March 10, 2009

Ken Duncan, In the Footsteps of Paul

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy. In the Footsteps of Paul is a beautiful gift book that chronicles the life and ministry of Paul. The book is a mixture of photographs interspersed with quotations from Acts, brief reflections from Duncan, and quotations from well-known authors. Following the Acts narrative, the book weaves together the story of Paul's life both in word and picture. The images—mostly of landscapes and sites, but sprinkled with artifacts, and artwork—are of exceptional quality, and give life to the narrative. A number of the scenes are truly breath-taking, and make this book worthy of a place on a coffee table, in addition to its other merits as a worthwhile introduction to Paul's travels.

The carefully chosen excerpts from Acts and Duncan's brief comments help to narrate Paul's story, chronicling his movements around Palestine, Asia, and Europe, highlighting major events and important interactions. The narrative is also augmented by well-chosen quotations from biblical scholars such as Ben Witherington, N. T. Wright, and F. F. Bruce, and inspirational writers such as Henri Nouwen, Max Lucado, and Thomas Merton.

In all, the book is beautifully assembled and laid out. The pictures are stunning, and the text helps bring Paul's journeys to life. As Duncan says in his introduction, "I knew [following in Paul's footsteps] would challenge me in my own walk with God. . . . Paul was all in for Jesus." Through words and images, Duncan helps us to see Paul the person, a follower of Christ, dedicated to the mission God laid before him. While I would look elsewhere for a more rigorous introduction to Paul's life and thought, this book makes for a great primer on Paul, and a worthy visual companion to other studies, at times instructing and at times challenging us to follow.

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