Paul the Apostle
Paul the Apostle (c. AD 5 – c. AD 67) also "the Apostle Paul", "Saint Paul" and "Saul of Tarsus", is perhaps the most influential early Christian missionary. The writings ascribed to him by the church (the Pauline epistles) form a considerable portion of the New Testament. The influence on Christian thinking of the epistles ascribed to him has been significant, due in part to his association as a prominent apostle of Christianity during the spreading of the Gospel through early Christian communities across the Roman Empire. According to writings in the New Testament, Paul was known as Saul prior to his conversion, and was dedicated to the persecution of the early disciples of Jesus in the area of Jerusalem. In the narrative of the book of Acts, while traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to "bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem", the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus, and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. Along with Simon Peter and James the Just he was one of the most prominent early Christian leaders. Fourteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul, although his authorship of seven of the fourteen is questioned by modern scholars. Augustine of Hippo developed Paul's idea that salvation is based on faith and not "works of the law". Martin Luther's interpretation of Paul's writings heavily influenced Luther's doctrine of sola fide. Paul's conversion dramatically changed the course of his life. Through his missionary activity and writings he eventually transformed religious belief and philosophy around the Mediterranean Basin. His leadership, influence and legacy led to the formation of communities dominated by Gentile groups that worshiped the God of Israel, adhered to the "Judaic moral code", but relaxed or abandoned the ritual and dietary teachings of the Law of Moses, that these laws and rituals had either been fulfilled in the life of Christ or were symbolic precursors of Christ, all on the basis of Paul's teachings of the life and works of Jesus Christ and his teaching of a New Covenant (or "new testament") established through Jesus' death and resurrection. The Bible does not record Paul's death.
His given name was Saul ( "asked for, prayed for"), perhaps after the biblical king Saul, a fellow Benjamite and the first king of Israel. In biblical Greek: Saul, Saulos, and Paulos. And in Latin: Saul, Saulus and Paulus. In the Book of Acts, when he had the vision that led to his conversion on the Road to Damascus, Jesus called him "Saul, Saul", in the Hebrew tongue, and later, in a vision to Ananias of Damascus, "the Lord" referred to him as "Saul, of Tarsus". When Ananias came to restore his sight, he called him "Brother Saul".In Acts 13:9, the author indicates a name change by saying "...Saul, (who also is called Paul,)..." and thereafter refers to him as Paul. He is called Paul in all other Bible books where he is mentioned.
ST. PAUL'S CALL TO CONVERSION and NEW LIFE AS A CHRISTIAN
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