Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 19:4 (Winter 2015) p. 139
Editor’s Note [For original print edition]: In the previous issue of SBJT 19.3 (
The God of This Age: Satan in the Churches and Letters of the Apostle Paul. By Derek R. Brown. WUNT 2.409. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck,
It might be reasonable to assume, while reading about evil powers and figures in the Pauline letters, that Paul does not have a particular understanding of Satan. The references are all too few, and Paul does not offer a theological explanation when referring to Satan; suggesting that Satan is not important for Pauline theology. But the author of this volume proposes a different conclusion. He cogently argues that “Paul fundamentally characterizes Satan in his letters as the apocalyptic adversary who opposes his apostolic labor” (
I confess that until reading this work, I had not fully considered the possibility that, in contrast to when Paul mentions evil powers and figures generically and without concrete referents, whenever Paul mentions Satan he does so with respect to Satan’s specific actions against either himself or his churches. Take 2 Corinthians 4, where Satan appears as an adversary of Paul and his apostolic ministry, not just as a generic opponent of all God’s people. The intriguing question that forms the main thesis of this study—how and why does the Apostle Paul refer to the figure of Satan in his letters—addresses this very notion.
In order to answer this question, the author makes clear that he is only examining ten verses (i.e., Rom 16:20; 1 Cor 5:5; 7:5; 2 Cor 2:11; 4:4; 6:15; 11:14; 12:7; 1 Thess 2:18; 3:5) from the so-called “undisputed” Pauline letters (i.e. Romans,
SBJT 19:4 (Winter 2015) p. 140
and Philemon). Consequently, he is not attempting to present a Pauline theology of Satan. Of the 10 passages in these letters, the author tells us that all but three explicitly...
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