‘Paul the Apostle’ Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (1708-1787)

Course Description

It is an ambitious task to give a short course on the theology of St. Paul. For as the famous biblical scholar, Scott Hahn has recently said, “St. Paul is the most influential writer in the history of literature.” Paul’s writings comprise a significant portion of the New Testament, which is undoubtedly the most significant literary work in the whole of Western history. Other than Jesus Christ, there has been no other person in the world’s history that has influenced more people than St. Paul of Tarsus.

Paul of Tarsus was not merely a theological thinker; he was a pastor of souls, an evangelist and preacher, a man of great courage and compassion, seeking to become all things to all people so as to win some to Christ (see 1 Cor 9:19-23). Paul’s mighty efforts were undertaken for one reason: the glorification of Jesus Christ and the spread of his Gospel. We can therefore safely say that Paul’s Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ! The ultimate reason for this course is to study the Gospel according to St. Paul so as to become more familiar with, and to fall more deeply in love with, Paul’s Master, Jesus Christ.

In this course we will look at Paul’s life, his call and conversion, his three great missionary journeys, his influence on the first ecumenical council, the Council of Jerusalem (see Acts 15), and finally his imprisonment and martyrdom at the hands of the Romans. On our journey with Paul we will see what motivated him to convert from being an avid persecutor of Jesus and his Church (see Acts 9) to Jesus’ most zealous follower. We will discover how his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus influenced Paul’s Christology and Ecclesiology. We will look closely at Paul’s thought, especially his theology of covenant, salvation, and divine sonship. We will also explore Paul’s theology of sin and grace, faith and works of the law, and finally his theology of the Church and its mission.

This course is by no means a thorough investigation of Paul and his understanding of the Gospel. Rather, it is designed to entice the beginner to start a life-long study of Paul, his life, letters and his understanding of the Gospel. So come and join us for this dynamic course, The Gospel According to Paul!

Course Objectives

  1. To appreciate how Paul of Tarsus understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  2. To see Paul’s conversion as the reception of the fulfillment of his Jewish heritage.
  3. To learn about Paul’s theology of covenant, salvation and divine sonship.
  4. To explore Paul’s understandings of the relationship between Christ and the Church, sin and faith, grace and law.
  5. To be familiar with Paul’s life and his apostolic zeal to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Hahn, Scott. A Pocket Guide to St Paul. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Division, 2008.

Pacwa, Mitch. St. Paul: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Division, 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI. Saint Paul. (General Audiences 2 July 2008—4 February 2009). San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009.

Popular Level Reading:

Griffith-Jones, Robin. The Gospel According to Paul: The Creative Genius Who Brought Jesus to the World. New York: Harper One, 2004.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Achtemeier, Paul J. Inspiration and Authority: Nature and Function of Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1999.

Béchard, Dean P. ed. and trans. The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings. Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press, 2002.

Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1981.

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Address of His Holiness John Paul II and Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: St Paul Books and Media, 1993.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering. Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2005.

Farkasfalvy, Denis. Inspiration and Interpretation: A Theological Introduction to Sacred Scripture. Washington DC. The Catholic University of America Press, 2010.

Geisler, Norman L. and William C. Roach. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2011.

Hahn, Scott. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. Michigan: Servant Publications, 1998.

_________. A Pocket Guide to the Bible. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Division, 2008.

_________. Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible From the Heart of the Church. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road, 2003.

Richards, E. Randolph. Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Compositions and Collection. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004.

Shea, Mark P. Making Senses out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999.

Sri, Edward. The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2009.

Stravinskas, Peter M.J. The Catholic Church and the Bible. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

_________. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Byrne, Brendan. Romans (Sacra Pagina Series, vol.6). Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1996.

Collins, Raymond F. First Corinthians (Sacra Pagina Series, vol.7). Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1999.

_________. The Power of Images in Paul, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2008.

Cousar, Charles B. The Letters of Paul. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.

Davies, W.D. Paul and Rabbinic Judaism. London: S.P.C.K., 1955.

Donfried, Karl F., ed. The Romans Debate. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1991.

Dunn, James D.G. The Theology of Paul the Apostle. London: T & T Clark, 1998.

_________. (ed.). Paul and the Mosaic Law. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005.

Harris, Murray J. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.

Hawthorne, Gerald F. et al. (eds.). Dictionary of Paul and his Letters. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

Hayes, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993.

_________. The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005.

Jackson, T. Ryan. New Creation in Paul’s Letters: A Study of the Historical & Social Setting of a Pauline Concept. Tübigen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2010.

Lambrecht, Jan. Second Corinthians (Sacra Pagina Series, vol.8). Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1999.

Prat, Fernand. The Theology of Saint Paul. Translated by John L. Stoddard. London: Burns and Oats, 1959.

Puskas, Charles B. The Letters of Paul: An Introduction. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1993.

Sanders, E.P. Paul and Palestinian Judaism. London: SCM Press LTD., 1977.

Thiselton, Anthony C. The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NICNT). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.

Watson, Francis. Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

Wright, N.T. The Climax of the Covenant: Christ And The Law In Pauline Theology. London: T & T Clark, 1993.

_________. The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003.

_________. Paul: In Fresh Perspective. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2009.