Saint Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ who was born in 4 BC. His birth name was Saul of Tarsus, and he lived to become one the first leaders of the first generation Christians. Over the years, he has often been regarded as the second most important person in the Christian history. From the mid-30s all through to the mid-50s BC, Apostle Paul helped in establishing several churches in both Europe and Asia Minor. This essay discusses Saint Pauls personality sketch as well as his pre-conversion, conversion and post conversion roles in Christianity.
The principal personality portrayed by Saul in the Old Testament was that of being dishonest and disobedient. He is portrayed as a person with a poor moral character and one that is incapable of following orders. This can be supported by one instance in the book of Samuel where he was explicitly commanded by God to destroy Amalek and all he had. His orders were to command his solders to kill Amalek and to destroy all that he had, including his women, children and livestock (1 Samuel 15:3). Nevertheless, he disobeyed the command by saving all the fatty livestock they could find.
In verse 9 of the chapter, he spared the best sheep, oxen, lambs, fatlings and all that was good, but he destroyed everything that he despised and considered worthless. Another case of disobedience in Saul can be referenced in the instance where he was told by Samuel to wait for him to gather the prescribed offerings before he could engage in a battle. Nevertheless, after Saul waited for Samuel for seven days, he grew impatient and disobeyed the command. He engaged the Philistines in a battle, which he lost due to his disobedience.
Sauls Pre-Conversion Roles
Before his conversion, Saul was a cruel Pharisee who actively persecuted the believers of Jesus Christ. In his letter to the Galatians, he states that he extremely persecuted Gods church and even tried to destroy it (1 Galatians 13-14). He even went from house to house dragging out both men and women who worshiped Jesus Christ and later placing them in prison (Acts 8:3). Another instance of his persecution of Christians could be seen on his way to Damascus.
According to Acts 9:1, while still issuing threats of murder against believers of Jesus Christ, he visited the high priest and demanded them for letters to enter the synagogues in Damascus in search of Christians. He swore that if he found any men or women that believed in Jesus Christ in the synagogues, he would take them as captives to Jerusalem. These phenomena clearly support the fact that before his conversion, Saul was an aggressive persecutor of the church and followers of Jesus Christ.
Sauls conversion took place on his way to Damascus. A sudden light shone on him from heaven and made him fall to the ground. He later heard a voice of God calling him from heaven asking him why he was persecuting the Lord. Astounded, Saul called to the voice asking to whom it belonged. The voice replied that it was the voice of Jesus Christ whom he was persecuting. Humbled by the miracle that had just occurred before him, Saul asked the voice what he could do. He was told to head to the city where he would attain instructions on what to do.
After witnessing the miracle, all the men that were traveling with Saul stood speechless because of hearing a voice and seeing no person. They were also bewildered after finding that Saul could no longer see. Nevertheless, they guided him by use of hands until they arrived at the city of Damascus. In the city, Saul stayed for three days without food and sight. Afterwards, the Lord came to his disciple Ananias in a vision and ordered him to help Saul regain his sight. After Ananias had prayed for Saul, he regained his sight and also attained the holy spirit.
After his conversion, Saul immediately started to proclaim that Jesus Christ was the son of God in the Damascus synagogues. According to Acts 9:20, Saul was shouting that Jesus Christ was the son of God. This appeared strange to those persons who knew him at the time. According to Acts 9:21, people were heard wondering whether if Saul was the same person who initially headed to Damascus to prosecute those who believed in Jesus Christ before the high priests.
In addition, he also converted his name from Saul to Paul. He later ran to Jerusalem to escape his persecution by the Jews in Damascus. After staying for a while in Jerusalem, Paul started his ministry in Jerusalem. He then travelled to Asia Minor, Rome as well as Greece. At first, Paul preached the gospel of Christ to Jews. Nevertheless, he also started preaching to the non-Jewish communities or the Gentiles. This is through his belief that God had extended his salvation even to the Gentiles.
In summary, Saul played significant roles in the development of Christianity today. Before his conversion, he was a dishonest and disobedient man. He also detested Christians and took pride in persecuting them for their faith. He even ordered believers to be murdered for their faith in Christ. His conversion took place as he was heading to the city of Damascus. Upon his conversion, he immediately started proclaiming that Jesus was the son of the lord. His conversion exposed him to persecution from the Jews. Nevertheless, he escaped to Jerusalem where he started his own ministry.
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