St. Paul

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Paul was born in Tarsus, which is in southern Turkey. His early ministry was in Turkey. I imagine that crossing over into Macedonia (Greek territory--moving from Asia to Europe) was a big step out of his "comfort zone."

"For someone will say, 'His letters are severe and forceful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible'" (2 Cor 10:10).

  • Catholic Encyclopedia (1917--a lot of scholarship has taken place since then--see the table below from the JBC):
Year Event Scriptural refs
35 Conversion
37 first visit to Jerusalem
37-43 sojourn at Tarsus
43-44 apostolate at Antioch
44 or 45 second visit to Jerusalem
45-49 first mission
49 or 50 third visit to Jerusalem
50-53 second mission
52 (1 and 2 Thessalonians)
53 fourth visit to Jerusalem
53-57 third mission
56 (1 and 2 Corinthians; Galatians)
57 (Romans)
57 fifth visit to Jerusalem, arrest
59 arrival of Festus, departure for Rome
60-62 captivity at Rome
61 (Philemon; Colossians; Ephesians; Philippians)
62-66 second period of activity
66 (1 Timothy; Titus), second arrest
67 (2 Timothy), martyrdom
  • Wikipedia
    • "An Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the eighth day" (Philippians 3:5).
  • Jerome Biblical Commentary (1990)
Date Epistle
50-51 1 Thessalonians Notes
54 Galatians Notes
54-58 Philippians
54-57 1 Corinthians
54-55 2 Corinthians
57-58 Romans
56-63 Philemon
64-67 Peter and Paul martyred in Rome during Nero's reign
66-70 Jewish revolt against Romans -- 2nd destruction of Temple
70-80 Colossians
after Col Ephesians
51-100? 2 Thessalonians
~100 Titus
~100 1 Timothy (author of Titus)
~100 2 Timothy (author of Titus)

Conversion Stories

Acts 9, 22, 26

9:1-22 Acts 22:3-16 Acts 26:12-18
a light from heaven flashed about him a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me.
he fell to the ground I fell to the ground We all fell to the ground.
and heard a voice saying to him, and heard a voice saying to me I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language
"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?
It hurts you to kick against the goad.
I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting. I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
but rise and enter the city, Rise and go into Damascus, But rise and stand on your feet;
for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the Gentiles--to whom I will send you to open their eye, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
and you will be told what you are to do." and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do."
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice My companions ... did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me
but could see no one. My companions saw the light.
"Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus." "Since I could see nothing because of the brightness of that light, I was led by hand by my companions and entered Damascus."
He ate or drank nothing for three days.[1]


In this sketch of his apostolic career, Paul's declaration that God "was pleased to reveal his son to me" (vv. 15-16) sums up--and entirely glosses over!--the kind of details found in the three accounts in Acts.


11 Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not of human origin.

12 For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

13 For you heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it,

14 and progressed in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my race, since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions.

15 But when (God), who from my mother's womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased

16 to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood,

17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days.

19 But I did not see any other of the apostles, only James the brother of the Lord.

20 (As to what I am writing to you, behold, before God, I am not lying.)

21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.

22 And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ;

23 they only kept hearing that "the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."

24 So they glorified God because of me.

Cephas = Aramaic word for "rock" = Petros, Greek word for "rock" == "Peter" in the English transliteration of the Greek.


  1. That is a very difficult fast! It is like Jonah for three days in the belly of the fish and like Jesus in the tomb.