Fortress Press

Walking in Love: Moral Progress and Spiritual Growth with the Apostle Paul

Walking in Love

Moral Progress and Spiritual Growth with the Apostle Paul

J. Paul Sampley (Author)


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  • eBook coming soon

Across the history of Christianity, Paul’s letters have been mined for doctrines like original sin and the "Fall" of Adam or for arguing that justification is by faith, not by works. J. Paul Sampley's concern is not first with doctrines but with how Paul instructed, encouraged, built up—and, at times, chided—the followers who trekked behind him in "the upward call of God in Christ Jesus," (Phil. 3:14).

Sampley writes particularly for readers today who seek insight into the spiritual and moral life but are perplexed by the apostle. While taking seriously the distance between Paul and our time, he also understands Paul's relevance for those seeking to live responsibly in a broken and alienated world.

Sampley articulates how important themes in his letters—the grand narrative of God's action, the new creation, the power of baptism and of the Lord’s Supper—serve the basic goal of calling people to faithful living and to "walking in love," for God and for each other. Walking in Love is a clear exposition of the ethical dimension of Paul's complex theology.


  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506410760
  • eBook ISBN 9781506406473
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 444
  • Publication Date February 1, 2016



1. After His Call, Paul Sets Out
2. The Big Story: What in the World Is God Doing?
3. New Creation Beings: Responsive and Responsible
4. Believers’ Progress: From Babies to Adults
5. Baptism: Starting Well and Ending Better
6. Lord’s Supper: How to Eat, Drink, and Live Well
7. Judgment: God’s Judgment and Our Mutual and Self-Correction
8. Us and Them: Relations and Contact with the Outside World
9. Making Choices Right and Sitting Lightly in the Saddle
10. Epilogue: Paul for the Twenty-First Century


Review in Interpretation Jan 2018


"A lifetime of scholarship hides behind the plain and straightforward language of this book.  Not that it is simple, for the central question it addresses is as complicated as could be: What does it mean, as conceived by the apostle Paul, to live life as a Christian?  Anyone for whom that question is important will find here a guide and a goad to think afresh about it."

Wayne A. Meeks | Yale University

"J. Paul Sampley has dedicated a good part of his career to understanding the relationship between the theology and moral teaching of his 'older brother' Paul, and has made rich contributions to scholarship on this topic. In this fine work, he provides us with the enduring fruit of his work in a highly pastoral and accessible form. This book can help us come to a better understanding of the theological framework of Paul's moral teaching and to demonstrate greater consistency between the doctrines that underlie Christian moral thinking and the way that we live out our faith through love toward God and others both within and beyond the church. Sampley demonstrates that we still have much to learn from the apostle's own wrestling with the question of what it means to 'walk in love' in the newness of life in Christ."

Roy E. Ciampa | The Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship

"Sampley maps Paul's contribution to Christianity's understanding of the process of moral progress on a horizon that starts with creation and ends with the new creation. The work of a seasoned and significant scholar offered in a wise and welcoming manner."

L. Ann Jervis | University of Toronto