St. Paul Essay, Research Paper
1. (25 Points) Discuss Paul?s background, conversion and some of his views/teachings that may have made him different than the Apostles in Jerusalem.
The Apostle Paul?s background is actually quite interesting. Paul was born the son of a Pharisee, who believed strongly in the resurrection. Paul, like his father, also grew up to be a Pharisee. Paul believed very strongly in the Law of God and the importance of obeying the Law of God, as did most of the Pharisees. Paul was a descendent from the Tribe of Benjamin and was also a citizen of Rome. Paul?s life was very heavily influenced by the Greek culture. Paul also had sister and a nephew, who were Christians and became followers of Paul. Paul made his living by making tents, as he was highly educated in this field. Paul studied religion under the Pharisee teacher, Gamaliel, and Gamaliel?s thoughts and his knowledge helped to form the thoughts of Paul. There is also a possibility that Paul was a member of the Sanhedrin because he makes it clear in Acts that he is a ?Pharisee of Pharisees? or in other words, a leader of the Jews. This idea, however, brings about another mystery concerning Paul, which is whether or not he was ever married. In order to be a member of the Sanhedrin, a man had to have a wife, but Paul never once mentions ever having a wife and as a matter of fact he always comes across as being completely against marriage. So the question arises, was Paul married at some point in his life?
Paul was a persecutor of the early church and it is possible that he was even present at the crucifixion of Jesus. Paul was also present during the stoning of Stephen and was completely against all whom claimed to be Christians. Because of this Paul later felt that he had sinned more than any one ever could. It was not until at least two to four years after the resurrection of Christ the Paul converted to Christianity.
Paul?s conversion started as he was walking down the road to Damascus. As Paul was walking, he saw a light from heaven and heard a voice say, ?Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?? Paul then responds immediately addressing the voice as the Lord?s, by saying ?Who are you, Lord?? The Lord then tells Paul that he is Jesus the one that Paul persecutes. Paul is then blinded and led to Damascus by his followers. After three days had passed, a disciple named Ananias went into Damascus to visit with Paul. Ananias was very afraid because he had heard of how Paul had persecuted the church but the Lord commanded Ananias to go, so he obeyed. When Ananias saw Paul, he placed his hands on him and spoke to him and when he did scales fell from Paul?s eyes and his sight was restored. He was immediately baptized and began preaching about Jesus Christ.
Unlike some of the other Apostles, Paul did not retell the stories and miracles of Jesus, but instead Paul centered his gospel on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Paul also went on many missionary journeys trying to evangelize the people of Corinth, Eastern Turkey, Greece and even Spain. He developed many churches on his journeys. Sadly Paul died sometime around 60 to 63 AD.