Q&A with Series Editor Bishop Paul Barnett

Editor and author, Paul Barnett is a highly esteemed scholar and theologian with a passion for God's word and equipping Christians to grow in their faith through excellent and accessible resources.

Paul is the Series Editor of the Reading the Bible Today commentary series and a prominent author of the history of Christianity and the life and character of Jesus.

As former Anglican Bishop of North Sydney (1990–2001), Paul Barnett is a Fellow of Ancient History at Macquarie University, Teaching Fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, and Emeritus Faculty member at Moore College, Sydney. He brings to this series a wealth of wisdom and experience in Bible teaching. 

Read our Q&A with Paul below and scroll down to watch a short video.

How did you come to know Christ?
As young adult with no church background I set out to find the meaning of life. I attended my local Anglican church. Later, at a mid-week service in St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, I heard a sermon on John 6:37 that changed my life, and brought me to an understanding that true life lay in Christ.

What led you into writing? How did that journey begin for you and what kinds of books have you written?
With a background in history and having studied at Moore College I became an Anglican minister. My interest in exegetical study grew, and when I was in England for further study, John Stott invited me to write a commentary on Second Corinthians. Later, as lecturer in Ancient History at Macquarie University I began writing in earnest. I was then Master of Robert Menzies College, Macquarie University and there were long university vacations which I could use for writing.

Is there a particular Bible verse or passage that has been meaningful to you? If so, what is it and why has it been meaningful?
It would be the previously mentioned John 6:37—‘Whoever comes to me I will in no way cast out …’
This verse reminds me that as a believer in Christ I am hidden with him and that my salvation is secure because of him. This gives me great joy.

What part have commentaries played in your life and ministry personally? Why do you think they are important?
It has been a privilege to write commentaries as a means of deepening my own understanding of the Word of God and to equip others in their own Christian journey. It is humbling and an immense privilege to work closely with the other theologians and Bible teachers who contribute to this series. Many are old and new friends with whom I have had the honour of studying with and serving alongside for the gospel.

What are your hopes for the Reading the Bible Today commentary series in particular?
My vision is that ministers will make use of the commentaries and run Bible Study groups in parallel with group leaders and members also making use of the commentaries. These commentaries have such potential to help individuals and church communities grow a deep understanding of the Word of God and live lives of worship and praise as they follow Jesus and raise disciples for the Kingdom.

I hope to see this series completed and for generations to benefit from careful scholarship and in their lives and ministries.