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Who is Paul the Apostle?
        PAUL THE APOSTLE
        (small), or SAUL (asked for). 1. Life. - Paul, or Saul, was a native of Tarsus, in Cilicia, and inherited the privileges of a Roman citizen. Acts 22:28-29. His original Hebrew name was "Saul," which he exchanged afterward in his intercourse with the Gentiles for the Hellenistic or Latin form, "Paul." His descent and education were Jewish, but he had also a good knowledge of the Greek language and literature, and quotes from three poets not much known - Aratus, Acts 17:28,- Menander, 1 Cor 15:33; and Epimenides. Tit 1:12. Being a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, born in the Greek city of Tarsus, and a Roman citizen, he combined the three great nationalities of the Roman empire, and was providentially prepared for his apostolic mission among Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and barbarians. Under the instruction of Gamaliel, a distinguished rabbi at Jerusalem, Acts 5:34, he became master of the Jewish law. Acts 22:3; Gal 1:14, and was also taught a useful mechanical trade, according to the custom of the rabbis. Acts 18:3. His residence at Jerusalem commenced at an early period, Acts 26:4, and he was probably from twenty-two to twenty-five years old when Christ commenced his public ministry. He belonged to the strict sect of the Pharisees. Acts 23:6. The preaching of the apostles, and especially the fact of Christ's resurrection, on which they placed their chief stress, excited a violent opposition among the Jews. Stephen, an eloquent and powerful advocate of the new religion, was seized and stoned to death. Among the spectators and promoters of this bloody deed was Paul. Acts 7:58; comp. Gen 22:20. His temperament, talents, and education fitted him to become a leader in the persecution; and he commenced his career with a degree of fanatical zeal bordering on madness. He even sought for authority to go to Damascus, whither many of the disciples had fled after the murder of Stephen, to bind and drag to Jerusalem, without distinction of age or sex, all the followers of Christ whom he could find. Just before he reached Damascus, however, he was arrested by a miraculous light so intense as to deprive him of sight. Acts 9:8-9. At the same time Christ revealed himself as the real object of his persecution. Acts 26:15; comp. 1 Cor 15:8. From this time he became a new man, and received from the lips of Christ himself his commission as an apostle to the Gentiles. Acts 26:16. The miraculous restoration of his sight, his baptism, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit followed in quick succession, and we soon find him zealously preaching the faith he had set out to subvert. Acts 9:20-21; Gal 1:16. To this one purpose he thenceforth gave all the energies of his mind and all the affections of his heart. Forsaking, and indeed forgetting, all other purposes and pursuits, he devoted the residue of his life to the cause of Christ with a singleness of purpose and an energy of devotion that have no parallel in history. The Acts trace his career till the first imprisonment at Rome, which lasted two years, a.d. 61-63, and left him comparatively free to labor for the gospel. After this we are left in the dark. Some scholars maintain that he suffered martyrdom in the Neronian persecution of The Traditional Room in the Centurion's House at Rome in which Paul was Imprisoned. a.d. 64; others that he was freed from the first Roman imprisonment, made new missionary tours in the East, and possibly also to the West as far as Spain, was taken prisoner to Rome a Portrait of Paul. (From a Roman Two-leaved Tablet not later than the Fourth Century.) second time, and suffered martyrdom a.d. 67 or 68. The hypothesis of a second Roman imprisonment has some support in an ancient tradition (mentioned by Eusebius), and explains certain historical allusions in the Pastoral Epistles, which cannot well be placed before the first imprisonment, but were probably composed between the first and the second Roman imprisonments, except Second Timothy, the last of all Pauline Epistles. Ancient tradition is unanimous as to his martyrdom in Rome, and the place of his execution by the sword is still shown a little distance from the city. He himself alludes to his approaching martyrdom in those noble words, 2 Tim 4:6-8: I am already being offered, and the time of my departure is at hand, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me at that day: and not only to me, but also to all them that have loved his appearing. 1. Character of Paul. - Whether we regard his sudden and radical change from an enemy to a most devoted friend of the Christian religion, or the purity and loftiness of his character, or the strength and depth of his mind, or the extent of his missionary labors, or his whole heroic career from his conversion in Damascus to his martyrdom in Rome, St. Paul is beyond doubt one of the most remarkable men that ever lived, and perhaps the greatest man in the history of Christianity. Without money, without family, without friends, lonely by land and lonely by sea, he faced a hostile world and converted it to Christ, whom he himself once persecuted, and by his Epistles and example he still rules the theology and feeds the devotions of believers in all parts of Christendom. His motives are above suspicion; his intellect is apparent on every page of his letters; it is impossible to charge him with hypocrisy or self-delusion, as even infidels admit; he furnishes an irresistible argument for the divine truth of the religion he taught and practised to the end. 2. Chronological Summary of the Chief Events in the Life of Paul (from Schaff's History of the Apostolic Church): Paul's conversion ...................................................................a.d. 37 Sojourn in Arabia ..................................................................37-40 