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.