The apostle Paul was born in the city of Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia (in southern Turkey) and was named Saul. His father had Roman citizenship, so although he was a jew, Saul was born a Roman citizen. His Latin name was Paul. Saul was raised a Pharisee and as a young man went to Jerusalem to study under Gamaliel, a leading rabbi.

He excelled in these studies and was extremely zealous for the Law of Moses (Acts 22:3, 27-28; Galatians 1:14).

Saul agreed to the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, and went on to lead an intense persecution against Christians, a bright light shone around him and Jesus appeared and spoke with him. Saul immediately believed and became a disciple (Acts 8-9).

After spending a few years in Arabia and Tarsus, Saul was invited to Antioch to teach and preach. From there, he and Barnabas were sent out as missionaries to both Jews and Gentiles living in the Roman provinces. At this point Saul began using his Roman name, Paul. Paul not only was effective speaker, but did many mighty miracles. He later traveled with Timothy and Silas and evangelized Greece and Turkey (Acts 11:25-27; 13:1-3).

Paul was eventually arrested and stood trial in Rome before Nero. He was released and apparently traveled west to Spain. Upon returning to the easter Mediterranean, however, he was rearrested, once again taken to Rome, and this time executed.


Note: not an actual picture of Paul



Leave a Reply