Who Was Paul the Apostle?

Statue of Apostle Paul in front of the St Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy.
Statue of Apostle Paul in front of the St Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy.

Paul the Apostle is one of the most crucial figures in the apostolic era. He was an apostle who taught the gospel in the first-century world and managed to open numerous churches from the mid-thirty to mid-fifty AD in Europe and Asia. Paul the Apostle took advantage of his background as a Roman citizen and a Jew to serve as a minister to the Roman and Jewish audiences. According to the book of Acts in the New Testaments, he was dedicated to persecuting all the disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem before his conversion. Paul was traveling to Damascus when Jesus appeared to him. Paul was struck blind, but his sight was restored after 3 days by Ananias of Damascus.

Early Life

According to the book of Acts in the New Testament, Paul’s birth name was Saul. He was a Roman citizen who was born between 5BC and 5AD in Tarsus in a devoted Jewish family. The Bible reveals very little about his family; it only mentions his nephew in Acts 23:16. Paul received his early education from one of the best rabbinical schools in the city, which was led by Pharisee Gamaliel. The school was known for giving its students a balanced-education; therefore, Paul might have been exposed to ethics, philosophy, and classical literature at a very young age. Paul learned to work with his hands during his childhood, and this contributed to his tent-making trade, which he practiced even after he became a Christian.

Nothing more is mentioned about Paul’s background until when he took an active role in the martyrdom of Stephen. His dedication to stopping the spread of Christianity and the zeal of God’s laws knew no bound. After witnessing the stoning of Stephen, Paul led his great wave of persecutions against Christians. After he played a crucial role in stopping the spread of Christianity in Jerusalem, Paul set his sight on doing the same in Damascus. His main goal was capturing Christians and taking them back to Jerusalem for persecution.


Paul’s conversions took place on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, where Jesus appeared to him. Jesus asked him why he was persecuting him before striking him blind. Paul was blinded for 3 days and had to be led to Damascus by his companions. Paul did not take water or food during the 3 days; he only prayed. After 3days, his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus, and he was baptized.

After Conversion

Paul had an amazing ministry that lasted for about 35 years. Some of his significant accomplishments in his life after becoming a Christian include preaching to Emperor Caesar and his family and resurrecting at least one person during his journey. Paul was accompanied by John Mark and Barnabas during his first missionary journey. They traveled from Antioch to Anatolia and Cyprus. Paul blinded a magician known as Elymas for criticizing his preaching in Cyprus. During his second journey, he was accompanied by Silas. Paul cast a divination spirit out of a girl in Philippi, but her masters were unhappy. Therefore they turned against the missionaries and put them in Jail. Paul managed to write about 14 books in the Bible and train many other preachers, and evangelists like Timothy and John Mark before the Romans ended his life in 68AD.


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