to Timothy Series
Saul of Tarsus - The Apostle Paul
was Born, with no agreement on date, in maybe 5 AD in Tarsus, the capital of
Cilicia a Roman province in southeast of Asia Minor (Southern Turkey).
Tarsus lies on the banks of the
river Cydnus. It was a shipping city and was known
for the wealth of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was the seat of a major (famous)
university - higher in reputation than even the Universities of Athens and Alexandria, which were
the only others that existed at that time.
father was of the tribe of Benjamin of pure and unmixed Jewish blood (Acts
23:6, Phil 3:5). For whatever reason, Saul's father was a Roman Citizen. Tarsus was a free city
under Roman Rule, and as a child born there to a Roman Citizen, Saul was also
a Roman Citizen.
had a sister, who had a son (Acts 23:16) and other relatives (Romans 16:7,
11, 12), There is no indication that he ever married.
was guided toward the life of a rabbi - minister/teacher/lawyer all in one.
As was the custom, he was required to have another trade before entering his
rabbinical schooling, and so, he was trained as a tent maker.
about the age of thirteen, Saul was sent to the great school of Jewish
learning at Jerusalem
to study the law. There, he became a student of the celebrated Rabbi
Gamaliel. Under Gamaliel, he would have spent many years in an elaborate
study of the scriptures and the many questions regarding compliance with the
his studies were completed, he would have remained in Jerusalem,
or (most likely) returned to Tarsus.
Regardless, after the Death of Jesus, he was back in Jerusalem, developing a reputation with his
dealings with the Religious sect known as "The Nazarenes" or
followers of "The Way".
about two years after Pentecost, followers of "The Way" were
quietly spreading in influence in Jerusalem.
At that point, the Deacon Stephen presented his public testimony that Jesus
was the Messiah, creating uproar in the "Synagogue of the Freemen".
Persecution arose against Stephen, leading to his stoning. Saul of Tarsus is
introduced in the Book of Acts as one of those present at that stoning.
that point, if he was not already active in the persecution of those who
followed Jesus, the Pharisee, Saul became a leading agent against them.
(Acts 8:4) tells us that the followers were "scattered abroad" with
the persecution. Hearing that the followers were active in Damascus,
Saul obtained, letters from the chief priest authorizing him to travel to Damascus and arrest and
imprison these men and women.
Damascus is a long journey from Jerusalem, about 130
miles - a long six day journey.
the road to Damascus,
Saul encountered Jesus in a bright flash of light that threw him to the
ground. While he was laid prostrate on the ground a voice spoke into his ear,
"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" At that point Saul beheld
Jesus. In answer to the anxious inquiry of the stricken persecutor, "Who
are you, Lord"? He said "I am Jesus, who you Persecute." (Acts
9:5, 22:8, 26:15).
he was struck to the ground, blinded, (Acts 9:8), Saul was led to a house in Damascus, on the Street
called Straight, owned by Judas. For three days, he lay on a bed there,
neither eating nor drinking.
that point, the lord came to "A certain Disciple at Damascus, named
Ananias" and sent him to the house of Judas, "for a man from Tarsus
named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man
named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his
I would have) Ananias questioned the Lord.
for he is a chosen instrument of mine to bear my name before the Gentiles and
Kings and the sons of Israel:
For I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
Ananias went and placed his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul…"
remained for several days with the disciples in Damascus. Until a plot to kill him was discovered. He escaped Damascus, lowered down the wall of the city
in a basket. (Acts 9:25, 2 Corinthians 11:30-33)
this point, he went to Arabia for three
years (Galatians 1:17). Absolutely noting is known about this period of
Saul's life. Evidently the entire focus of the rest of his life was brought
into being while he was there.
three years in Arabia, he returned to Tarsus
(Gal 1:21) for about three years.
The paragraph concerning the plot to kill Saul and his lowering down the wall
in the basket may occur here instead of where I placed it - three paragraphs
this time, Antioch, the capital of Syria
had become the scene of great Christian activity. Barnabas had been sent
there from Jerusalem to shepherd the work
there, was overwhelmed and remembering Saul in Tarsus, went there to find him. Saul
accompanied Barnabas back to Antioch
and labored there.
