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From Saul to Paul: Saul of Tarsus' Conversion - Essay Example

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From Saul to Paul: Saul of Tarsus' Conversion

Prior to his conversion, he was called Saul and was a Jew born in Tarsus and came from an honorable family of tent-makers (Gulledge). He was born two years before the birth of Christ. As a Roman citizen, Saul was a Pharisee and belonged to the tribe of Benjamin (Gulledge; Padfield). Though his family’s trade was stitching tents, he was sent to a Jewish school in Jerusalem in order to study law (Gulledge). Also, due to his Hebrew background and religious and intellectual upbringing he was very zealous and pious towards God. However before converting and becoming a Christian, Saul rampaged and persecuted the followers of Christ, raiding churches and imprisoning countless saints (Gulledge; Padfield). It is reported that Jesus even spoke to him before he converted and inquired about his violent behavior towards the Christians (“Saul of Tarsus”). Saul’s enlightenment and conversion took place on the road to Damascus, where he had a vision of Christ who personally revealed the Gospel to him (“Saul of Tarsus”). There he became temporarily blind by a bright light and had a radical change of mind, grasping the teachings of Christ and toiling effortlessly to spread the word (“Saul of Tarsus”). He soon traveled to Damascus where he was baptized and healed of his blindness. Through out his missionary work (where he began being referred to as Paul) he endured physical and verbal assaults and hardships, which only strengthened his faith in Christ and brought him closer to God and his work (“Saul of Tarsus”). The early part of Paul’s journeys brought him to Antioch where he preached that Jesus was a descendant of David and that he was brought to Israel by God (Padfield). Paul revealed the teachings of Jesus and taught people about his works and sacrifices. He gathered the entire city around him even quoting from the Hebrew scripture that Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah (Padfield). There Paul announced that his mission was for the Gentiles and succeeded in forming Antioch as a major center for Christian teachings. Paul continued his journeys around the Mediterranean Sea performing miracles and healing people (Padfield). He added more churches and followers daily, bringing many people to the new faith. He even traveled to Berea and Athens, where he preached the word of God to the Jews and the Greeks, gaining loyal believers who helped him with his missionary journeys and established one of the strongest churches in Ephesus (Padfield; “Saul of Tarsus”). Numerous plots were made by the Jews to persecute and even kill Paul, inciting the crowds where he preached (Gulledge; “Saul of Tarsus”). Many times he was beaten, stoned and even imprisoned during his missionary journeys. Besides preaching, Paul wrote fourteen epistles forming the earliest writings of the New Testament (Padfield). He taught and wrote about the theology of atonement and redemption from sin, emphasizing the value of Law and morality. He wrote many letters to the various churches he visited and established, explaining in detail the extent of the Christian faith and the moral life of Jesus (Padfield). His letters and writings established one of the first written accounts of Christianity, its spirituality, and references to the Last Supper. Before his final journey to Rome, Paul went to Jerusalem in order to present the community there with some money and gifts (“ ...Show more

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Saul to Paul Saul of Tarsus' Conversion St. Paul was known as Saul of Tarsus before his pivotal conversion to Christianity. He became one of the most influential figures shaping significantly the writings, thinking and the gospel through out early Christian history (Padfield)…
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