Paul was born around 5 A.D. into a wealthy Jewish family in the port of Tarsus. He was given the Hebrew name Saul and was sent to Jerusalem to be trained by Gamaliel, a prominent Pharisee.
Saul became a Pharisee and was respected for his intellect and zeal for the Jewish faith. He travelled to synagogues, flogging, killing and imprisoning Jews who accepted Jesus as their Messiah. He even assisted in the stoning of Saint Stephen.
Saul and his men were on their way to Damascus when they were struck down by a bright light. This famous conversion of Christianity is related in the Acts – Chapter 9. ‘A voice from heaven said: ‘Paul why do you persecute Me?’ And Paul said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting.’ When Saul opened his eyes, he was blind. God then sent a disciple to restore his vision, fill him with the Holy Spirit and baptise him. Saul changed his name to Paul and spent the remainder of his life spreading Jesus’ message.
The New Testament records three separate missionary journeys, each several years in length, where Paul spreads Christ’s message in Asia and Europe.