“Time and again, when the gospel has been in danger of being fettered and disabled in the bonds of legalism or outworn tradition,” wrote the late F.F. Bruce, “it has been the words of Paul that have broken the bonds and set the gospel free to exert its emancipating power once more in the life of mankind.”

At the end of his Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, Bruce discusses Paul’s influence on four key individuals, and therefore his continuing impact on the church age after age.

Augustine and the Middle Ages
Augustine is the author of Confessions and City of God, two of the most read works in Christian history. He was the church’s most influential theologian through the thirteenth century, and some say beyond.

In the summer of A.D. 386, 32-year-old Augustine sat weeping in the garden of his friend Alypius at Milan. He had been for two years professor of rhetoric in that city and had every reason to be satisfied with his professional career thus far, yet he was conscious of a deep inner dissatisfaction. He was almost persuaded to begin a new life, but lacked the resolution to break with the old.

As he sat, he heard a child singing in a neighboring house, Tolle, lege! Tolle, lege! (“Take up and read! Take up and read!”) Taking up the scroll that lay at his friend’s side—a copy of Paul’s letters, as it happened—he let his eye fall on what we know as the closing words of Romans 13: “… not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

“No further would I read,” he says, “nor had I any need; instantly, at the end of this sentence, a clear light flooded my heart, and all the darkness of ...

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