There is no figure, other than Jesus Christ, that is more popular in the history of Christianity than the Apostle Paul. This could be a controversial point among Christian believers but the New Testament part of the Bible is the living witness to this claim. Others claimed that based on the four Gospels St. Peter was the first person who was tasked to lead the church established by Jesus Christ and was the key person in the establishment of Christianity and Paul was not even among the 12 disciples.
Whoever among them was the first head of the church is not the concern here. Our focus is on the contribution of St. Paul being an apostle of Christ to the organization he has left his followers. Review of the literatures available has led us to a point that St. Paul has the greatest contributions in the growth of the Christian faith from Jewish to the non-Jewish populace of the world. This essay is aimed to present the underlying support facts on this claim based from the books of the New Testament, which are the major source of information concerning the major inputs of St. Paul to the church. Other facts based on the succeeding history could be a good point to consider in evaluating the impact of these contributions.
The identified contributions
To strengthen the assertion mentioned above it is proper to mention the remarkable achievement of the Apostle Paul in the spread of the Christian religion throughout the world. Among which are: 1) more than 50% of the contents of the books comprising the New Testament can be connected to him, his works in spreading the Good News and the letters he wrote to the early believers and the doctrines these documents contained; and 2) he has traveled more places in the world to spread the Gospels which were instrumental in the conversions of a lot of non-Jewish people to the Christian faith. Because of this he was the key figure in establishing a strong foundation of Christianity and the institution of the Catholic Church in Rome and later throughout the world.
The New Testament documents: Messages and doctrines based on early works
The first remarkable point we considered as a great contribution of Saint Paul to the Christian society is the collection of books whose contents bear the messages and records of works of his ministry. Among the 27 books of the New Testament, which include the 4 Gospels, Acts, 21 epistles, and the Revelation, majority or about 15 (The Acts and 14 epistles) are accounted to St. Paul (Religious Facts, 2007). There are questions, however, on the authorship of the epistles as it is obvious that St. Paul did not write them personally but the contents were the issue considered here. Scholars who argued that some of these epistles were not written by Paul agreed that they are written by others who have heard Paul's teachings.
The Acts only covered in the early chapters the works of the other disciples such as Peter, John, James, and others, and the rest covered the journeys of St. Paul from Jerusalem to other parts of Rome as he proclaimed the message of the Christianity. The Pauline epistles clearly conveyed the message from Apostle Paul, either alone or with other Christian believer with him, for the early believers or community of believers.
This does not mean that the other disciples did not do their job. It simply means that Paul's ministry was able to use better means in conveying the message and took a medium that would be instrumental in preserving the teachings through written documents for use by future generations.
Most of the teaching contained in the epistles of Paul and the Acts were used as basis of the practices and guiding principles of the early communities especially the non-Jews in the early part of Christian history and were adopted even by the later Christian churches. They were used as reference to clarify misunderstanding between Jew and gentile believers of Christianity.
Among the famous teachings of Paul was justification by faith and the exclusion of the