Apostle Paul, Resume

Paul PrisonThe Apostle Paul (name means short) is the author of 13 letters in the New Testament. Scholars argue that he is possibly the author of Hebrews as well. Paul was born as Saul in the city of Tarsus in the region of Cilicia (Acts 22:3). Tarsus is located near the northeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea. He was born a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5). He grew up in Jerusalem and studied under the famous teacher Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) and he was a member of the Pharisees (Philippians 3:5). Paul’s father was a member of the Pharisees (Acts 23:6). Extra Biblical source (Holman Bible Dictionary) indicates that Paul’s family was moderately wealthy deriving their income from leather goods and tent making. Paul by trade was a tentmaker (Acts 18:3). He did not marry (1 Corinthians 7:8). Paul was a Roman citizen and he used this to his advantage on his travels (Acts 23:27).

Prior to his conversion, Saul was not a friend of believers in Jesus.  He arrested and imprisoned believers. He was extremely zealous and had passion for Judaism. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews (Philippians 3:5). Approval of death and persecution of believers was given by Paul. He chased, persecuted, and blasphemed them to distant cities. Paul even described his own behavior as exceedingly mad or furious (Acts 26:10-11). He was present at the stoning of the martyr Stephen (Acts 7:58). In retrospect, Paul considered himself not fit to be an apostle because of his actions (1 Corinthians 15:9). Of all of the sinners, he is the chief or foremost (1 Timothy 1:15).

His conversion and belief in Jesus as the Messiah took place on the road to Damascus. Jesus Himself provided all the proof Paul would need to become a believer: a bright light, a voice, and identification. He was blinded and healed a few days later in Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). After his conversion, he spent three years in Arabia (Galatians 1:17).

Paul frequently reminded readers that he was called to be an apostle by the will of God in the introduction of his epistles. Specifically, he was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 13:47-48; Romans 11:13; 15:16).

Paul made four missionary journeys. He traveled in the Roman province of Galatia during his first trip, specifically in south, central Asia Minor. On the second trip, Paul travels through Asia Minor and enters into southeast Europe. Specifically, he travels into the regions of Macedonia, Achaia (the modern day coastal areas of Greece). Ultimately, Paul ends up in Rome via ship on the Mediterranean Sea.

To say Paul suffered many hardships during his travels is an understatement. He was persecuted and jailed many times over. He escaped with his life on many occasions. Paul was expelled from cities and left for dead.  Riots resulted because of his belief in Christ and the stance he took. He received 39 lashes five times, was beaten with a rod three times, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, and nearly drowned. He faced dangers from robbers, fellow countrymen, foreigners, false teachers, wildlife, and sea life. Paul was often hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, weary, and suffered pain (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Paul was constantly kept in check by the “thorn” in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Paul also provides a definitive statement on what the gospel is. God provided the solution to the sin problem at the cross of Jesus Christ. When Christ died on the cross He paid the penalty for all of our sins, past, present and future. Christ was buried. Christ was raised from the dead. The Bible calls this message the “good news” or the “gospel”. Man is saved on the condition of believing (putting faith in) the gospel –1 Corinthians 15:1-3; Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16.

Christ’s resurrection validates His payment for sin on the cross. The resurrection confirms the fact of the good news.

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