Gen 2nd Edition

Paul has written four books: Fishing for Praise, Genesis for Ordinary People, Exodus for Ordinary People and God and Primordial People.

Review of Genesis for Ordinary People - Second Edition

 

Paul Poulton, returns with a second edition of his excellent commentary on the first book of the Bible. Paul has included various additions and reworkings to the text – 17 in all - to provide updates and clarity which increases the number of pages from 189 to 199. This is a balanced amount of revision that ensures the flow is maintained whilst at the same time managing to bring a clearer understanding of some of the arguments and points made.

 

This is a book that acknowledges that there has been a serious lack of understanding regarding the book of Genesis from both sides of the debate. Scientists and atheists have been quick to dismiss it as unscientific, irrelevant and erroneous, whereas Christians have failed to understand its main truths, interpreting things either too literally or through a modern day lens, rather than understanding the cultural, intellectual and spiritual climate in which it was written. For example, as Paul is wont to point out, nowhere does the bible or Genesis make reference to a literal seven days, nor does it mention a global or worldwide flood. At the same time it has an authority and certainty and when we look at the timelines and the evidence from archaeology and other contemporary writings we see just how accurate the book of Genesis really is.

 

Paul’s mission is to strip away our preconceptions and misunderstandings of this important yet controversial book. As we begin to look at it as we should, we start to see that there really is no controversy at all. Rather there is much that God has told us if only we take the time to seek it out. Many times in the book Paul reminds us that “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search them out” – Proverbs 25:2, cited by the author.

 

Paul has done an excellent job of revising what was already a superb and accessible commentary on the first book of the bible. Whatever your beliefs or feelings on the matter, I would implore you to read it and allow yourself to be challenged by it. For sure, no single work will ever answer every question or fully discover exactly what has been concealed, but a work like this can only serve to positively advance our knowledge and hopefully, go beyond that to increase our wisdom and understanding.

Review of  Exodus for Ordinary People

 

Exodus for Ordinary People follows on from where Paul’s previous book, the not-unexpectedly entitled Genesis for Ordinary People left off. In that previous work Paul challenged us to rethink the book of Genesis and encouraged us to see the Seed of God’s salvation, i.e. Jesus, running throughout the book. In this follow up work, Paul continues to challenge and excite us, with a scholarly yet accessible work designed to restore the historical credibility of the book of Exodus. From his detailed analysis of the relevant dates of key events to comparisons with other historical sources, particularly in respect of Egypt, Paul builds up a picture of the book of Exodus as a reliable historical account and not, as some people would have us believe, a fantastic work of fiction.

 

As Paul says early on in the book “People sometimes look for reasons to distrust the BibleWe believe the bible because God has breathed on it, not because every small point can be proved. Faith must come first, but once faith is in place we begin to find that historical accuracy is also there when we look from the correct angle”. That is a succinct a summary of how we should approach the bible as any I’ve come across and underpins how Paul then goes onto to elucidate Exodus for us.

 

Whilst as easy to follow as its predecessor it is, in my opinion, a superior work, slightly shorter with shorter chapters (and shorter overall) but with excellent depth and plenty of content. The book reaches a wonderful peak in Chapter 26 “God Speaks” in which Paul sets out the context of each of the Ten Commandments to help us understand why God needs to give such commands to the Israelites and, indeed, to us. The author has found his style, clearly has the proverbial bit between his teeth and I am sure it won’t be long before he follows up with a similar work on Leviticus. An excellent and highly recommended book. Only 64 more to go.

 

10/10   Robin Thompson. Published in Never For Nothing

Exodus WS cover Genesis for Ordinary People Website

Books

Review of God and Primordial People

 

 

This is Paul’s fourth published book, and it explores further some of the themes discussed in his earlier work “Genesis for Ordinary People” (and to a lesser extent its sequel “Exodus for Ordinary People”). Here Paul explores the origins of man by looking at evidence from primarily the Bible but also from other reliable historical and archaeological stories. It is important to note that Paul is keen to consider what the Bible actually says, not what we think it says, removing the layers of dogma and preconception that may have accumulated over many years of belief, or even unbelief. As the author himself points out in Chapter 24, Bone and Flesh, “We have to take care that current popular doctrines don’t infiltrate the truth of the Bible and ‘death entering the world after the disobedience of Adam in the garden’ is dogma that has entered some quarters of the church. Even Bible translators can be pulled into interpreting, and consequently translating, the Bible in the light of their church’s doctrine rather than what is actually written”. To that end this is not a book to read if you want confirmation of your own preconceptions; Instead, prepare to be challenged and unravelled by this thoughtful, insightful and erudite piece of work.

 

 

Once again Paul explores our pre-held notions of who Adam and Eve were, the nature of sin and death, and the very origins of the fall of mankind. Were Adam and Eve the first humans? Paul’s answer is an emphatic no and as you follow the logic of the argument and the evidence presented you are able to arrive at that conclusion for yourself, to see that the Bible never makes that claim and that the original readers of the Biblical texts would never have drawn that conclusion either!

 

 

It’s not just about Adam and Eve though. We are shown how the Bible cleverly uses the word Adam to mean both a man and all mankind and in doing so it is revealing a picture of who we are – spotting the correct usage when reading the Bible makes all the difference to your understanding of it. And beyond this, as readers we are taken on a journey through Sumerian culture, the possible relationships between homo sapiens and other homo species (such as Neanderthals) and how God has been with us from the beginning, providing and caring for us and how we turned our back on that to go our own way and how we sought to become self-sufficient in more ways than one. This is another excellent book from Paul and is highly recommended if you want to be able to find answers to some core questions about our origins and the Biblical accounts of them.   10/10.   Robin Thompson.

GAPP