Paul, Life Of
Most Relevant Verses
although I once also had confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee;
The commander came and said to him, “Tell me—are you a Roman citizen?”“Yes,” he said. The commander replied, “I bought this citizenship for a large amount of money.”“But I was born a citizen,” Paul said.
He continued, “I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and educated according to the strict view of our patriarchal law. Being zealous for God, just as all of you are today,
After this, he left Athens and went to Corinth, where he found a Jewish man named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul came to them, and being of the same occupation, stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
“But I said, ‘Lord, they know that in synagogue after synagogue I had those who believed in You imprisoned and beaten. And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I was standing by and approving, and I guarded the clothes of those who killed him.’
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. read more.
Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” “Who are You, Lord?” he said.“I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting,” He replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Then Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink. There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!”“Here I am, Lord!” he said. “Get up and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord said to him, “to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, since he is praying there. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him so he can regain his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for My name!” So Ananias left and entered the house. Then he placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength.Saul Proclaiming the Messiah Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days.
He continued, “I am a Jewish man, born in Tarsus of Cilicia but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and educated according to the strict view of our patriarchal law. Being zealous for God, just as all of you are today, I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women in jail, as both the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. After I received letters from them to the brothers, I traveled to Damascus to bring those who were prisoners there to be punished in Jerusalem.read more.
“As I was traveling and near Damascus, about noon an intense light from heaven suddenly flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ “I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’“He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, the One you are persecuting!’ Now those who were with me saw the light, but they did not hear the voice of the One who was speaking to me. “Then I said, ‘What should I do, Lord?’“And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything that is assigned for you to do.’ “Since I couldn’t see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. Someone named Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good reputation with all the Jews residing there, came and stood by me and said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight.’ And in that very hour I looked up and saw him. Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the sound of His voice. For you will be a witness for Him to all people of what you have seen and heard. And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name.’
In fact, I myself supposed it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus the Nazarene. I actually did this in Jerusalem, and I locked up many of the saints in prison, since I had received authority for that from the chief priests. When they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. In all the synagogues I often tried to make them blaspheme by punishing them. I even pursued them to foreign cities since I was greatly enraged at them.read more.
“I was traveling to Damascus under these circumstances with authority and a commission from the chief priests. King Agrippa, while on the road at midday, I saw a light from heaven brighter than the sun, shining around me and those traveling with me. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “Then I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’“And the Lord replied: ‘I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen and of what I will reveal to you. I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles. I now send you to them to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified.’
But when God, who from my birth set me apart and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus.
In Damascus, the governor under King Aretas guarded the city of the Damascenes in order to arrest me, so I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.
And after taking some food, he regained his strength.Saul Proclaiming the Messiah Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days. Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.” But all who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man who, in Jerusalem, was destroying those who called on this name and then came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?”read more.
But Saul grew more capable and kept confounding the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that this One is the Messiah. After many days had passed, the Jews conspired to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul. So they were watching the gates day and night intending to kill him, but his disciples took him by night and lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the wall.
When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that He had talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. Saul was coming and going with them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
He conversed and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they attempted to kill him. When the brothers found out, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Then he went to Tarsus to search for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.
In the church that was at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen, a close friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to.” Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.read more.
Being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they came down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. Arriving in Salamis, they proclaimed God’s message in the Jewish synagogues. They also had John as their assistant. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came across a sorcerer, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus.
Then after 14 years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up according to a revelation and presented to them the gospel I preach among the Gentiles—but privately to those recognized as leaders—so that I might not be running, or have run the race, in vain. But not even Titus who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. read more.
This issue arose because of false brothers smuggled in, who came in secretly to spy on the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us. But we did not give up and submit to these people for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would be preserved for you. Now from those recognized as important (what they really were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism)—they added nothing to me. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter was for the circumcised, since the One at work in Peter for an apostleship to the circumcised was also at work in me for the Gentiles. When James, Cephas, and John, recognized as pillars, acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to me and Barnabas, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only that we would remember the poor, which I made every effort to do.
Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved!” But after Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, the church arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem concerning this controversy. When they had been sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, explaining in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they created great joy among all the brothers.read more.
When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses!” Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter.
After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers in every town where we have preached the message of the Lord and see how they’re doing.” Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul did not think it appropriate to take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. read more.
There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. Then Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message in Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, bypassing Mysia, they came down to Troas.
During the night a vision appeared to Paul: A Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!” After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them. Then, setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, read more.
and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia. We stayed in that city for a number of days.
