Saint Pauls story of being Jewish
Saint Paul was born Saul, a Jew from Tarsus, a Greek city in southeastern Asia Minor. He was part of the Diaspora, the Jews that lived outside of Palestine. He began his journey learning the ways of the Pharisee in Jerusalem under the teaching of Raban Gamaliel. (Perry, Chase, Jacob, Von Laue 175-6)
Paul actively participated in persecuting Christians until after the crucifixion of Jesus and a spiritual transformation on the road to Damascus where he was baptized. It was at this time he began to be recognized by his Roman name Paul and he began to spread the word of Jesus amongst the Jews of the Diaspora and through letters to their congregations. His preaching's garnered hatred amongst the Jews and he began to realize that the message applied to gentiles as well as Jews and traveled on to spread the news of the resurrected redeemer. (catholic.org)
Paul traveled from Damascus to Jerusalem to see St Peter, one of the twelve disciples appointed by Jesus, and to pay homage to the head of the Church. He then went back to Tarsus until he was called to Antioch by St Barnabus, a Jew from Cyprus. A famine in Jerusalem brought Paul and Barnabus to supply alms to the poor and after doing so they returned to Antioch. When Paul returned to Antioch he began his missionary journeys. He and Barnabus traveled together “visiting the island of Cypress, then Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia, ..., and establishing churches at Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe”. (catholic.org) On his second missionary journey through Asia Minor he was accompanied by St Silas and later
St Timothy and St Luke. According to Catholic.org, he was said to have had a vision of Macedonia while in Troas which led him to believe that it was a message from God that he should go there and preach the gospel and so he did. Paul made is third and last missionary journey revisiting the places he had been previously but he stayed in Ephesus for three years. He planned a fourth missionary journey to Rome and Spain but he was persecuted by the Jews and imprisoned at Caesarea and spent the next two years in Rome in chains. Upon his release Paul traveled to Spain then returned to Rome to be imprisoned a second time and was later beheaded in the year 67. (catholic.org)
Throughout Paul's missionary journeys, letters to the church, and the writing of fourteen Epistels, he spread the message that Jesus lives in those who take him into themselves and that the love of Jesus abounds. His message was about spreading the “Good News”.
That good news, according to Christians, is that God's true, loving nature was revealed in the life and death of Jesus; that Jesus is God, which makes his example binding on us all; and that Jesus is fully human, which makes his example relevant to all. In addition, the good news is that God and Jesus live as a Holy Spirit, which makes the Christian community into a community of diverse parts of the same “mystical body of Christ.” (Scarlett)
“Paul is second only to Jesus as the most important person in the origins of Christianity” writes Marcus Borg. The New Testament of the Bible is a testament itself to Paul's importance to Christianity, of its 27 books, 13 letters are attributed to Paul although he may not have written them all his name appears on each. (Borg) He is also prevalent in the book of Acts written by Luke, who was his traveling companion; he is mentioned in 16 of its 28 chapters.
In conclusion Paul traveled throughout Asia Minor, Macedonia, and even as far as Spain spreading the “Good News” and inadvertently instituted a new religion that has today developed into different forms of Christianity. Because of Paul's teachings we now have Puritans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists (today's United Church of Christ), and other Reformed denominations, and Methodist believers. (Borg) The Holy Trinity of Catholicism can be directly attributed to Paul's belief in having a personal connection to Jesus, God, and a spirit felt in the fellowship of the Christian community. (Scarlett) Although many of his letters were instructional on the way to live one's life as a good Christian and may have fit the time period in which they were written, there are a few I don't find to be appropriate today and a few are somewhat offensive to me. In I Timothy he writes "As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. . . . If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church." (The NIV Study Bible) In today's society that would not be considered appropriate and if you attend any protestant church at 8:00 am or 11:00 am on any given Sunday you will most likely see it definitely is not the way good Christian women act today. In fact the majority of the good Christians you see there will be women and most of their husbands probably couldn't answer any questions because they were not in church to hear the message they were at home. Paul was persecuted and beheaded for his teachings but his actions while amongst the living keep many of us alive today.
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