Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


17. All Things to All People

Part 3 Intro Video

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Write a brief sketch of the life of Paul
  • Identify the major cities on Paul’s missionary journeys
  • List the books Paul wrote and give evidence for his authorship
  • Demonstrate how God was the center of Paul’s theology
  • Discuss Paul’s position on legalism
  • Document how Paul viewed Jesus as the Messiah
  • Summarize Paul’s teaching on redemption, the cross, and the resurrection
  • Illustrate how Paul related ethics to theology

Chapter Summary

  1. Through his own writings and the book of Acts, we are familiar with Paul, who was one of the most important figures in the apostolic church.

  2. Paul was well educated and understood Judaism thoroughly, having studied under the leading rabbi of the day, Gamaliel I.

  3. Paul made at least three missionary journeys on behalf of the early church.

  4. The primary sources for discovering Paul’s theology are his own writings and Acts.

  5. God is at the center of Paul’s theology.

  6. Paul believed that evil is real and influential but will be eternally curbed and punished by God.

  7. Paul believed that the Old Testament has application for all people yet condemned legalism.

  8. The foundation of the gospel Paul preached was the covenant God made with Abraham.

  9. Paul held a high view of Christ not only because of his divine identity but also because he is an expression of God’s concern for sinners.

  10. The cross is the means and central symbol of the redemption Christ won.

  11. The resurrection is important because the Christian message depends on its truth.

  12. Paul’s treatment of the church places it at the heart of his Christology.

  13. Paul taught that the gospel transforms believers’ personal behavior and corporate identity.

  14. Paul’s theology is closely intertwined with his distinctive ethics and eschatology.

Study Questions

  1. Describe two significant events from Paul’s life in each of these four decades: AD 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.

  2. What is ironic about Paul serving as teacher and missionary of the church at Antioch?

  3. How do Jesus’s and Paul’s messages differ? How are they alike?

  4. Why did Paul speak of the law in both negative and positive terms?

  5. Characterize the role played by Abraham in Paul’s teaching.

  6. Why did Paul stress “the grace given to me” in his writings?

  7. Why did Jewish leaders press for Jesus’s crucifixion? Why did Paul see redemption in Jesus’s cruel death?

  8. What does Paul mean by “in Christ” or “in Christ Jesus”?

  9. How does Paul base ethics in theology?

  10. Name three aspects of Paul’s teaching about last things.