Antioch, the disciples
were first called Christians" (Acts 11:26)
a year, the church in Antioch
proposed to send out missionaries to the Gentiles and Barnabas and Saul, with
John Mark as their attendant were chosen for the work. At this point, the
disciples began to give effect to the Master's command, "Go ye into all
the world and preach the Gospel to every creature
three sailed from Seleucia the seaport of Antioch, across to Cyprus, 80 miles to the
southwest. At Paphos, Sergius
Paulus, the Roman proconsul was converted. At this
point Saul took the lead for the team and for ever after that point was
this point, the team crossed over to the mainland and proceeded several miles
up the river Cestrus to Perga
(Acts 13:13) where John Mark deserted the work and returned to Jerusalem.
and Barnabas traveled 100 miles inland, passing through Pamphylia,
Pisidia and Laconia.
At the Pisidian town of Antioch Paul preached hi first recorded
sermon (Acts 13:16-51 - Compare with Peter's Sermon Acts10: 30-43). Other
towns mentioned are Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. They returned by the same
route to see and encourage any converts they had made, and to ordain elders
in those churches.
Perga, they sailed back to Antioch.
remaining in Antioch
until probably AD 50 or 51, a great controversy broke out regarding the
Gentiles responsibility to Jewish Mosaic law. To help settle the questions,
Paul and Barnabas set out for Jerusalem
as deputies to consult with the Church there. (Acts 15). The council ruled in
favor of the Gentiles and Paul, Barnabas, Judas and Silas returned to Antioch.
a short rest, Paul said to Barnabas "Let us go again and visit our
Brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord and see
how they do" (Acts 15:36).
proposed John Mark again to accompany them, but Paul refused to allow him to
go. Barnabas insisted that the young disciple be allowed to go and a sharp
dispute resulted between Barnabas and Paul. The result was that they
separated and went separate ways. Barnabas with John Mark and Paul with
Silas. They may have never again met or journeyed together.
afterwards speaks of Barnabas with honor and sends for John Mark to come to
him when he is in prison in Rome
(Colossians 4:10, 2 Timothy 4:11).
and Silas departed Antioch
in about AD 51, this time by land. They revisited the churches Paul had
founded in Asia.
go to Derbe and Lystra (Acts 16:1-5) where Paul meets a Jewess woman Eunice
and Her Mother, Lois (2 Timothy1:5) and the son of Eunice, a young man named
Timothy. Luke tells us his mother was a Je7 and his fatheb a GReek.
P`ul left Lystra, Ha invited young 16-19 year old Timothy to come with the
are 29 references to Timothy in
acts and the NT letters written by Paul.
Paul longed to enter into "regions beyond" so they journeyed into
Phrygia and Galatia
(Acts 16:6). Because of some "Bodily Affliction" (Galatians 4:13,
14). He wanted to go to Bithynia, but the way was shut off by the Holy
Spirit, guiding him in another direction, and so he came down the shores of
the Aegean sea to Troas, on the Northwestern coast of Asia Minor (Acts 16:8).
The only references we have of the journey are in Galatians 4:13.
in Troas, Paul writes of a medical condition
he has that required treatment. It is possible that he had an ophthalmic
condition - some disease of the eyes. It is also possible that the physician
he sought out for his medical problems was Dr. Luke.
he waited in Troas, Paul saw a vision of a man in Macedonia crying "Come over
here and help us" (Acts 16:9). The next day, he departed Troas, by ship,
across the Hellespont separating Asia from Europe,
to Neapolis (Acts16:11)
This marks the spread of
the Gospel into Europe.
this point (Acts 16:10) in Acts, the "They" references become
"We" and "Us" references, indicating the inclusion of Dr.
Luke in the missionary team.
