After his first name, Saul of Tarsus, Paul belongs to New Testament. Living in a Greek language and culture, Saul naturally knew and understood them to the extent that none of the other Apostles possessed. In addition to Hellenistic culture, he had the right to Roman citizenship. Both qualities were of great importance in his missionary activity. Later, his name transformed into the apostle Paul.
The Apostle Paul was one of the great 12 chosen by Jesus. Saul was the name Paul bore before his conversion. He was born in Tarsus, the capital of the province of Cilicia. He received a good education in his family and the synagogue school according to the rigorous tradition of Judaism. When the Apostle Paul died, he was 59 years old. We know that he was born in AD 5 and died in AC 64.
Paul took the Word of God from the Israelites to the Gentiles so that they could fulfill the divine will. We have no more information about any first-century Christian than about Paul. He is remembered uniquely for his significant contribution to the great Christian work of the last two thousand years.
Biography of Paul
[table id=100 /]
Biblical places from the times of Apostle Paul
Was Paul an apostle of Jesus?
The Apostle Paul spoke and wrote as a sage teacher, strengthened and enlightened by the grace of God; he said and wrote so that the hearers and readers of his epistles might understand them in the spirit of divine truth. His vast culture was perfected, enlightened, and enriched by the words of the Saviour written by the Holy Apostles and evangelists, by the terms of God proclaimed through the mouths of the prophets.
Paul was an outstanding apostle of Jesus. Jesus, in His journey, chose and converted Paul, even changing his name. Gifted by God with exceptional qualities, intelligence, and culture, and being a dynamic and determined man, Paul was ready to receive the New Testament Law and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
In the beginning, the leading role was played by St. Peter and the other apostles, and then in the second part of Acts, Paul’s mission of preaching the Gospel of Christ became the most important theme.
How did Paul become an apostle?
As a missionary, he traveled tirelessly, facing troubles and countless dangers of all kinds, as he confesses: “In hardships, in prisons, in beatings beyond measure, often to death. From the Jews, five times I took forty lashes without one. I was stoned; three times and the ship broke up with me. I spent a night and a day on the high seas, infrequent voyages, in the perils of rivers, in perils from moles. In peril from my kindred, in peril from the heathen, in the cities, and the wilderness. And in peril on the sea, in peril among lying brethren. In toil and labor, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings, in cold and in lack of clothing.”
Even before Jesus called him to the mystery of apostleship, Paul was ordained to be an apostle. Paul became an apostle at the call of Jesus from Damascus. But before that, Paul becomes a rabbi, determined to serve God selflessly. Barnabas, his childhood friend, and teaching companion, who later becomes an apostle of Christ, will pray for Paul that God will turn him on the right path and stop persecuting Christians.
At that time, in 32, Paul served God as a Pharisee, firmly believing in Jewish Law. In the sense of the parable told by Jesus Christ about those who work with the talents received from God at Holy Baptism, Paul was also doing this, growing in Jewish teaching.
Why did God make Paul an apostle?
The person of Apostle Paul is better known than the other Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles, written by his disciple Luke and his Epistles, provide us with rich information about his life and activity. On the stage of early Church history, the towering figure of St Paul remains dominant for more than two decades.
God made Paul an apostle because he was a rabbi. He was chosen by God himself from his mother’s womb. Because although the Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus, a pagan city, his parents were faithful Jews and prayed for his future. Paul’s relationship with God grew more vital in the 30s AD.
As a very young man, Saul went to Jerusalem, where he had a sister, the mother of John Mark, Barnabas’ cousin, to be trained in the Mosaic Law at the school of the famous Rabbi Gamaliel.
Key Verse related to Apostle Paul
As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” He said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.”
What did Paul the Apostle do?
The miracle of Damascus shed light in his soul so that from the persecutor Saul, he became the Apostle Paul. Blinded, amazed, and profoundly changed, Saul is taken by his companions to Damascus, where he receives baptism from the priest Ananias. He thus enters the bosom of the Church as a chosen vessel, to bear the name of Jesus before the Gentiles, as an Apostle called not by man, nor through man, but Jesus Christ and God the Father. He begins to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
The Bible records that Paul the apostle, also called Saul, persecuted Stephen and witnessed his stoning. Hearing the news of the great movement produced by the Apostles’ preaching about Jesus Christ, he came to Jerusalem, where he became a persecutor of Christians. At the stoning of St Stephen, the murderers laid their clothes at Saul’s feet. He desolated the Church in Jerusalem, entering houses and dragging men and women to the dungeon. And then he converted to the faith. But this time to Christianity.
