Paul the Preacher
Paul’s major contribution to the spread of the new way was his ability to interpret for Jews and Gentiles alike the significance of Jesus and apply that analysis to people’s lives. Paul was not a systematic theologian, that is, he did not put together an over-riding synthesis of Christian doctrine and morality. Rather, he was a missionary; he evangelized. He challenged Jews to see Jesus as the ongoing revelation of God; he invited Gentiles to accept Jesus and his teachings as a way to achieve everlasting life. When Christian assemblies argued among themselves or disputed a teaching or drifted away from the practice of the faith, Paul responded with reprimands, encouragement, and pleading. Often he had to defend his own authority to preach the gospel. We can discern a “Pauline” theology and call him a theologian, but above all he was a preacher.