Paul of Tarsus
Contribution to the development and expression of Christianity
Paul of Tarsus (originally Saul of Tarsus) is widely considered to be central to the early development and adoption of Christianity. Many Christians view him as an important interpreter of the teachings of Jesus. Little is known of the birth and early childhood of Paul, then known as Saul. It is known in the scriptures that he was born in the city of Tarsus (Acts 22:3) located in the Roman province of Cilicia around the year 5 A.D. Saul left his home during his early adolescence and was taken to Jerusalem for his formal education in the most prominent rabbinical schools of that day. Young Saul had the privilege to be trained by Gamaliel, the most outstanding rabbi teacher of that time (Acts 22:3). Gamaliel was one of the most honourable and reputable Jewish rabbis during the days of the Apostles (Acts 5:34).
It was in this environment that Saul received his education in the religion of Judaism and became well versed in its dogma and apologetics. During his educational years it was instilled in him a devout hatred for Christ and his followers and for this reason he became the perfect advocate in the employment of the Sanhedrin (the supreme council, or court, in Ancient Israel) against the Christians. Saul made many trips throughout the Roman world in his years in Jerusalem as he did in Acts 9:1-2, (“And Saul, yet breathing out threatening’s and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”) in arresting and testifying against the followers of Jesus Christ.
In Acts 9:1-2 Saul was practicing his anti-Christian work when he left Jerusalem under the authority of the High Priest. His purpose was to bring any person that he may happen to find “of this way” back to Jerusalem for prosecution....
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