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Key thinkers throughout Christian history have under gone personal and then led cooperate Christian revolutions because of their understanding of the writings of the Apostle Paul.
One thinks of Saint Augustin in the early 4th century with his dramatic conversion and strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God in leading the lives of People and also in the entire universe and cosmos.
Of course it will come as a surprise to some people that James was initially a more central and foundational Christian leader than Peter but this appears to be what Acts in its first fifteen chapters discourses as James is described as the chief elder of the church in Jerusalem, even as Peter quickly becomes involved in a more iterant ministry due to the persecution of Christians in more heavily Jewish portions of the Roman Empire and Peter remains a very significant Christian leader.
His right hand man was the Apostle John and Jude is clearly the least significant of the four.
More will be discussed about these individuals when we introduce the letter which they wrote.
After Jesus Christ, himself, probably no other single individual was more influential in the foundation and formation of Christianity in its early years or perhaps in any period of its history.
For the very concise but well-chosen introductory comments and an overview of Paul’s life and letters, one may turn to Richard Longnecker’s little book, the Ministry and Message of Paul or for a slightly more detailed and up to date survey of scholarship but nevertheless still at an introductory level N. A similar sized and up to date equivalent is John Paul Hills, Paul and His Letters.