as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.
“ I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.
“So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;
So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah).
He said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” So he made him ride in his chariot.
“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.
And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”
They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,
And when they heard it they began glorifying God; and they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law;
since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.
I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;
but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.
For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;