One of the best kinds of Bible study helps, or tools, are chart books. Chart books can be extremely helpful in condensing complex and exhaustive information into bite-sized chunks of readability and easy comprehension. The assimilation of valuable information into clear, easy to read and visually appealing formats is so important. Many people learn visually and the structure of a chart becomes very helpful in seeing the flow of important concepts and information.
This being said, Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul should have been a great addition to so many other chart books that are out there on the scriptures, which help us discover and to better understand the Bible. However, this book is more plain text than it is charts and it reads more like a dry commentary than a visually appealing chart book, leaving the reader disappointed and busy sifting through an over abundance of text. There are over 100 charts in this book, but they are small, not always self-sufficient in the information they present, they are secondary to the text, and are not the primary content of the book.
The concept of covering the letters of Paul in a chart book is a great idea, but it does not appear that the author has met the goal of covering the letters of Paul solely using charts. If you are looking for a chart book on the life, letters, and theology of Paul, you will be disappointed with this book. However, if you are looking for a great survey of Paul’s life, letters, and theology and background information and contextual information concerning Paul’s letters, and some commentary on Paul’s letters, and you do not mind a lot of reading, then this book could be for you.
Here is what the publisher has to say about Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul:
Paul’s letters have fascinated and challenged most every reader of the Bible. As a result, many general introductions and specific studies on Paul are available, but none are like Charts on the Life and Letters of Paul, which provides over 100 charts to explore the apostle’s background, life and ministry, letters, and theology. The charts visually offer clarity on:
1. Basic insights (e.g., “Autobiographical Information”)
2. Comparisons (e.g., “Parallels between Acts and Paul’s Letters”)
3. Advanced tools for further study (e.g., “Key Words in Romans”)
4. Analysis (e.g., “The ‘New Perspective’ on Paul”)
5. Research (e.g., “Key Texts and Their Interpretations”)
Comments on the charts and discussions of significant theories-with leads for further exploration-are offered together with an extensive bibliography that includes references to past and current Pauline scholarship.
Interested Bible readers as well as students of Paul’s life, letters, and theology will find plenty of material to deepen their understanding. Teachers will find the charts to be a valuable teaching resource. This book is an excellent supplement to any general introduction or specific study on Paul.
In exchange for this non-biased review, the reviewer received a free copy of the book, Charts on the Life, Letters, and Theology of Paul. This review is also published on My Two Mites, Examiner, Amazon, and Christian Book.