"Meanwhile, Saul (before he became Paul) was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. . . . " (Acts 9:1, New Internation Version Bible)
Where was Paul born?
What tribe of Israel was he from?
The apostle Paul was raised in an Israelite family from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1).
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 . . . 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?
Paul's three-fold mission from God was to preach the gospel to the pagans (Gentiles), to rulers or kings, and to the children of Israel wherever he found them (Acts 9:15 - 16).
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?
The apostle escaped the first threat against his life by secretly, under the cover of darkness, being let down a wall in Damascus in order that he could flee (see Acts 9:23 - 25).
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?
Believers in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were first called Christians in the city of Antioch (Acts 11:25 - 26).
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?
The apostle's Roman citizenship kept him, after his arrest in Jerusalem's temple, from being beaten by a Roman centurion (Acts 22:25).
Did he safely travel from Caesarea to Rome?
The ship Paul traveled on, after leaving the Mediterranean island of Crete, encountered a fiece storm. The temptest damage the ship and caused it to wander aimlessly in the sea for a period of at least two weeks. The ship finally ran aground on the island of Malta (see Acts 27).
Did Paul always receive financial support?
The apostle did not receive much financial support from the people he served. There were even times when he refused to receive any money from people, like the church at Corinth, because of their spiritual immaturity (see 2Corinthians 11).
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?
The apostle Peter, in his second Bible book, referred to Paul's special calling and the unique understanding given him to convey God's precious truth (2Peter 3:14 - 15).