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