by Wayne Blank
The first mention of Paul in Bible History was prior to his conversion when he was known as Saul, the Christian-hating Pharisee who fanatically took part in the persecution and killing of Christians, including Stephen:
"And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen ... And Saul was consenting unto his death" (Acts 7:58-59,8:1 KJV)
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."
Saul, then known as Paul, was slowly, at first, accepted by the people who he not long before sought to destroy, but when it became obvious to all that he truly was repentant and converted, they not only accepted him, but accepted him as a prominent teacher and servant of the Gospel.
Then followed his major missionary journeys, the first to Asia Minor (i.e. Turkey), the next two on to Europe as well. See Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey.
It was upon the return to Jerusalem that Paul was arrested by the Roman authorities, at the behest of those who were still as Christian-hating as Paul was earlier (no doubt, some of them were his former friends and associates). See Claudius Lysias
As a Roman citizen, Paul demanded and was granted by the local governors (Felix, Festus and Herod Agrippa II - see The Herods), after being held in prison for over 2 years by them, that his case be heard before Caesar. Paul was then placed on a ship bound for Rome, a journey that would be interrupted by a shipwreck on Malta (see Paul's Journey To Rome). The Book of Acts ends with Paul in Rome after sailing in another ship from Malta.
Many of the Biblical Epistles found in the New Testament after the book of Acts were written by Paul to churches that he founded, or people that he converted, while Paul was either on his missionary journeys or in prison in Rome.
The Bible does not record how Paul died, although it is almost certain that he was martyred (the word martyr originally meant witness - see Martyrs), and that, as the Scriptures below state, he saw it coming. But as he makes plain in his farewell address to Timothy, Paul didn't flinch, he didn't compromise, he didn't back down, he didn't lose his courage. And although they did eventually kill him, it was Paul who was the winner.
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge The Quick and The Dead at His appearing and His Kingdom; Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
Fact Finder: Did the apostle Paul ever claim to be infallible? Or did he recognize and teach that flesh and blood humans, even with the help of the Holy Spirit, can only understand the depth of the Scriptures imperfectly, for now?