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Paul and the Language of Faith

PAPERBACK; Published: 2/4/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7343-9
Price: $ 39.99
240 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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A dynamic reading of Paul’s faith language, outlining its subtle nuances as belief, trust, and faithfulness.

Faith language permeates the letters of Paul. Yet, its exact meaning is not always clear. Many today, reflecting centuries of interpretation, consider belief in Jesus to be a passive act. In this important book, Nijay Gupta challenges common assumptions in the interpretation of Paul and calls for a reexamination of Paul’s faith language. Gupta argues that Paul’s faith language resonates with a Jewish understanding of covenant involving goodwill, trust, and expectation. Paul’s understanding of faith involves the transformation of one’s perception of God and the world through Christ, relational dependence on Christ, as well as active loyalty to Christ. 

Pastors and scholars alike will benefit from this close examination of Paul’s understanding and use of faith language. For Gupta, Paul’s understanding involves a divine-human relationship centered on Christ that believes, trusts, and obeys.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Faith in Paul: A Brief History
3. Πίστις in Ancient Non-Jewish and Jewish Literature
4. Faith Language in the Jesus Tradition
5. Faithfulness is Better: Πίστις in 1 Thessalonians and Philippians
6 Strange Wisdom: The Cross’s Wisdom and the Humble Foolishness of Faith in 1 Corinthians
7 On Faith and Forms: Πιστις and True Ministry in 2 Corinthians
8 Covenantal Pistism: Πίστις in Galatians
9 And the Righteous Will Live by Trust: Faith Language in Romans 1:16–17
10. Πίστις Χριστοῦ and the Christ-Relation in Paul
11. Synthesis and Conclusion

2020 Outreach Resource of the Year: Theology & Biblical Studies
Michael F. Bird
— Ridley College
“Nijay Gupta presents here the best contemporary exploration of the meaning of ‘faith’ and ‘believing’ in the Christian Bible. He leaves no stone unturned as he covers topics like faith as doctrine, virtue, allegiance, trust, obedience, and fidelity, among other things. Along the way Gupta cracks open a few hoary chestnuts like the ‘faithfulness of Christ’ and faith as a social boundary marker, always with clarity and acumen. All in all, a wonderful exposition of the meaning of faith in the biblical world.”
Matthew V. Novenson
— University of Edinburgh
“Nijay Gupta has again proved himself to be one of the best and most interesting young exegetes now working. In this impressive book, he gives us, among other things: an up-to-date, incisive treatment of the pistis christou debate; an argument for ‘covenantal pistism’ as a gloss for Paul’s pattern of religion; and a bridge from the classic interpretations of Luther and Calvin to recent proposals from Benjamin Schliesser, Teresa Morgan, and others. Throughout, Gupta writes with a historical critic’s keen eye for textual detail and a theologian’s sense of the considerable stakes of these discussions. Paul and the Language of Faith is a reliable guide for students and a valuable resource for scholars.”
James D. G. Dunn
— from the foreword
“A clear discussion of the biblical, particularly Pauline concept of faith, its breadth and its specifics. Reading it with care will strengthen and perhaps correct the reader’s understanding of faith. Who could ask for more?”
Jesus Creed
“We need this book. . . . Nijay’s an accessible writer who cares about pastors and churches.”
The Expository Times
“In many ways the distinctive feature of Gupta’s work is the integration of covenantal ideas with a pluriform understanding of πίστις. No doubt this suggestive treatment will generate debate. As such it is an important contribution to the study of the thought of theology of Paul, for whom the notion of πίστις was so central in depicting believers’ relationship with Christ.”
Evangelical Quarterly
“[Paul and the Language of Faith] offers an important voice in a crucial discussion within Pauline studies, as well as the broader field of New Testament soteriology. Gupta’s call for a variety of translations for pistis, neither neglecting the possibility that cognition is emphasized in some occurrences and loyalty in others is well-taken and one hopes will be well heeded by Pauline scholarship.”
Review of Biblical Literature
“[Paul and the Language of Faith] will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource for studying Paul’s language of faith, not just for biblical scholars but also other readers interested in Pauline theology but not so familiar with scholarly debates or technical terminology.”
Review of Biblical Literature
“Gupta is a wonderful tour guide of Paul’s faith language, with lucid, readable prose and helpful tips to ensure that his readers—from busy pastor to professor—will get the most from his book.”
“An interesting examination of the language of faith that will advance any reader’s understanding of it and of Paul’s particular applications of this concept.”
Religious Studies Review
“Gupta introduces a reinvigorating and exegetically informed discussion on Paul and his language of faith. This book is a refreshing interruption of the long-standing and never-ending πίστις Χριστου debate. . . . Pauline scholars and students of the Bible will profit from Gupta’s skillful, exegetical analysis.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
“Gupta has offered a robust study of Paul’s faith language in his letters that will provide scholars with an opportunity to reconfigure past formulations that have not considered the variety of ways that pistis operates in Paul’s articulations. In many ways, this is a book that has long been waiting to be written.”