Discover the Life and Work of Saint Paul



9 Questions

What was the key question raised at the Council of Jerusalem?

Which of the following is true about Paul's conversion?

What is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul?

What did Paul believe about circumcision before his conversion?

What did Paul believe about the physical act of circumcision after his conversion?

What is the role of women according to Paul's letters?

What is the primary source account of the Incident at Antioch?

What did Paul believe about his persecution of the church before his conversion?

What is Paul's view on homosexuality according to most Christian traditions?


Life and Work of Saint Paul

  • Paul was a Christian apostle who spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world, founding several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe from the mid-40s to the mid-50s AD.

  • The main source of information on Paul's life and works is the Acts of the Apostles book in the New Testament, with approximately half of its content documenting them.

  • Paul lived as a Pharisee and participated in the persecution of early disciples of Jesus, possibly Hellenised diaspora Jews converted to Christianity, in the area of Jerusalem, prior to his conversion.

  • Paul was baptized and began immediately to proclaim that Jesus of Nazareth was the Jewish messiah and the Son of God after his conversion.

  • Paul made three missionary journeys to spread the Christian message to non-Jews communities in Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, Cyprus, Judea, and Syria, as narrated in the Acts.

  • Fourteen of the 27 books in the New Testament have traditionally been attributed to Paul. Seven of the Pauline epistles are undisputed by scholars as being authentic.

  • Paul's epistles continue to be vital roots of the theology, worship, and pastoral life in the Latin and Protestant traditions of the West, as well as the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions of the East.

  • Paul was from a devout Jewish family based in the city of Tarsus and was sent to Jerusalem to receive his education at the school of Gamaliel.

  • Prior to his conversion, Paul persecuted early Christians "beyond measure," more specifically Hellenised diaspora Jewish members who had returned to the area of Jerusalem.

  • Paul's conversion can be dated to 31–36 AD by his reference to it in one of his letters.

  • Paul's first journey, for which he and Barnabas were commissioned by the Antioch community, and led initially by Barnabas, took them from Antioch to Cyprus then into southern Asia Minor, and finally returning to Antioch.

  • Paul's second journey, with Silas, took them to Macedonia, Greece, and Asia Minor.

  • Paul's third journey, with a larger group, took them to Macedonia, Greece, and Asia Minor, and then back to Jerusalem, where he was arrested and taken to Rome.The Life and Travels of Paul the Apostle

  • Antioch was a major Christian home base for Paul's early missionary activities.

  • The duration of Paul's stay in Antioch is unknown, with estimates ranging from nine months to as long as eight years.

  • The Council of Jerusalem was a vital meeting between Paul and the Jerusalem church that took place in the year 49 AD.

  • The key question raised at the Council of Jerusalem was whether Gentile converts needed to be circumcised.

  • Despite the agreement achieved at the Council of Jerusalem, Paul later publicly confronted Peter in a dispute sometimes called the "Incident at Antioch".

  • The primary source account of the Incident at Antioch is Paul's letter to the Galatians.

  • Paul left for his second missionary journey from Jerusalem, in late Autumn 49 AD.

  • Paul spent 18 months in Corinth around 50-52 AD.

  • According to Acts, Paul began his third missionary journey by traveling all around the region of Galatia and Phrygia to strengthen, teach and rebuke the believers.

  • In 57 AD, upon completion of his third missionary journey, Paul arrived in Jerusalem for his fifth and final visit with a collection of money for the local community.

  • Paul was taken to Caesarea, where the governor ordered that he be kept under guard in Herod's headquarters.

  • Paul finally arrived in Rome around 60 AD, where he spent another two years under house arrest.The Life and Writings of Paul the Apostle

  • Paul, also known as Saint Paul, was an apostle who played a significant role in the early development of Christianity.

  • Paul was martyred during the Neronian Persecution, and it is believed that he was beheaded like John the Baptist.

  • Paul's body was buried outside the walls of Rome, at the second mile on the Via Ostiensis, on the estate owned by a Christian woman named Lucina.

  • In 2002, an 8-foot-long marble sarcophagus, inscribed with the words "PAULO APOSTOLO MART", was discovered during excavations around the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls on the Via Ostiensis, which Vatican archaeologists declared to be the tomb of Paul the Apostle in 2005.

  • Paul's authentic letters are roughly dated to the years surrounding the mid-1st century, and seven of the 13 letters that bear Paul's name are almost universally accepted as being entirely authentic and dictated by Paul himself.

  • Four of the letters are widely considered pseudepigraphical, while the authorship of the other two is subject to debate.

  • Paul's letters provide the first written account of what it is to be a Christian and thus a description of Christian spirituality.

  • The New Testament offers little if any information about the physical appearance of Paul, but several descriptions can be found in apocryphal texts.

  • Paul described himself as set apart for the gospel of God and called to be an apostle and a servant of Jesus Christ.

  • There are debates as to whether Paul understood himself as commissioned to take the gospel to the gentiles at the moment of his conversion.

  • Paul is considered the patron saint of London and is remembered by the Church of England with a Festival on 29 June.

  • The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul is celebrated on 25 January.Paul's Persecution and Conversion

  • Paul believed his persecution of the church was an indication of his zeal for his religion.

  • After his conversion, he believed that Jewish hostility toward the church was sinful opposition.

  • Paul believed he was halted by Christ when his fury was at its height.

  • He obtained mercy because he had acted ignorantly in unbelief.

Understanding of Jesus Christ

  • Paul saw Jesus as Lord, the true messiah, and the Son of God.
  • Jesus was promised by God beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures.
  • The resurrection of Jesus was of primary importance to Paul, bringing the promise of salvation to believers.
  • Paul's writings reflect a "binitarian" pattern of devotion towards Jesus in the early Christian community.


  • Christians are redeemed from sin by Jesus' death and resurrection.
  • By grace, through faith, a Christian shares in Jesus' death and in his victory over death.
  • According to Paul, Jesus' death was a voluntary sacrifice that reconciled sinners with God.

Relationship with Judaism

  • Paul believed Jesus' death and resurrection solved the problem of the exclusion of gentiles from God's covenant.
  • Before his conversion, Paul believed circumcision was the rite through which males became part of Israel, an exclusive community of God's chosen people.
  • After his conversion, he believed neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but that the new creation is what counts in the sight of God.

Role of Women

  • Paul's letters contain evidence of a much more inclusive view of women in the early church.
  • Paul praises Phoebe for her work as a deaconess and Junia who is described as being respected among the Apostles.
  • Biblical scholars have typically treated the Haustafel in Ephesians as a resource in the debate over the role of women in ministry and in the home.

Views on Homosexuality

  • Most Christian traditions say Paul clearly portrays homosexuality as sinful in two specific locations: Romans 1:26–27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
  • Since the 19th century, however, most scholars have concluded that 1 Timothy (along with 2 Timothy and Titus) is not original to Paul.


  • Paul's influence on Christian thinking has been more significant than any other New Testament author.
  • Paul's writings include the earliest reference to the "Lord's Supper", a rite traditionally identified as the Christian communion or Eucharist.


Test your knowledge of the life and work of Saint Paul with this informative quiz. Discover the story of this Christian apostle who spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world, founding several Christian communities in Asia Minor and Europe. Learn about Paul's conversion, his missionary journeys, his letters, and his role in the early development of Christianity. Find out about Paul's views on Jesus, atonement, Judaism, women, and homosexuality. Explore the influence of Paul's writings on Christian thinking and

Ready to take the quiz?

Play Quiz