Sunday, March 8, 2009

In the Footsteps of Paul by Ken Duncan

In the Footsteps of Paul

In the Footsteps of Paul
by Ken Duncan

Hardback: 175 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
First Released: 2009

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Source: Review copy from publisher

Back Cover Description:
Take a Walk with the Apostle Paul.

His was an extraordinary life. The persecutor became a preacher, and the world has never been the same.

Renowned photographer Ken Duncan--the man behind the lens of The Passion of the Christ, Walking with God in America, and Where Jesus Walked--leads us on a photographic tour of Paul's journeys. Within the pages of In the Footsteps of Paul, you'll witness all the drama of the early church and the miracle that was Paul's life. Through stunning imagery of the very places where Paul worked, preached, and endured fierce opposition, you'll catch a glimpse of a life set on fire by God.

This is basically a coffee table book (i.e. a lot of photos but not much text). The photography is truly beautiful, though it seems like about a third of the photos are of icons or paintings which depict some action of Paul's rather than the promised "where Paul travelled." Some of the photos were of "Paul probably saw this" or "this was around [in a city Paul went to] at the time Paul lived." Obviously, it's difficult for us to know exactly what Paul did or didn't see, and even the "this is the spot where..." photos can't be identified as such without a doubt.

There are photographs of roads, gates, ruins of cities, Tells, harbors, sunsets over harbors, arches, churches and other buildings, and more. I've been to some of the places shown in the photos, and I can say he does a good job of capturing the sense of a place. However, I also can't imagine how he managed to get so many pictures of these places at the height of their beauty!

There were also maps showing the travels Paul took to spread Christianity. The photos are arranged to follow Paul's life and travels as given in the Bible, and the accompanying Bible verses about Paul's life are included. The author sometimes includes some narration about Bible times. Other times, he includes quotes from famous people (like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Beth Moore, Rick Warren) which are related to the photos.

The text gave me a nice overview of Paul's journeys (from his conversion to his end in Rome), which I enjoyed. For what it does, this book does it quite well.

Excerpt: Chapter One
"I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia..." --Acts 22:3

[Picture of an old Roman road near Tarsus.]

Tarsus. Not a tiny village, but not quite a sprawling metropolis. In Paul's day, as now, Tarsus was sturdy and hard-working with an affection for learning--much like its most famous son.

This is where it all began. Here the apostle Paul was born, and from here he set out on his life's mission: preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Though Paul's dogged and tireless efforts, this small, ancient city became the epicenter of something that changed the world forever.

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