Friday, November 19, 2010

Best Reference Book on Pauline Pneumatology

Ha- I scared you with a big word!  Please don't be afraid - The word pneumatology simply means teaching or doctrine about the Holy Spirit.

I am an appreciative reader and fan of Dr. Gordon Fee.  Although I do not agree with him on everything, I have always found both his scholarly and popular writings enlightening. Therefore, I was interested to see this review at the "To Be Continued..." website of Dr. Fee's massive work on the Holy Spirit in the Theology of the Apostle Paul - God’s Empowering Presence – Resource | To Be Continued…
I believe very much that, for any true student of theology wanting to grow in their pnuematological understanding, especially for all continuationists, then an extremely solid resource to own is Gordon Fee’s work, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul. Fee, himself is a New Testament scholar and professor emeritus from Regents College in Vancouver, Canada. He is also an ordained minister in the Assembly of God church. You can read more of his credentials here.
Nevertheless, this book is a treatise unlike many others, standing in at just over 900 pages long. So I would say this is more a study resource, rather than a bed-time read.
What is truly unique about the book is that it analyses every single mention of the Holy Spirit and his work within the letters of Paul. Fee doesn’t start with Romans (as that is the first Pauline letter in our NT canon), but rather with 1 Thessalonians, which is considered one of Paul’s early letters. He then moves on to 2 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 Timothy, Titus and, finally, 2 Timothy.
The last 100 pages or so deal with important theological topics on the Holy Spirit including such themes as the Spirit as eschatological fulfilment, the Spirit as God’s personal presence, the soteriological Spirit, the Spirit and the people of God, and then answering what all of this Pauline pneumatology means (which includes touching on Old Testament and intertestamental pneumatology). And, of course, there is an extended bibliography.

You can see that some of this work implements his writings from other works, like his commentary on 1 Corinthians or his work, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God.
It's a great reference book and I am very pleased to own a copy.  However, if you want to read his conclusions and summations without wading through all the exegesis, try the above mentioned Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God.