Skip to main content

(Review) Illustrated Life of Paul by Charles L. Quarles

Publication Date: 2014.
Publisher: B and H Publishing. 
Genre: Nonfiction, Bible history.
Pages: 300.
Source: Free copy from B and H Publishing in exchange for a review.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

Link @ B and H Publishing.

Christian Book

Illustrated Life of Paul follows chronologically the life of Paul in the sixteen chapters of Acts that focus on him and his New Testament letters.
"Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The Background of Saul of Tarsus
Chapter 3: The Damascus Road
Chapter 4: The First Missionary Journey
Chapter 5: The Jerusalem Conference
Chapter 6: The Second Missionary Journey
Chapter 7: The Third Missionary Journey
Chapter 8: From Jerusalem to Rome
Chapter 9: Paul's Last Years"

In the Preface, Charles L. Quarles explains,
"I have sought to wed deep love for the apostle Paul with deep love for the truth. Some will likely argue that this approach sacrifices the objectivity of the good historian. However, I have attempted to follow solid evidence in reconstructing Paul's life without becoming the detached and disinterested historian that was the ideal of modernism." Page ix.
The Introduction states Paul's importance for the New Testament Church. I believe Quarles has painted a beautiful portrait of Paul. From explaining Paul's early life, to education and training, his role as a Pharisee, dramatic conversion, missionary journeys, ministry, and martyrdom.
Both Old Testament and New Testament Bible references are included.
Explanations are defined for terminology (Hebrew, Greek, Latin.) For example: Makkot (Hebrew), referring to flogging, the word in Hebrew is stripes; provocatio (Latin) a trial.
The term of justification (accounting terminology) and how "rabbis were fond of describing God as a great accountant who kept an enormous ledger." I'd not read this expression before.
The book is arranged like an illustrated magazine-think National Geographic.
Illustrations of photographs, art work, archaeology artifacts, and maps are in vibrant color.

My Thoughts:
I feel this is a marvelous book to read cover to cover and to use for reference.
I'd read remarks from other reviewers this book is a "basic" study of Paul. I love basic. Basic to me means exactly what I need to read pertaining to the person and not fluff.

Reasons why I awarded Illustrated Life of Paul 5 stars for excellent.

  • Page 33. "The Spirit had so broken Paul's heart that he neither ate nor drank for three days. His fast was natural and voluntary. It exhibits his deep and sincere repentance and his utter shock at this amazing turn of events. The Damascus road revelation had turned his world upside down." This statement reveals how all Christians should feel: Jesus has "turned our world upside down" and we are never the same person again. 
  • Chapter 4 explains, "The doctrine of justification" and its "important hallmark of Paul's message. 
  • Enjoyable reading pleasure in learning about the apostle Paul. 
  • Visually engaging illustrations. 
  • Chapter 7. "Supernatural activity." Luke describes in the third missionary journey "extraordinary miracles," see Acts 19:11-12. Seven pages are devoted to the history and ministry of exorcism. 
  • Chapter 9. Paul's final arrest, imprisonment, and martyrdom. Nero's brutality, and the conditions in the prison were especially gruesome and heartrending.  

The Great Fire of Rome by Hubert Robert