"Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. . . . He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'" (Acts 9:1, 4, NIV)
Where was Paul born?
"Paul answered, 'I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. . . .' " (Acts 21:39, NIV)
What tribe of Israel was he from?
"I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." (Romans 11:1, NKJV)
In his youth, what kind of education did he receive and who taught him?
"'My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.' " (Acts 26:4-5, NKJV)
Was Paul (Saul) initially favorable toward believers in Christ?
Saul, taught in the ways of the self-righteous Pharisees who ultimately helped arrange for Jesus' death, had no love for Christians before his conversion. He was willing to go into people's home in order to find those believing in "the way," arrest them then throw them in prison (Acts 8).
How zealous was Paul for Judaism?
Paul's zealousness knew no bounds. Scripture says he initiated going to the High Priest for permission to hunt down Christians and bring them to Jerusalem IN CHAINS for punishment (Acts 9:1-2).
How did God get his attention?
It took a blinding light from heaven and the booming voice of Christ himself to get Paul's attention as he traveled to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6, 8-9). His travel was for the expressed purpose of finding believers in the synagogues, arresting them, then taking them back to Jerusalem for punishment. The bright light caused Paul to loose his sight for three days - which not only got his attention but gave him time to repent!
What did God want to accomplish through him?
"But the Lord said, 'Go and do what I say. For Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for me.'" (Acts 9:15-16, NLT)
After his conversion, did it take Paul a long time to preach?
The bible says after his conversion he "immediately" began to preach (Acts 9:19-22). No doubt he had learned public speaking skills while being trained as a Pharisee in his youth. His preaching was SO powerful that eventually some people in Damascus wanted him killed!
How did Paul escape his first death threat?
"Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket." (Acts 9:23-25, NKJV)
Was he readily accepted by believers in Jerusalem?
"When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple." (Acts 9:26, NRSV)
Where were believers first called Christians?
"Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." (Acts 11:25-26, NKJV)
How were Paul and Silas freed from a jail?
They were ultimately freed through a miraculously caused earthquake, which shook so violently that all the prison cell door were opened and the chains worn by the prisoners fell off (Acts 16:25-26)!
Did Paul ever benefit from his Roman citizenship?
"As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, 'Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?' " (Acts 22:25, NIV)
Did he safely travel from Caesarea to Rome?
"Just then a light wind began blowing from the south, and it looked like a perfect day for the trip; so they pulled up anchor and sailed along close to shore. But shortly afterwards the weather changed abruptly, and a heavy wind of typhoon strength (a "northeaster," they called it) caught the ship and blew it out to sea. . . . The terrible storm raged unabated many days, until at last all hope was gone. . . .
"But the ship hit a sandbar and ran aground. The bow of the ship stuck fast, while the stern was exposed to the violence of the waves and began to break apart. . . . (Acts 27)
Did Paul always receive financial support?
"Did I do wrong and cheapen myself and make you look down on me because I preached God's Good News to you without charging you anything? Instead I 'robbed' other churches by taking what they sent me and using it up while I was with you so that I could serve you without cost. And when that was gone and I was getting hungry, I still didn't ask you for anything . . . " (2Corinthians 11:7-9, TLB)
Was he ever intimidated by the twelve apostles?
Paul was a man of strong convictions. Taught to be a Pharisee, he no doubt learned how to debate and argue with others over doctrines, teachings and traditions. He did not hesitate to confront the apostle Peter when he saw him acting contrary to the gospel (Galatians 1)!
Who were some of Paul's traveling companions?
The Bible names several people directly who Paul took on his five evangelistic missions. They are Barnabas (Acts 11:29-30), Mark (John Mark - Acts 12:25), Barsabas and Silas (Acts 15:22), Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18), Sopater of Berea, Aristarchus, Secundus, Gaius, Tychicus, Trophimus and Timothy (Acts 20:4) and Luke (2Timothy 4:11).
Who referred to Paul as an Apostle?
"Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation - as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you . . . " (2Peter 3:14-15, NKJV)