Paul Of The Bible

When questioned about who is Paul in regards to the Bible, one can answer that this predominant New Testament character was an Apostle, writer, missionary, and an exceptional follower of Christ. Though he started his religious experiences as a student of the law and later a Pharisee, this amazing man eventually became the noted expert of doctrine according to the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Paul was born a Jew and was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, but he was also a Roman citizen. God used Paul's diverse background and privileged education to open doors into the Jewish community and into the Gentile world. Believed to be the writer of thirteen letters in the New Testament, this man of privileged social standing and intellect received the attention of the fledgling Christian community, Jewish scholars of the law, and the Roman government. Who better than the Paul of the Bible to usher Christianity into the world beyond Israel?

Also known as Saul, this key New Testament figure came onto the biblical scene as a persecutor. When we ponder who is Paul, we find that this man joined other Pharisees in condemning the new Christian movement which at the time was called the Way. Saul was present at the stoning of the newly appointed Christian leader named Stephen. Those who stoned Stephen threw their outer garments at the feet of Saul. Saul did nothing to stop the stoning and in doing nothing, he supported the murderous actions of the mob who killed the young man who testified of Christ. And Saul, zealous for the law, soon began to persecute the growing Christian church. He received legal documentation that allowed him to arrest those who claimed to be members of the Way. Word spread about Saul among the Christians; Saul was a man to be feared. And then a most unusual event happened to our Paul of the Bible.

On the road to Damascus (a city with a large Jewish population of which a significant number had become Christian), Saul experienced a very unusual encounter. To know who is Paul is to know the life-changing moment when he was blinded by bright light from heaven. The Scriptures tell us that, "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?'" (Acts 9:4) In these famous passages, the voice heard from heaven goes on to address the surprised and ferocious persecutor, saying that Paul was actually persecuting Christ as Christians were persecuted. Though those traveling with him could hear the voice of Christ, they could see nothing. Were told that the infamous Paul of the Bible trembled and was astonished. Christ then told this man to go into the city and there he would be told what to do. Eye sight did not return to Paul for three days.

From the Road to Damascus story, Saul's life took a dramatic turn. It is at this incident that Saul's name became known as Paul and though the members of the church were initially fearful of the man who was now attempting to befriend the believers, they soon saw evidence that the Spirit of the Lord was with him. This great Apostle took three missionary journeys through what is now known as modern day Turkey and Greece. The Paul of the Bible said that his ministry was both to Jews and to Greeks, and this man shared the Gospel throughout all of his travels. Fellowships of small churches sprang up in many of the cities that Paul visited and these included the churches at Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth. The Epistles, or letters, that the Apostle sent to these churches became the New Testament books of Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Romans, First and Second Corinthians, and more. It is in these letters that we truly discover who is Paul. A great theologian emerges and teaches readers about the importance of doctrine and living a holy life in response to a holy calling. In these carefully crafted Epistles, Paul addresses problems that were arising in the church and many of the troubles the church members experienced are issues that modern day Christians face as well. The teachings found in the New Testament letters also address many doctrinal issues that are still debated today. A well-known example of this is found in the letters to the church of Thessalonica which reveals issues surrounding the promised return of Jesus Christ and life after death.

The Apostle Paul's amazing journeys revealed a fearless witness of the power and the grace of Christ Jesus and the passion of a great apologist for the Gospel. Because of his unwavering faith, Paul of the Bible was beaten, flogged, stoned, arrested and held in prison on several occasions. This man proves to be an incredible model of one living the faith and phenomenal teacher of the grace of Christ. The writer of a good portion of the New Testament, this was a man who ran the race and finished well. At the end of his life, the Apostle was imprisoned in Rome after appealing to Caesar which, by the way, was his right as a Roman citizen. According to traditions, he never stood before Caesar, but was martyred under Nero. This Apostle has contributed so much to the development of the church, doctrine, and missionary work, it is impossible to adequately cover his life in this article.

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