With regards to Paul calling the "cross" a "tree," I think the only
reference to that (at least that I can remember, I don't have a concordance
handy) is in Gal 3:13 where Paul is basically quoting Deut. 21:23. The
word used in Gal 3:13 is _xulou_ [or, _ksulou_, depending on your
transliteration ;-)], and, having no LXX available here at work, I have no
idea if that is a quote from the Greek OT or if Paul has translated the
Hebrew into Greek. At any rate, I cannot remember any other time that Paul
refers to the "cross" as a "tree". In fact, doesn't Paul speak more of
Jesus being "crucified" or of his "death" than of the actual "cross?"
(N.B.--"Crucified"= _staurow_, a root similar to the word _stauros_). But,
hey, that is a different rabbit to chase! :-) Greg, since you posted the
original question, maybe you can get me on the right track here. Are you
asking if Paul's quote of Deut had a "missionary" motivation? Or are you
asking if Paul had a theological agenda for using "tree" instead of
"cross"? I'm not sure what you are looking for here, but with reference to
Gal 3:13, the simplest answer to your question would be that Paul used
"tree" instead of "cross" because his source (i.e., Deut) used "tree"
instead of "cross". Are you asking more than that?