The Life And Ministry Of The Apostle Paul

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The Life And Ministry Of The Apostle Paul

The beginnings of my life are an interesting jumble, and they highlight the cosmopolitan world that was the Roman Empire. I was born in an Asian city now located on the southern coast of Turkey called Tarsus in about the year 10. My parents were Jewish, presumably strict Pharisees. They were also Roman citizens.

It is important to note that even though Judea was within the Roman Empire most Jews were not Roman citizens. Citizenship outside of Italy was an honor reserved for people who made great contributions to the Empire. Thus, we may presume that my mother and father were people of influence and perhaps even moderate wealth.

At the age of fourteen, I was sent to Jerusalem to train to be a Rabbi. My teacher was a prominent man named Gamaliel. Rabbis, at the time, were also taught another trade. The idea was to keep teachers from becoming a burden on society. They also wanted to have something to fall back on during hard times. Over the years I was trained to be a tent-maker.

As time went on I grew to be a man of firm convictions and fiery temperament. I always acted on my beliefs. Thus, when I was confronted with what I understood to be a heresy to Judaism, I worked with all my might to quell it. This heresy would one day come to be known as Christianity and at that time I, referred to then as Saul of Tarsus, was among the foremost of its persecutors.

I held a man's coat at the stoning of Stephen, and though I did not participate, I encouraged the violent act that destroyed the first of the martyrs. Then I participated in a general persecution including, "going from house to house, he dragged out the believers, both men and women and threw them into jail." It is shameful f...

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...also infuse the close adherents of my words today.

My personality was quite charismatic. It is said that I was a sure leader of men. Seldom was I plagued with self doubt. I saw my mission as not only bringing the "Good News" to the Gentiles, but also to organize the Church so that it would grow, even when I was not present to urge it on. Thus, I created an organization and trained leaders. This organization would one day become modern Christianity as it came to supersede the original authority of the Church in Jerusalem.

Today Christians see Christ somewhat through the prism of Paul's teaching. My dear follower, Luke, would write one of the Gospels as well as the Book of Acts. My life was vitally shaped by a dramatic meeting with Christ on the Road to Demascus and it was this drama, coupled with his fervor that would mold Christianity for the next two Millenia.

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