The Life of Paul Steve Wright
Take a moment to think about what defined the culture of the Greeks for hundreds of years. It shouldn’t be an excruciating moment of pondering. You might think about yogurt. That’s good thinking, but a bit too modern. You might think about lots of national debt. That’s true, too, but, again, a bit modern. You might even think about their myriad games that they loved. This, even more, is true and good; however, there is another topic that more inclusively encapsulates their culture.
Tacitus, a well-respected historian and senator of the Roman Empire, is recorded as saying:
“The breastplate and the sword are not a stronger defense on the battlefield than eloquence is to a man amid the perils of prosecution.”
In Acts 7:58 we are introduced to a “young man named Saul.” At this point in his life, Saul was diametrically opposed to “the Way.” He consented to, and played a role in, the stoning of Stephen. Chapter 8 verse 3 speaks of him saying, “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.” Chapter 9 continues this dialogue on Saul’s persecution of the church, telling us in verse 1, “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord…” Recalling later, Saul told king Agrippa his purpose was to, “do many things against the Jesus of Nazareth.” The purpose of his life would change. Not through some uncontrollable force, but by Saul’s willing obedience to “the Way” he once persecuted. Chapter 9 records for us this change in Saul’s life. He went from the young man “dragging off men and women” who professed a belief in Jesus to the man who penned at least 13 inspired epistles. Notice a few points about Saul’s conversion to Christianity.
The Apostle Paul has always been a controversial figure. The first time we encounter him in the book of Acts he is holding the cloaks of those who are stoning Steven. (Acts 7:58) Soon after we read that he is actively persecuting the Church. (Acts 8:3) But, after his conversion he becomes the most prolific of the New Testament writers. As a result, some question his apostleship.