Paavo was born in Nashville, and grew up in Finland as a missionary kid before moving to the United States to go to college at Freed-Hardeman University. He attained his M. Div degree from Harding School of Theology, and his PhD in Old Testament from Asbury Theological Seminary. He has also attended intensive Hebrew studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is a trained spiritual director through the Order of Sustainable Faith.
He teaches classes in Hebrew language and Old Testament, and his research interests are focused on the intersection of the Hebrew Bible and spiritual formation, ethics, and philosophy. He also serves as the theological librarian and teaches the Introduction to Theological Studies course. He is the author of The Holiness Composition in the Book of Exodus (2017), The Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible: Deuteronomy 12-26 (with Bill T. Arnold; 2022), and The Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible: Deuteronomy 27-34 (with Bill T. Arnold; 2023).
He lives in Columbia, TN, with his wife Laurie and daughter Hannah, and he enjoys soccer, running, gardening, reading, and ice hockey.