In preparing and presenting my recent series on the Apostle Paul, I leaned most heavily on the following books. As I studied, it was with a view to what would illuminate and make plain the life, times, and activities of the great apostle. I had no interest (for the sake of my audience) in pursuing the more esoteric topics often written about concerning him.
Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, by F. F. Bruce. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans. The most detailed and perhaps scholarly of these books, and written by a highly respected New Testament scholar. Still, it is quite readable with only the occasional detour into less interesting topics.
Paul, by F. B. Meyer. A classic which I thoroughly enjoy. The author clearly speaks of God’s providence and work, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the ministry of Paul.
Paul: Living for the Call of Christ, by Gene Getz. Published by B & H Publishing Group. The author tends to “pick his spots” concerning what parts of Paul’s history he covers, but his insights are valuable. This book is part of a larger series entitled, Men of Character.
To Live is Christ, by Beth Moore. Ms. Moore has a wonderful gift of making Bible characters “come alive” and provides both hard facts as well as reasonable assumptions about aspects of Paul’s life and work. This should not be the first or only book you read on Paul, but you should by all means read it.
The Pauline Circle, by F. F. Bruce. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans. Hard to find, though listed still on Amazon. Examines key companions of Paul and what we can know about them: Ananias, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Luke, Titus, etc.
Two other texts which I consulted but did not find as useful were Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit, by Charles Swindoll and Apostle Paul: A Novel, by James Cannon. The first is more devotional that exegetical in nature. The second is very interesting and entertaining – but is, after all, a novel, and the author takes great liberty at times to make up quite a bit of the “back story.”
I addition to the above, extensive reading and cross-referencing of the Book of Acts and the Epistles of Paul was necessary. Also, several of my good Bible dictionaries and atlases proved most useful.
Have another book you would recommend for this list? Write me at rcravy @ gmail.com.