Stendahl applied those principles in the 1970s when he chaired the World Council of Churches' Consultation on the Church and the Jewish People, a commission that prepared the way for much important interfaith work of the last 30 years.
Harvard's news report of Stendahl's death said that "through his biblical scholarship, teaching, interfaith work, and church and academic leadership, exerted the kind of profound influence on other people's lives that transcends a single institution or country."
In his native Sweden, Stendahl was Bishop of Stockholm from 1984 to 1988, leading a reform effort on issues such as women's ordination, gay and lesbian rights, and the relationship of church and state. In the early 1990s, he was the first Myra and Robert Kraft and Jacob Hiatt Distinguished Professor of Christian Studies at Brandeis University, where he helped inaugurate a program designed to enhance shared values among students of many religious backgrounds.
As dean at Harvard Divinity School, he quickly expanded the ethnic diversity of the school and was a firm supporter of women in ministry. Women from other seminaries in Boston flocked to his homiletics lectures to hone their preaching styles. According to an obituary in the New York Times, appreciative women seminarians referred to him affectionately as "Sister Krister."
As a scholar, Stendahl shed new light on the writings of the Apostle Paul, pointing out that the Pauline epistles were brilliant treatises on Jewish law and the meaning of sin. Garry Wills, in his 2006 book “What Paul Meant,” said Stendahl helped transport readers “back into the Spirit-haunted, God-driven world of Paul in the heady first charismatic days of Jesus’ revelation.”