It's a fascinating book about the Apostle who changed the course of human history, and Bruce has no fear explaining his faults as well as his strengths. Hundreds of sources are referenced, as well we great introductions to a variety of off-topics.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this one. Bruce covers the life of Paul from a historical viewpoint as can be determined from the pages of the Bible. Interspersed throughout the book are reviews of the letters attributed to Paul. He not only sets forth his own views but presents other arguments by scholars who do not share his opinions. Very good introduction to the life and works of Paul.
Jul 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A classic for any Pastor reading or studying Pauline Epistles. I read it in1985, and have gone back to it time and time again in my continuing studies of the PaulineEpistles
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still the best single volume book on the apostle Paul in the English language.
Sean Meade
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I happened to finish this book at the same time as I was also reading Allen's Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? and Bruce's The Book of the Acts. These three went together really well and helped to reinforce one another. Bruce is especially good at making connections between Acts and the Gospels (places where Jesus's experience was similar to Paul) and to Paul's letters. He also does a good job of writing about situations he thinks were reasonably likely (while still including the doubts) ...more
Danny Barulli
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pauline
Loved it. Bruce provides a lot of background information on the life of Paul. There is a lot of insight into his letters, the book of Acts and the culture of 1st century Greco-roman world. I read the original 1977 (Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit)
Jeannie Diggs
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is full of wonderful information about Paul, however, I found it somewhat hard to read. There were places where I found myself have to go back and re-read sections to really understand what was being said.
Caleb Walsh
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
good book about a top 5 human
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent for a better understanding of Paul
J. R.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pilgrim
Earlier chapters of this work give the student of scripture much more insight into Paul and his writing than later chapters, but the whole work is important for scholars to study.
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At a time when tweets pass as deep insight, it is refreshing to read F. F. Bruce, a scholar who immersed himself in Scripture and could expound on its theological significance in a broad historical context. His work on St. Paul provides valuable insight into his writings and the monumental impact they have had on mankind.

Paul’s conversion has been held up as one of greatest proofs of Christianity. A Jewish Pharisee who piously kept the law and zealously persecuted the early church, he was drama
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's almost ridiculous for the likes of me to give this book by a giant of New Testament studies anything less than five stars, but I do have my reasons. The book, of course, is quite excellent. It is a very thorough study of the life of the Apostle Paul, and for those of us who read Paul's writings for the spiritual instruction we can discern from them, Bruce presents the flesh-and-blood man who was inspired by God to write those works. This inspires a fresh appreciation for Paul.

For the most p
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
In this classic 1977 work, F. F. Bruce, a professor at the University of Manchester in England, conducts a magisterial tour through the life of the Apostle Paul. Bruce helpfully sets the stage for the reader by describing the political and social milieux of the Roman Empire of the first century CE, with specific attention to the Greek-speaking lands of the Hellenistic world, where Paul himself lived. Bruce then walks through Paul's life as recorded in the book of Acts. He offers detailed explora ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
So...when you write a book, particularly a historical book, it is very important to make it clear whether this is a book for laymen or a book for serious students of the subject. This book does not do that AT ALL. It goes back and forth between explaining the simplest of concepts in details and leaving very complex ideas open ended. There are several places where the author mentions Latin or Greek words without giving any sort of definition for them which makes the context of the sentence incomp ...more
Dec 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
F. F. Bruce is an amazing author. He blends theology, history, culture, and so many other aspects in such a way that one can easily begin to see the story behind the story of the Apostle Paul. His writing style is easy to follow, his language and logic are straightforward, and his research is excellent.

If you are interested in learning more about Scripture, the spread of the early church and Christianity, grab your Bible, this book, and a map, and get ready to have your understanding of Acts an
Thurman Faison
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is broad in it's scope and deep in it's spiritual emphasis. It covers the life of Paul from a historical perspective and also from a spiritual perspective. His 'Pharisees' mentality before his conversion is contrasted with his 'Personal' experience in the meaning of the redemption as revealed unto him by the risen Christ. The book is full of historical facts and loads of scripture from both the letters of Paul and from the Law and the Prophets. If you are interested in learning more ab ...more
Joshua Hernandez
I have been intrigued with the letters of the Apostle Paul ever since I started reading the Bible. It's as much for his style of writing as it is the spiritual message he conveys. I wanted to find a book that provided additional insight into the person of Paul, the man, so I could better understand him as servant and writer. This book by F.F. Bruce took me a long time to read, but I'm glad I finished it. It's a comprehensive book; scholarly, theological and also very dense at times. The book is ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very helpful study of the life and work of the apostle Paul. Thoroughly referenced, the author deals with the texts of all of Paul's epistles as well as the geography of his travels and the contextual history of the era in which he lived. Bruce cites biblical and extra-biblical sources to examine the influence he had on the Church and her members; the reactions of his contemporaries and recent scholars (Luther, Wesley, Barth) are noted

I have gained a greater appreciation of Paul
Brent McCulley
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
F.F. Bruce's magnum opus, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free is the most in depth and scholastic historiographical and biographical account of St. Paul. Running in a chronological order, Bruce covers Pauline theology, to his historical missionary work. He covers his background to his philosophical thought process. This book as opened my eyes on some very interesting issues, and has blessed me in numerous ways. A must read.

Brent McCulley (11/26/13)
Clint Boyd
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has become a standard for obvious reasons: well-researched, highly informative writing by a reputable scholar. I only wish it had been written after New Perspective. Still, I will keep this book for reference when teaching anything Pauline. The tone is a little dry, but the information is fascinating to anyone willing to listen and consider. Great book. Note: this book was required reading for Survey of the New Testament.
Sep 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it's nice to see Paul get a fair shake. I've sat in some gender studies classes that would strain credulity with the descent of backflips of nonsense I to "deconstructing" Paul and his words. nonsense. me thinks they doth protest to much... give Paul a chance, he won't disappoint, nor the One who sent him.
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This engaging book has helped me to think about the life of Paul in a way that illuminate the stories behind his apostolic works.

When reading the New Testament works of Paul I often think of them in relation to how they apply to me and to the Church. However, this book has helped me see more clearly how they applied to the original audience and what necessitated their writing.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal look at the life and thought of the apostle Paul. Any student of Paul would do well to read this book. Bruce's scholarship and engaging style are unmatched as he examines all the issues and data regarding Paul, reconstructing the apostle's life in an easy-to-follow way as well as reconstructing the thought of the mighty evangelist to the Gentiles
Ken Garrett
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic, must-read work on the life of Paul, with more-than-adequate treatment of the particular historical-geographical-cultural circumstances of the cities and regions associated with Paul in the NT. Useful reference tool.
Austin Mcgrath
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All I can say about this book is it is a must read. This is a great chronological biography on the Apostle Paul, ranging from his travels, letters, martyrdom, before his conversion. This book has it all, and did a great job on putting it together.
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of overwhelming in terms of information presented. It represents the culmination of his life's work and research. Either take the time to appreciate it or read it fast and just get the big stuff. Either way it is a great reference for Pauline theology.
Chris Ong
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very thorough and informative book. can't put it down ... there's so much background on Paul and his books.
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Frederick Fyvie Bruce FBA was a Biblical scholar who supported the historical reliability of the New Testament. His first book, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (1943), was voted by the American evangelical periodical Christianity Today in 2006 as one of the top 50 books "which had shaped evangelicals".

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