Saul (the Apostle Paul's name before his conversion) is born in Tarsus, a city in the province of Cilicia. Although raised in a Jewish family, he is a Roman citizen due to his birth in a free city. He goes, early in life, to a Pharisaic Rabbinical school in Jerusalem led by the well-known Rabbi Gamaliel and eventually becomes a Pharisee. The first appearance of Paul (Saul) in the Bible is as a zealous young man who witnesses the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7). Saul soon leads a major persecution against Christians in Jerusalem then travels to Damascus to find still more believers. God confronts him while on the road to Damascus and causes him to repent. He soon receives baptism and begins a dynamic thirty-five year evangelistic career as the apostle Paul!
The Apostle Paul, during his ministry, writes 14 epistles (letters) that become part of the Bible. This is almost TRIPLE the number of books written by Moses. He also conducts at least FIVE missionary journeys (44 to 46, 49 to 52, 53 to 58, 60 to 63, and 63 to 67 A.D.) that take him to Asia Minor, Syria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Britain, and elsewhere. He evangelizes countless cities and helps train others to do so such as Timothy and John Mark. His intense dedication to the calling God gave him, however, comes at a price. He ends up spending at least five total years of his ministry in prison, is whipped five times and beaten three times with rods. He also survives a stoning and endures a shipwreck in the Mediterranean. He ultimately experiences martyrdom at the hands of the Romans. His impact on Christianity and Christian beliefs is truly enormous. He truly was a remarkable man used by God!