An Appraisal of Paul
Before we examine the final books of the New Testament, let us pause and assess what we have found in Paul's epistles.
The Christian understanding of race is dependent primarily on Paul -- both his writings and his example. While Jesus stayed largely within the Jewish worldview in his ministry and teachings, Paul not only travelled to the Gentiles, he recast the meaning of Jesus' life and death in terms that Gentiles could understand. Nor did he require that they undergo a long apprenticeship in Jewish history and dogma before being accepted (for example, see Acts 16:33). However, in opening the door of faith to Gentiles, Paul did not start with Jesus' life and teachings, and drop everything that went before. Instead, he reinterpreted the entire Old Testament legacy so that it was a meaningful prelude to the main event of the Gospel. It is vital to our understanding of Paul's Gospel, and of the apostle himself, that we understand his use of Scripture.