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Professional—Publications: Divine Wrath

Divine Wrath in Paul: An Exegetical Study
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Divine Wrath in Paul: An Exegetical Study (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2020). Divine wrath is considered politically incorrect for a God of love, but Stevens insists coming to terms with Paul’s language of wrath is imperative for understanding Paul’s gospel. Half of the occurrences of the two primary terms in the New Testament are in Paul. A survey focusing on the key terms for wrath in Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Samaritan, and New Testament literature provides background to see Pauline distinctives. Rich illustrations bring discussion to life drawn from decades of the author’s research overseas. Stevens challenges Dodd’s divine wrath as no more than an impersonal nexus of sin and retribution by integrating wrath into a theology of grace through which God always and in everything is seeking to save.


David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, OH
It appears to be increasingly difficult for those who affirm, with the author of 1 John, that ‘God is love’ to make room for other characteristics and expressions attributed to God across the scriptural revelation.  Dr. Stevens’s study focuses on what is perhaps the least popular facet of the biblical God, namely God’s capacity to feel and to express wrath, calling us to attend carefully and thoughtfully particularly to the relevant passages in Paul.  He provides readers with a nuanced analysis of these statements against the broad background of convictions about divine wrath and its expression in Greco-Roman, Jewish, and other early Christian sources, carefully delineating points of agreement and points of contrast between Paul’s affirmations and those made within the various cultures of his environment.  This is an important contribution to our ability to ‘see’ all that the Scriptures reveal about the God they proclaim.

James K. Dew, Jr., Professor of Christian Philosophy, President, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, LA

A hallmark of Gerald Stevens’s publications over the years has been his attention to detail. Even the captions accompanying the abundant illustrations are an education in themselves. He delights with fresh exegetical insight into well-traveled biblical texts. His integration of the operation of divine wrath into a theology of grace is a solid contribution not only to Pauline studies but to the reflections of the Christian philosopher on a topic frequently caricatured, misunderstood, or ignored from pulpit to pew. Highly recommended.

Robert B. Stewart, Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Greer-Heard Chair of Faith and Culture, New Orleans Baptist theological Seminary, New Orleans, LA

Books about God’s love, or God’s grace, are common, but few have been written on divine wrath. Yet, without understanding the bad news, we cannot fully appreciate the good news. Just as darkness precedes dawn, Calvary precedes Easter. Mercy without the possibility of wrath is simply arbitrary. Sin must be taken seriously; through Jesus, God really has done something extraordinary. The message of divine wrath must be preached so that we can see how truly amazing grace is. I am thankful that Gerald Stevens has given us this book that gazes deeply into a subject few scholars dare to take on, and goes where theologians fear to tread.
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