Text: Romans 8:26-39
Paul, the New Testament Paul, is a fascinating complex man. He was born a Roman citizen to Jewish parents in Tarsus (modern day Turkey). His given name was Saul. As a young man, he studied Torah in Jerusalem and became a Pharisee. After his studies, he was best known for persecuting the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem and Judea. While traveling the road to Damascus one day, he had a blinding light, fall off your horse conversion experience; after which he spent three years in Arabia and then returned to Damascus to preach Jesus as the Messiah. He eventually fled Damascus to Jerusalem because of persecution and while in Jerusalem he met some of the disciples. He began preaching in Tarsus and the surrounding region focusing his preaching ministry to the Gentiles. After a number of “missionary journeys” he returned to Jerusalem where he was arrested and later executed.
Paul never met Jesus during his brief years of ministry. Nevertheless, he was perhaps Christianity’s most important early convert and the first major missionary to preach the Christian gospel to non-Jewish people. Being a Roman citizen, he was at least moderately well-off, which granted him a certain respect wherever he went in the empire. By trade, he was a tentmaker. Paul was not one of the twelve disciples. However, the New Testament records that he did interact with some of the original disciples, especially in Jerusalem.