My name is Ian Paul. I am an ordained minister in the Church of England, and since 2004 I have been on the staff of St John’s, Nottingham (one of 11 Anglican colleges in England), currently as Dean of Studies and teaching New Testament and Practical Theology.
My theological academic interests include the Book of Revelation, the interpretation of metaphor, the work of Paul Ricoeur, the theology and practice of preaching, John’s Gospel, the letter of James, and the Pauline letters (a short list, I know). My first two degrees were in pure and applied maths, and I worked in industrial business before ordination training, so I am also interested in these areas.
In relation to ministry, I am particularly interested in issues of leadership and mission, preaching, and how individual Christians and congregations encounter Scripture and experience it as life-transforming. I am also very interested in issues of culture, economics and politics and how Christian faith engages with them. For seventeen years I was Managing Editor of Grove Books Ltd and continue on the Board as Director of Publishing.
I am married to Maggie, who is a GP (family practitioner if you are over the pond), and we have four children in our household, Lizzi, Ben and Becca who are our own, and Jo who is living with us from Burma.
I keep chickens (when I can keep the foxes away), love chocolate, and really enjoy having a personal computer that just works.
My blog is called Psephizo, using the Greek verb meaning ‘to calculate’, ‘work out’ or ‘reckon’. The word only occurs twice in the New Testament, once in Luke 14.28 in his version of Jesus’ warning to reckon the cost of discipleship before embarking on it, and in Rev 13.18, perhaps the most notorious verse in the Bible! It is related to the word psephos meaning ‘pebble’, which would have been used to do such calculations, and also occurs only in Luke and Revelation (suggesting a surprising link between the two texts, supported by other links), being the ‘white stone with a new name’ in Rev 2.17. The graphic incorporates an image from the text of Rev 13.18 from Codex Sinaiticus.
My own experience in faith and theology is that, whilst being a Christ-follower is in many ways mysterious and irrational, in other ways it is the only way of making sense of life—in the end, when we really understand Scripture aright and listen to the Spirit of God, it really does ‘all add up.’