So Paul, having stayed on for many days, said good-bye to the brothers and sailed away to Syria. Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He shaved his head at Cenchreae because he had taken a vow. When they reached Ephesus he left them there, but he himself entered the synagogue and engaged in discussion with the Jews. And though they asked him to stay for a longer time, he declined, read more.
but he said good-bye and stated, “I’ll come back to you again, if God wills.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. On landing at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and went down to Antioch.
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”“No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Then what baptism were you baptized with?” he asked them.“With John’s baptism,” they replied.read more.
Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the One who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began to speak in other languages and to prophesy. Now there were about 12 men in all. Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things of the kingdom of God. But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them and met separately with the disciples, conducting discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. And this went on for two years, so that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the message about the Lord. God was performing extraordinary miracles by Paul’s hands, so that even facecloths or work aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and the diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.
If I fought wild animals in Ephesus with only human hope, what good did that do me? If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, because a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me—yet many oppose me.
I planned with this confidence to come to you first, so you could have a double benefit, and to go on to Macedonia with your help, then come to you again from Macedonia and be given a start by you on my journey to Judea.
For I wrote to you with many tears out of an extremely troubled and anguished heart—not that you should be hurt, but that you should know the abundant love I have for you.
After the uproar was over, Paul sent for the disciples, encouraged them, and after saying good-bye, departed to go to Macedonia. And when he had passed through those areas and exhorted them at length, he came to Greece and stayed three months. When he was about to set sail for Syria, a plot was devised against him by the Jews, so a decision was made to go back through Macedonia.read more.
He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia. These men went on ahead and waited for us in Troas, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread. In five days we reached them at Troas, where we spent seven days.
When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, the Lord opened a door for me. I had no rest in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus, but I said good-bye to them and left for Macedonia.
After we tore ourselves away from them and set sail, we came by a direct route to Cos, the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. Finding a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we boarded and set sail. After we sighted Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we sailed on to Syria and arrived at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. read more.
So we found some disciples and stayed there seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go to Jerusalem. When our days there were over, we left to continue our journey, while all of them, with their wives and children, escorted us out of the city. After kneeling down on the beach to pray, we said good-bye to one another. Then we boarded the ship, and they returned home. When we completed our voyage from Tyre, we reached Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them one day. The next day we left and came to Caesarea, where we entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the Seven, and stayed with him.
Right now I am traveling to Jerusalem to serve the saints, for Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
As the seven days were about to end, the Jews from Asia saw him in the temple complex, stirred up the whole crowd, and seized him, shouting, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people, our law, and this place. What’s more, he also brought Greeks into the temple and has profaned this holy place.” For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with him, and they supposed that Paul had brought him into the temple complex.read more.
The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together. They seized Paul, dragged him out of the temple complex, and at once the gates were shut. As they were trying to kill him, word went up to the commander of the regiment that all Jerusalem was in chaos. Taking along soldiers and centurions, he immediately ran down to them. Seeing the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came up, took him into custody, and ordered him to be bound with two chains. He asked who he was and what he had done. Some in the mob were shouting one thing and some another. Since he was not able to get reliable information because of the uproar, he ordered him to be taken into the barracks.
When it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under a curse: neither to eat nor to drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than 40 who had formed this plot. These men went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have bound ourselves under a solemn curse that we won’t eat anything until we have killed Paul. read more.
So now you, along with the Sanhedrin, make a request to the commander that he bring him down to you as if you were going to investigate his case more thoroughly. However, before he gets near, we are ready to kill him.” But the son of Paul’s sister, hearing about their ambush, came and entered the barracks and reported it to Paul. Then Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the commander, because he has something to report to him.” So he took him, brought him to the commander, and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you, because he has something to tell you.” Then the commander took him by the hand, led him aside, and inquired privately, “What is it you have to report to me?” “The Jews,” he said, “have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the Sanhedrin tomorrow, as though they are going to hold a somewhat more careful inquiry about him. Don’t let them persuade you, because there are more than 40 of them arranging to ambush him, men who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they kill him. Now they are ready, waiting for a commitment from you.”
He summoned two of his centurions and said, “Get 200 soldiers ready with 70 cavalry and 200 spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight. Also provide mounts so they can put Paul on them and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” He wrote a letter of this kind:read more.
Claudius Lysias,To the most excellent governor Felix: Greetings. When this man had been seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, I arrived with my troops and rescued him because I learned that he is a Roman citizen. Wanting to know the charge they were accusing him of, I brought him down before their Sanhedrin. I found out that the accusations were about disputed matters in their law, and that there was no charge that merited death or chains. When I was informed that there was a plot against the man, I sent him to you right away. I also ordered his accusers to state their case against him in your presence. Therefore, the soldiers took Paul during the night and brought him to Antipatris as they were ordered. The next day, they returned to the barracks, allowing the cavalry to go on with him. When these men entered Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. After he read it, he asked what province he was from. So when he learned he was from Cilicia, he said, “I will give you a hearing whenever your accusers get here too.” And he ordered that he be kept under guard in Herod’s palace.