Taking letters of authority from the high priest to the Jewish community in Damascus and receiving a guard from the Sanhedrin, Saul sets off for Damascus. On the way near Damascus, the extraordinary event that changed Rabbi Saul’s life and mission entirely occurred: his conversion to Christianity. At noon that day, in bright light, Jesus Christ appeared to him, saying: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? And he said: Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said: I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest.
How old was Paul when Jesus died?
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, was called to be an apostle, set apart to preach the gospel of God. He was chosen by Jesus Christ to achieve the great purpose of the Gospel, to redeem all unbelievers and make Christian heads of them. Jesus spoke to Saul blandly, asking him why he was persecuting Him because He was the Living Messiah.
According to biblical accounts, the Apostle Paul was 28 years old when Jesus died. The famous apostle is known to be younger than Jesus Christ and younger than the other apostles.
Before his conversion, Saul was a fierce defender of Jewish Law, seeking to capture even Christians who had fled Jerusalem because of persecution. With the power of the Sanhedrin, he set out with a guard for Damascus to bring the Lord’s disciples bound to Jerusalem. At the time of the Saviour Jesus, Damascus was under Roman rule. Much of the city’s population spoke Greek, but a solid Jewish colony was also there. Christianity spread here because the Jews of Damascus had close ties with the Jews of Palestine. This allowed Christians in Jerusalem to take refuge with their brethren in Damascus.
When and how did the apostle Paul die?
Paul the Apostle was formerly called Saul, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, a zealous defender of the Old Law, and a fierce persecutor of the Church of Christ. After his conversion on the Damascus road, St Paul, the chosen vessel of the Lord, preached the word of the Saviour Jesus Christ during his three missionary journeys both among his kind and especially among those of other types: in Greece, Athens, Corinth, Asia, Macedonia, and even Rome. This is why St Paul was called the Apostle of the Gentiles.
The Apostle Paul died in 64 Rome, after the Great Fire caused by Nero at the Circus Maximus. When Nero condemned all Christians to martyrdom and Paul was the herald of the Gospel, he had to die for Christ, the “carpenter,” as the Romans called Him. He was martyred together with Peter, another beloved apostle of Jesus.
The two saints were martyred in Rome during Emperor Nero’s persecution in 67. Their joint commemoration is based on several events: their martyrdom on the same day, which later led believers to establish a feast in honor of their mutilation as early as the second century, and the moving of the relics of the two Apostles.
- Paul continued his apostolate in Spain, Italy, Ephesus, Macedonia, Corinth, Crete, and elsewhere, prompting the Roman authorities to seize him and take him back to prison in Rome, from where he wrote his spiritual testament, the Second Epistle to Timothy, in 664, in which he urged the bishop to enkindle further the grace received through his ordination, to remain steadfast in the faith and to fulfill his ministry with responsibility.
- His missionary work provoked the hatred of him from the Jews, who in 58 seized him in Jerusalem and imprisoned him for two years in Caesarea, Palestine. He was then taken to Rome to be tried by the emperor because he was a Roman citizen. Here he stayed another two years, and he was released after his trial in 63.
- On 29 June 64, he was martyred by beheading by the Romans, who Emperor Nero had ordered to kill all Christians. To wipe this religious current from the face of the earth.
In the year 0044, King Herod Agrippa, to please the Jews, killed the Apostle James and imprisoned him in a dungeon guarded by Saint Peter, wishing to kill him too. But by a miracle, an angel sent by God brought him out of prison. After his miraculous release, St Peter left Judea for Rome, where he suffered his martyrdom. St Peter asked to be crucified upside down to show the difference between his suffering and that of the Saviour Jesus Christ. On the site of Peter’s crucifixion, the Basilica of St Peter was built.
Thank you very much for reading our article and being a part of this untold story of Saint Peter’s life and martyrdom; I hope you found answers to your questions. Please play the following quiz to test all your biblical information about The Apostles of Christ and how they died. May God keep you safe!
Quizlet about The Famous Apostles
Explanation of biblical words
[table id=61 /]
- Broneer, O. (1962). The Apostle Paul and the Isthmian Games. The Biblical Archaeologist, 25(1), 2-31.
- Freed, E. D. (2014). The apostle Paul and his letters. Routledge.
- Schnelle, U. (2005). Apostle Paul: His life and theology. Baker Academic.
- Stendahl, K. (1963). The apostle Paul and the introspective conscience of the West. Harvard Theological Review, 56(3), 199-215.
- Whittington, J. L., Pitts, T. M., Kageler, W. V., & Goodwin, V. L. (2005). Legacy leadership: The leadership wisdom of the Apostle Paul. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(5), 749-770.