was born about the same time as our Lord, approximately 2000 years ago.
name was Saul and probably.(no
one's sure exactly about the origin of his name Paul).the
name Paul was also given to him in infancy for use in the Gentile world,
as 'Saul' would be his Hebrew
13:9 "Then Saul, who also is called Paul....."
Paul was a native of Tarsus,
the capital of Cilicia, a Roman
province in the south east of Asia Minor.(map).
That city stood on the banks of the river Cydnus, which was navigable thus
far; hence it became a centre of extensive commercial traffic with many
countries along the shores of the Mediterranean, as well as with the countries
of central Asia Minor. It thus became a city distinguished for the wealth
of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was also the seat
of a famous university, higher in reputation even than the universities
of Athens and Alexandria, the only others that then existed. Here Saul
of the New Testament was born and here he spent his youth, doubtless enjoying
the best education his native city could afford. His father was of the
of the Jews, a Pharisee,
of the tribe of Benjamin,
of pure and unmixed Jewish blood:.Acts
23:6; 26:4,5; Philippians
3:4-6. We learn nothing regarding Paul's mother.
education having been completed, Saul was sent, when about thirteen years
of age probably, to the great Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem
as a student of the law.
Here he became a pupil of
the celebrated rabbi.Gamaliel.(Acts
here he spent many years in an elaborate study of the Scriptures.(that
is, the only Scriptures available at the time and those were the Old
of the many questions concerning them with which the rabbis exercised themselves.
That's why he later could refer to himself as
he did in the books of Corinthians
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We read of Paul's sister
and his sister's son.(Acts
of other relatives:.Romans
a Jew, his father was a Roman citizen. How he obtained this privilege we
are not informed. It might be bought or won by distinguished service to
the state or acquired in several other ways; at all events, his son was
22:28. It was a valuable privilege and one that was to prove of great
use to Paul, although not in the way in which his father might have been
expected to desire him to make use of it:.Acts
22:22-29; 23:27. Perhaps the
most natural career for the youth to follow was that of a merchant. But
it was decided that...he should go to college and become a rabbi, that
is, a minister, a teacher and a lawyer all in one.
During these years of diligent
study he lived "in all good conscience" unstained by the vices of that
According to Jewish custom,
however, he learned a trade before entering on the more direct preparation
for the sacred profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents
from goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in Tarsus.
After the period of his student
life expired, he probably left Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have
been engaged in connection with some synagogue
for some years. But we find him back again at Jerusalem very soon after
the death of Emmanuel. Here he now learned the particulars regarding the
crucifixion and the rise of the unconventional
new sect of the
For some two years after
the day of Pentecost,
was quietly spreading its influence in Jerusalem.
Paul was highly intelligent,
as evidenced by his background,
approach to things, by what he said in his public speeches, by his
ability to gain support of others and by his honest comments after his
Paul, a man trained so well
in the scriptures.(Galatians
at that time, which was the Old Testament, just did
not at all know
God, that is, until this Great Infinite Consciousness we call God revealed
Himself to Paul:.Acts
Persecution arose against
Stephen, a deacon.(Acts
6:5,8,9 and on to the end of chapter 7; perhaps
it was verses 51-54 in chapter
seven that brought Stephen to his unwisely death:.John
with some of the followers back then of the way of love of the Infinite
At length this Stephen, one
of the seven deacons.(a
minister, a servant),
gave forth public and aggressive testimony.that
was the Messiah
and this led to much excitement among the Jews and much disputation
in their synogogues.
Paul was at this time probably
a member of the great
and became the active leader
in the furious persecution by which.the
sought to exterminate
what came to be called Christianity:.Acts
His conversion, his name was changed from Saul to Paul of Tarsus; whom
we know in the Bible today as Paul).took
a prominent part in the death of Stephen, before Paul's conversion.
No doubt Paul, looking back
after his conversion, learned a lesson
from Stephen's approach.
used psychology in his ways of getting the message of the
But the object of this persecution
8:4 "Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching
continued its growth.
The anger of
persecutor Paul was thereby kindled into a fiercer flame. Paul hated
those of this new way of love, called Christian
and was out to get them, similar to those of his
sect of an earlier time when Christ was on Earth in the physical form
of the one we call Emmanuel. That's what religion based on corruption of
the Old Testament Mosaic Law did for Paul. He was
so sure he was right, what with all the
education he had received. But Paul's religion led him to completely
miss the overall purpose of life and so it is true with a lot, but not
all, of religion.
Hearing that fugitives had
taken refuge in Damascus.(map),
Paul obtained letters from the chief priest authorizing him to proceed
thither on his persecuting career:.Acts
22:5. This was a long journey of about 130 miles, which would occupy
perhaps six days, during which, with his few attendants, he steadily went
out threatenings and slaughter":.Acts
crisis of Paul's life was at hand, leading
to his conversion away from hate and to love.