And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

I Corinthians 15:28

If you have to believe in the doctrine of the Trinity to be a Christian (as we are told by the Nicene Creed), then Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was not a Christian.

The above quote is just one of many which clearly puts Jesus/Christ in a subordinate position to God, which is not possible if Jesus/Christ is himself God.

I’m writing Jesus/Christ here when referencing Paul because a reading of Paul’s letters indicates that Paul was way more interested in the concept of Christ than in the personage of Jesus of Nazareth. A close reading of Paul, along with Acts, indicates that Paul was a Greek-trained Jew who had either a mystical experience or a psychotic breakdown. In either case, he was almost entirely disinterested in what Jesus actually said and did, and was only using the nascent Jesus movement to promulgate his new found worldview.

Jesus of Nazareth was a convenient vehicle for Paul to utilize to spread his doctrine, much of which had little to nothing to do with Jesus himself. It’s a way easier sell to claim that someone else is divine that to claim that you yourself are. So, he inserted into the mouth of Jesus/Christ those ideas that he had decided on anyway.

I mention that Paul was “Greek trained” because at the time any Greek educated person would automatically have been steeped in Greek philosophy — especially, for our purposes here, Plato and the Stoics. This reading makes way more sense than the tortured and convoluted interpretation one has to bear in order to get the Christianity of the Nicene Creed out of the writings of Paul. This also explains why Paul was more comfortable preaching to the “pagans” than to the Jews.

Paul won the “marketing battle” for early Christianity, which is why his writings dominate the New Testament, but he never met Jesus (at least in Jesus’ earthly life) and he clearly was at odds with the actual disciples of Jesus.

TAKE AWAY: Try to consider the life and teachings of Jesus without wearing “Paul colored glasses.”

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bartolomeo_Montagna_-Saint_Paul-_Google_Art_Project.jpg