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Did Paul have a pastoral strategy?

The apostle Paul is not generally viewed as a pastor. Teaching, fearless advocate for the faith, traveller, apologist, pioneering church planter, yes—but pastor? As we read Paul’s letters, in some part because of our cultural distance, it is easy not to sense that we are encountering Paul the pastor. But the latest Grove Biblical booklet contends that this is exactly what we find when we read what is perhaps Paul’s most important and best known letters after Romans—his first letter to the church in Corinth. Owned by God: Paul’s Pastoral Strategy in 1 Corinthians explores Paul’s pastoral strategy by offering a close reading of the opening verses of 1 Corinthians, and seeing how the terms and ideas here shape and inform Paul’s pastoral strategy throughout the letter in tackling the challenging issues he finds there. It is written by Mike Thompson, Assistant Principal at Ridley Hall in Cambridge, where he has taught New Testament for many years. (Prior to that, Mike was at St John’s, Nottingham, where with Stephen Travis he was my first New Testament teacher.)

Mike begins with an imaginative reflection on the challenges Paul faced in writing his letter:

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