Saint Paul was one of the greatest missionary of Christianity and he was the church's first theologian. He was called the Apostle to the Gentiles. Saint Paul was born in Tarsus to Jewish parents in a well brought up Jewish home. Paul was originally named after the ancient Hebrew king Saul. As a young Jew of the Diaspora, Saul changed his everyday name to Paul, a name similar to that of his Hebrew birth name.
Paul's letters reflect a devoted knowledge of the Greek Language, something he probably learned as a young boy in Tarsus. But his thoughts reflect a formal training in the Jewish Law as he was in preparation for becoming a rabbi, perhaps taught in Jerusalem from the famous teacher Gamalie the Elder. Paul was very smart and excelled in the study of the Law and his passion for it led him to persecute the growing Christian church, holding it to be a Jewish division that was untruthful to the Law and therefore it should be destroyed. In Acts, it portrays Paul as a supportive witness to the stoning of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Paul became a Christian after experiencing a vision from Christ during a journey from Jerusalem to Damascus. In referring to this experience, Paul never uses the term conversion, which implies shifting allegiance from one religion to another; instead he clearly perceived the revelation of Jesus Christ to mark the end of all other religious factions. He consistently spoke of God's having "called" him. Paul viewed his call to be a Christian and his call to be an evangelist to the Gentiles as a single and indivisible experience. He accepted the authority of a mission to the Jews, but he was convinced that Christianity was God's call to all the world, and that God was making this call apart from the requirements of the Jewish Law.
According to the commonly known account recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul carried out three well-defined missionary journeys. The letters reveal that Paul's missionary...