He ordered that the centurion keep Paul under guard, though he could have some freedom, and that he should not prevent any of his friends from serving him. After some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and listened to him on the subject of faith in Christ Jesus. Now as he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I find time I’ll call for you.” read more.
At the same time he was also hoping that money would be given to him by Paul. For this reason he sent for him quite often and conversed with him. After two years had passed, Felix received a successor, Porcius Festus, and because he wished to do a favor for the Jews, Felix left Paul in prison.
Three days after Festus arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. Then the chief priests and the leaders of the Jews presented their case against Paul to him; and they appealed, asking him to do them a favor against Paul, that he might summon him to Jerusalem. They were preparing an ambush along the road to kill him. read more.
However, Festus answered that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself was about to go there shortly. “Therefore,” he said, “let the men of authority among you go down with me and accuse him, if there is any wrong in this man.” When he had spent not more than eight or 10 days among them, he went down to Caesarea. The next day, seated at the judge’s bench, he commanded Paul to be brought in. When he arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him and brought many serious charges that they were not able to prove, while Paul made the defense that, “Neither against the Jewish law, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I sinned at all.” Then Festus, wanting to do a favor for the Jews, replied to Paul, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem, there to be tried before me on these charges?” But Paul said: “I am standing at Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as even you can see very well. If then I am doing wrong, or have done anything deserving of death, I do not refuse to die, but if there is nothing to what these men accuse me of, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar!” After Festus conferred with his council, he replied, “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go!”
When it was decided that we were to sail to Italy, they handed over Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion named Julius, of the Imperial Regiment. So when we had boarded a ship of Adramyttium, we put to sea, intending to sail to ports along the coast of Asia. Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, was with us. The next day we put in at Sidon, and Julius treated Paul kindly and allowed him to go to his friends to receive their care.read more.
When we had put out to sea from there, we sailed along the northern coast of Cyprus because the winds were against us. After sailing through the open sea off Cilicia and Pamphylia, we reached Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. Sailing slowly for many days, we came with difficulty as far as Cnidus. Since the wind did not allow us to approach it, we sailed along the south side of Crete off Salmone. With yet more difficulty we sailed along the coast and came to a place called Fair Havens near the city of Lasea. By now much time had passed, and the voyage was already dangerous. Since the Fast was already over, Paul gave his advice and told them, “Men, I can see that this voyage is headed toward damage and heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but also of our lives.” But the centurion paid attention to the captain and the owner of the ship rather than to what Paul said. Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided to set sail from there, hoping somehow to reach Phoenix, a harbor on Crete open to the southwest and northwest, and to winter there. When a gentle south wind sprang up, they thought they had achieved their purpose. They weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. But not long afterward, a fierce wind called the “northeaster” rushed down from the island. Since the ship was caught and was unable to head into the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along. After running under the shelter of a little island called Cauda, we were barely able to get control of the skiff. After hoisting it up, they used ropes and tackle and girded the ship. Then, fearing they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the drift-anchor, and in this way they were driven along. Because we were being severely battered by the storm, they began to jettison the cargo the next day. On the third day, they threw the ship’s gear overboard with their own hands. For many days neither sun nor stars appeared, and the severe storm kept raging. Finally all hope that we would be saved was disappearing. Since many were going without food, Paul stood up among them and said, “You men should have followed my advice not to sail from Crete and sustain this damage and loss. Now I urge you to take courage, because there will be no loss of any of your lives, but only of the ship. For this night an angel of the God I belong to and serve stood by me, and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar. And, look! God has graciously given you all those who are sailing with you.’ Therefore, take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me. However, we must run aground on a certain island.” When the fourteenth night came, we were drifting in the Adriatic Sea, and in the middle of the night the sailors thought they were approaching land. They took a sounding and found it to be 120 feet deep; when they had sailed a little farther and sounded again, they found it to be 90 feet deep.
After three months we set sail in an Alexandrian ship that had wintered at the island, with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed three days. From there, after making a circuit along the coast, we reached Rhegium. After one day a south wind sprang up, and the second day we came to Puteoli. read more.
There we found believers and were invited to stay with them for seven days.And so we came to Rome. Now the believers from there had heard the news about us and had come to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. When we entered Rome, Paul was permitted to stay by himself with the soldier who guarded him.
The reason I left you in Crete was to set right what was left undone and, as I directed you, to appoint elders in every town: