Michael Bird recently delivered a paper at a conference on New Perspectives on Paul and the Jews in Leuven. In his report he made an excellent point:
We have to remember that Paul’s message of the cross was a stumbling block to Jews (1 Cor. 1.18-19) and Paul got himself flogged by synagogue officials he says five times (2 Cor. 11.24). If in our quest to find a Paul congenial to promoting good Jewish-Christian relations we end up with a Paul who is neither offensive nor whippable, then that is proof that we have made Paul in our own image.
For expositors, this is an important reminder that we get the text right. Meaning still matters. Don’t put words in the Apostle’s mouth, don’t take liberties with God’s Word, and make sure that Paul, Peter, and the rest would actually recognize your message. The message is a stumbling block to some and foolishness to others but we keep preaching Christ.