Paul: Some Thoughts  

Some Thoughts on Paul’s Conversion:


1. The rate of conversion to “The Way” (belief in Yeshua as resurrected, Messiah, etc.) was prodigious. Paul was hunting down many believers, and even went on a road trip to Damascus. Assuredly he was not the only “Christian-hunter” either. What made this belief system catch on like wildfire? Think about it: it is started by a small band of mostly uneducated people, preaching a wild story in the very heart of where some unexplained but not necessarily alarming events (esp. the empty tomb) had taken place.


2. Paul had full access to the inner circle of the Jewish authorities (the Sanhedrin). In one of his letters (Philipians 3:4-6) he lists his fautless credentials as a Jew*. The Jewish authorities gave him the permission and otherwise helped him to persecute the Christians.


*NOTE: Paul then goes on to say in this letter that “whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish…” (Phil 3:7-8).


3. As an important persecutor of Christians, Paul knew ALL of the Jewish authorities’ thoughts and facts pertaining to Yeshua. He could argue against Christianity with the best of them. Whether or not the remarkable events occurred in Acts as written, the fact is that SOMETHING completely and irrevocably turned Paul despite his so-strong opposition. For his faithPaul endured much hardship on his missionary journeys, including being stoned and being arrested, and eventually was executed during the later part of the reign of Nero (54-68 C.E.)


My question is: what turned Paul? Whatever it was, it was separate from the conversions of the disciples, and of all those listening to the disciples’ and others’ preaching, since Paul went around and persecuted these people. Yet, the information that the Jewish authorities had was not sufficient to keep Paul from ultimately believing that Yeshua had risen.

Paul went on to be perhaps the greatest first century missionary for the gospel. His writings (the epistles or letters) form a large proportion of the New Testament. They are sober, reasonable, tolerant, humble, and demonstrate great brotherly love for people. His passage on love (1 Corinthians 13) is so beautiful it is often quoted in wedding ceremonies. It's interesting, because these characteristics are quite different from his earlier persona when he persecuted Christians. Paul, for whatever reasons, was profoundly changed.



© 2011 Amy Deardon |