First journey to Jerusalem after his conversion, Gal 1:18; sojourn at Tarsus, and afterward at Antioch, Acts 11:26............................................40 Second journey to Jerusalem, in company with Barnabas, to relieve the famine................................................................. .......................44 Paul's first great missionary journey, with Barnabas and Mark; Cyprus, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe; return to Antioch in Syria........45-49 Apostolic Council at Jerusalem; conflict between Jewish and Gentile Christianity; Paul's third journey to Jerusalem, with Barnabas and Titus; settlement of the difficulty; agreement between the Jewish and Gentile apostles; Paul's return to Antioch; his collision with Peter and Barnabas at Antioch, and temporary separation from the latter................................................................. ..........50 Paul's second missionary journey from Antioch to Asia Minor, Cilicia, Lycaonia, Galatia, Troas, and Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Beraea, Athens, and Corinth). From this tour dates the Christianization of Europe........................ 51 Paul at Corinth (a year and a half). First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians.......................................................... ...............52-53 Paul's fourth journey to Jerusalem (spring); short stay at Antioch. His third missionary tour (autumn).......................................................54 Paul at Ephesus (three years); Epistle to the Galatians (56 or 57). Excursion to Macedonia, Corinth, and Crete (not mentioned in the Acts); First Epistle to Timothy (?). Return to Ephesus. First Epistle to the Corinthians (spring, 57).................................................................... ...........54-57 Paul's departure from Ephesus (summer) to Macedonia. Second Epistle to the Corinthians............................................................ .............57 Paul's third sojourn at Corinth (three months). Epistle to the Romans...............................................................57 ,58 Paul's fifth and last journey to Jerusalem (spring), where he is arrested and sent to Caesarea............................................................... .58 Paul's captivity at Caesarea. Testimony before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa (the Gospel of Luke and the Acts commenced at Caesarea, and concluded at Rome)...............................................................58- 60 Paul's voyage to Rome (autumn); shipwreck at Malta; arrival at Rome (spring, 61)............................................................60,61 Paul's first captivity at Rome. Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon.....................................................61-63 Conflagration at Rome (July); Neronian persecution of the Christians; martyrdom of Paul (?)................................................64 Hypothesis of a second Roman captivity and preceding missionary journeys to the East, and possibly to Spain. First Epistle to Timothy; Titus (Hebrews?), Second Timothy. .......................................................63-67 1. The Epistles of Paul are thirteen, or, if we count the Hebrews (as the product of Paul's mind, though probably not of his pen), fourteen, in number. They are the most remarkable body of correspondence in the history of literature. They are tracts for the times, and yet tracts for all times. They will be found separately considered under their titles. Here only some general remarks are given. They may be arranged differently. (a) Chronologically: 1 and 2 Thessalonians, written a.d. 52, 53, from Corinth. Galatians, written a.d. 56-57, from Ephesus. 1 Corinthians, written a.d. 57, from Ephesus. 2 Corinthians, written a.d. 57, from Macedonia. Romans, written a.d. 58, from Corinth. Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon, written a.d. 61-63, from Rome. Hebrews, written a.d. 64 (?), from Italy. 1 Timothy and Titus, written a.d. 65 or 57 (?), from Macedonia. 2 Timothy, written a.d. 67 or 6-4 (?), from Rome. The time of the composition of the Pastoral Epistles depends upon the question of the second Roman captivity. The Second Epistle to Timothy was at all events the last, whether written in the first or second captivity. (b) Topically Romans and Galatians:doctrines of sin and grace. 1 and 2 Corinthians: moral and practical questions. Colossians and Philippians :person of Christ. Ephesians: the Church of Christ. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: the second advent. 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus: church government and pastoral care. Philemon: slavery. Hebrews: the eternal priesthood and sacrifice of Christ. (c) As to importance, the order in our Bible is pretty correct. The Epistles are all important, but were not equally well understood in all ages of the Church. Thus the Galatians and Romans were more appreciated in the time of the Reformation than in any preceding century; they are the stronghold of the evangelical doctrines of total depravity and salvation by free grace. Paul's Epistles give us the most complete exhibition of the various doctrines of Christianity and of the spiritual life of the apostolic Church, and are applicable to all ages and congregations. Works on the life and Epistles of Paul are very numerous, and constantly increasing. We mention only three, which are very elaborate, yet popular, and enriched with fine maps and illustrations: Conybeare and Howson (1854 and later editions), Thomas Lewin (1875, 2 vols.), and Canon Farrar (1879, 2 vols.). - See map of journeys of St. Paul at the close of this volume.


Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'Paul the Apostle' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary".
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