I decided that since I'm teaching about Paul tomorrow that I would write a blog about facts about him.
1. He was born a Roman citizen. He was Jewish and Roman from birth. At one of his trials in Acts 22 starting at verse 22, the crowds go crazy and want him killed, but the authorities want to flog him. Paul objects by saying that you don't flog Roman citizens. The tribune says that he bought his citizenship, but in verse 28 Paul declares that he was born a citizen. Then, they were afraid to flog him.
2. His birth name was Saul. He descended from Benjamin's tribe and was probably related to King Saul.
3. He was a Pharisee and hated Christianity. When he went to Damascus to arrest Christians, it was Jesus who changed his heart and took over his free will. Paul did not choose Jesus until Jesus changed his heart. His life is a prime example of the fact that people have free will until God overrides it. Until then, they will only oppose Jesus.
4. Galatians 1:15-24 explains that after his conversion he went to Arabia, returned to Damascus, and three years later went to Jerusalem to see Peter. If you are discouraged about seeking ministry and not being where you want to be right now, remember that Paul himself trained for years and was not our Bible-writing missionary for a long time. You and I have plenty of time.
5. He changed his name to Paul by the time he went on his first missionary journey with Barnabas.
6. Paul and Barnabas split up over whether they should take Mark the deserter on their next journey. If you are having a friend break-up, take heart. Even Paul and the "Son of Encouragement" can have differences, but they remained friends and both came to value Mark who eventually wrote the Gospel with his name.
7. I think I personally can be more comfortable with Paul than with Jesus. Maybe it's because Paul is a sinner like me and Jesus was perfect. Although Jesus is my God and I'll live forever with him, it is good to read Paul and see how a "normal" person does things.
8. Paul is my husband's middle name. I like how he is Timothy Paul New, a thoroughly New Testament name. I'm glad to have New jokes about my name because I used to be a Smith, which is more common.
9. Paul was executed by Nero in Rome. There has been confusion in the past about him being beheaded in Jerusalem, but no. It was in Rome, and probably by beheading since he was a Roman citizen and could not be crucified like Peter.