Products>Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character

Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character

Format: Digital


Paul’s writings are laced with vivid images from the bustling New Testament world. To understand these metaphors, David J. Williams delves into that Greco-Roman world and uses ancient sources to explore a wide variety of topics, such as architecture, law, commerce, health care, and education. Williams studies this world in chapters with such titles as “Life in the City,” “Family Life,” “Slavery and Freedom,” “Citizens and Courts of Law,” “Travel,” and “Warfare and Soldiering.”

Paul’s metaphors, set apart in bold type, are examined in the light of this background information and restored to their original vitality. Well-known metaphors—the Christian as a slave of Christ, the church as a body, Paul’s two natures being at war within him, the Christian as an athlete striving toward the prize, Jesus’ return as a thief in the night, Christians as adopted heirs of God—and lesser-known metaphors alike come to life for the modern reader through Williams’ careful exposition.

The main text is accessible to the general reader; scholars will appreciate footnotes that discuss the Greek text and provide resources for further study. Appendix 1 lists a select chronology of the Roman Empire, and Appendix 2 provides dates and descriptions of significant ancient authors and tests. Scripture, ancient source, and modern author indexes add to the usefulness of this work.

The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.

Key Features

  • Analyzes Paul’s world in order to better understand his language and metaphors
  • Deconstructs the metaphors used in Paul’s writings to uncover clearer meaning
  • Remains on a historical and exegetical basis rather than a philosophical view


  • Life in the City
  • Life in the Country
  • Family Life
  • Providing for Physical Needs
  • Slavery and Freedom
  • Citizens and Courts of Law
  • Manufacturing and Marketing
  • The Business World
  • Travel
  • Warfare and Soldiering
  • Cultic Observances
  • Public Shows and Sporting Events

Praise for the Print Edition

Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character merits the attention of every serious student of the Apostle to the Gentiles. Gathering under 12 headings the profusion of metaphors that Paul poured into his writing, David Williams has created an indispensable aid for writers of commentaries, crafters of sermons, and just ordinary readers of Paul’s letters. Researched carefully and documented copiously, Paul’s Metaphors is nonetheless a strikingly readable book that demonstrates once again that students of the New Testament cannot neglect the hard work of philology.

—E. Glenn Hinson, senior professor of church history and spirituality, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky

Product Details

  • Title: Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character
  • Author: David J. Williams
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 416

About David J. Williams

David J. Williams served as the vice principal of Ridley College, University of Melbourne. His publications include The Promise of His Coming and Acts and 1 and 2 Thessalonians in the New International Biblical Commentary: New Testament series.