Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles

Updated 9 May 2005

By the Rev'd Ed Swayze

Paul was born in Tarsus, a city in what is now modern day Turkey (Acts 22:3) and educated under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He was a Jew and a Pharisee. Pharisees were a party within the Jewish faith that emphasized learning the Hebrew scriptures, particularly the Torah and encouraged those laws to be followed.

He consented to the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58) and he persecuted the church. On the way to Damascus to persecute the church, he was struck down by a bright light, which was Jesus (Acts 9: 1-31).

He went into Arabia (Gal 1:17) preached in Damascus (Gal 1:17), after 3 years went up to Jerusalem, Acts 9:26-28; name changed to Paul and went to Syria and Cilicia.  After 14 years he went to Jerusalem where it was agreed he would have the role of being a missionary to the Gentiles (non-Jews) and went on several journeys planting a number of churches.

He wrote letters to the churches to address problems that they were encountering and tried to strengthen them. Many of his letters were kept and they became scripture.

The first council of the church was held to work out a problem brought by Paul, whether Gentiles had to follow the laws of the Jews (circumcision, kosher food laws, etc.). It was agreed that Christians abstain from what has been scarified to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchasitity. (Acts 15:1-29, Gal. 2:1-10)

He was arrested in Jerusalem and appealed to Caesar. Paul was a Roman citizen and as such had the right to appeal to Caesar. So he was transported to Rome. It is believed he was held for 2 years and released. It is thought he then traveled to Spain (Rom 15:24).

Tradition has it that the Roman Emperor Nero martyred him and Peter in Rome in 64 during the persecution. Paul would have been beheaded by a sword since he was a Roman citizen.

Conversion

31/32

1st visit to Jerusalem

34/35

Stay in Syria & Cilicia

34/35 - 48

1st journey to Asia Minor & Greece

48 - 51/52

2nd journey to Asia Minor & Greece

51/52 - 55/56

Arrival in Jerusalem

55/56

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