Another Book on Paul? F.F. Bruce Explains Why

F.F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free SpiritF.F. Bruce needs no introduction. He is the author of several books, including one about the Apostle Paul, called Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit.
But why another book on Paul? Hasn’t this one been done over? Don’t we already know everything there is to know about Paul? Let’s let none other than F.F. Bruce himself answer the question:

No excuse is offered for the publication of yet another book on Paul save the excuse offered by the second-century author of the Acts of Paul: it was written amore Pauli, for love of Paul. For half a century and more I have been a student and teacher of ancient literature, and to no other writer of antiquity have I devoted so much time and attention as to Paul. Nor can I think of any other writer, ancient or modern, whose study is so richly rewarding as his. This is due to several aspects of his many-faceted character: the attractive warmth of his personality, his intellectual stature, the exhilarating release effected by his gospel of redeeming grace, the dynamism with which he propagated that gospel throughout the world, devoting himself single mindedly to fulfilling the commission entrusted to him on the Damascus road (“this one thing I do”) and labouring more abundantly than all his fellow-apostles—“yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me”. My purpose in writing this book, then, is to share with others something of the rich reward which I myself have reaped from the study of Paul.
F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 1977), 15.

Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit is Bruce’s distillation of over 18 years of lectures on “The Missionary Career of Paul in its Historical Setting.” To better understand Paul’s writings, it can be helpful to better understand Paul the person. Clocking in at just over 500 pages, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit helps us do just this.
If you’ve got Scholar’s Portfolio Edition (LE), or have availed yourself of the Pauline Studies Library, then you’ve already got this 500+ page gem from F.F. Bruce in your Logos Bible Software library.
If not, check it out. Learning more about Paul from F.F. Bruce can’t be a bad thing.


  1. Your blog sounds like this is a new book, but I think it was published in the mid 70’s.

  2. Hi Jim.
    I didn’t mean to make it sound like a new book; the citation even includes the original publication date, 1977. There are a *lot* of books on Paul; I thought it was useful to see why F.F. Bruce thought this book on Paul was worth writing (and thus worth reading).
    Apologies for any misconceptions,
    – Rick

  3. Plus, it should be noted that this book was published in the US by Eerdmans under the title Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free.

  4. I think John G. Butler’s “Paul: The Missionary Apostle” is by far the best commentary I’ve read on Paul. Not only that, but it gives great sermon helps with the alliterated outline format. I think Logos is missing out on some big sales by not having John G. Butler’s Biography Series and Studies of the Savior. I’ve seen several people on the forum asking/begging for them and nothing yet. We’ll just have to keep waiting and keeping our money in our pockets until Logos decides to make them available.
    Have a great evening!

  5. To be perfectly honest, I’m not familiar with F.F. Bruce, but I got something after reading this article. I think knowing Paul better and deeper can be of great help, especially for high school students who are aiming for college scholarships. I think possessing Paul’s multifaceted character can carry someone a long way in terms of his or her scholarship application. Since Bruce’s books are intended to share rich rewards with others, it can make a difference in the lives of many people, specifically students. The article is brief, but it says a lot. I like it.

  6. I am uncertain as to why your article in Logos 4 (and subsequent link) speaks of F. F. Bruce in the present tense. He died in 1990. This seems as little misleading as if this was a new publication or he is currently writing.

  7. Wow, Some of you guys really have too much time on your hands and maybe take yourselves way to seriously. Relax. It’s just a blog. It isn’t like Rick was writing a biographical sketch on the guy. He’s trying to communicate the value of the book, and nothing more which he did and brilliantly I might add.