Macedonia, Paul founded
churches at Philippi (Acts 16), Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-10) and Berea, (In Berea
he leaves Silas and Timothy (Acts 17:10-14) before passing over into Achaia.
eventually made it to Athens,
but stayed only a brief period of time (Acts 17:17-31). He was not well
received there and never went back.
then passed over into Corinth,
the seat of the Roman Government in Acacia and remained there for a year and a
half, with much success to show for his work with the Corinthians.
joins back up with Silas and Timothy (Acts 18:1-17). While at Corinth, He wrote his two epistles to the
Church at Thessalonica, which were the earliest
he sailed for Syria and Jerusalem, hoping to make it there (Jerusalem) in time for the feast of
was accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, who he left at Ephesus.
attending the feast in Jerusalem he returned
where he stayed "For some time" (Acts 18:20-23)
journeyed by land to the "upper coasts" more eastern parts of Asia Minor. And finally he made it to Ephesus (Acts19:1-41), where he labored for
the Church for about three years.
Ephesus was a seaport cit of
great wealth. During Paul's time there, his fellow laborers carried the
Gospel message to Colossae, Laodicea and other cities in the region.
Paul's letter to the Colossians is to a church he had never visited.
before leaving Ephesus,
Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians. Then after the
"silversmiths riots", Paul left Ephesus
and traveled to Troas (2 Corinthians 2:12) and then to Macedonia (Acts 20:1) to meet
on the reports brought to Macedon is by Titus, Paul wrote the second epistle
to the Corinthians. Over that summer and fall, Paul visited the churches in Macedonia at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Then he went into
Greece for three months
most of that time in Corinth
he wrote the epistle to the Galatians and the great epistle to the Romans.
three months he left Acacia for Macedonia,
then sailed for Tyre
(Acts 21:3-6) and finally back to Jerusalem
by spring of AD 58.
the feats of Pentecost, he was almost murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple
(Acts 21:26-36). But was rescued by the Roman Commandant, (Acts 22: 22-29)
taken as a prisoner to Caesarea, where he
was detained for over two years in Herod's Praetorian (Acts 23:35).
those two years, he wrote no epistles that survived.
23: 23-35 Acts 24:1-17 Acts 25:1-12)
At the end of these two years, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, before whom the Apostle again stood in
Judgment. At this point Paul claimed his Roman citizenship and appealed to
the Emperor. He was sent there under the charge of Julius, a centurion of the
a long perilous voyage (Acts 27:1 - 28:16), he reached Rome in the early spring of probably AD 61.
Rome, he was permitted
to occupy his own house, for two years, under constant military guard. (Acts
speaks of preaching to his guards and of conversions of those guards, even to
Caesar's household (Philippians 1:13). Both Jews and Gentiles sought him out
(Acts 28:23 30, 31).
this period, Paul wrote the epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians,
Philippians, and to Philemon (and perhaps the Epistle to the Hebrews - the
actual authorship of Hebrews is disputed).
first imprisonment came to a close with Paul acquitted, probably due to a
lack of witnesses willing to come to Rome
to testify against him. At that time Paul and those who were with him left Rome and may have visited Western and Eastern Europe,
and Asia Minor. In his travels, Paul left Titus
on the island of Crete to minister to the young church there and
left Timothy in Ephesus
to minister to the troubled church there.
leaving Ephesus, Paul journeyed to Macedonia
and perhaps to the places already mentioned. During this period (AD 61-62),
He wrote his first epistle to Timothy and his epistle to Titus.
year of his probable release from the first imprisonment was also the year of
the burning of Rome
that Nero blamed on the Christians. It signaled the beginning of a fierce
persecution of Christians. Eventually, Paul was arrested again and brought
back to Rome.
this imprisonment, most probably in the Mamertine Prison, across from the
Forum and the Tiber River in Rome,
Paul wrote his 2nd epistle to Timothy. This epistle is the last
writing we have from Paul.
62-66) There is little doubt that Paul appeared again before Nero. This time
he was not released.
the trail, perhaps within days, perhaps the day of the trial, Paul was led
out of the city, tradition says, on the Apian Way. Tradition says that he was
executed there, having his head severed by the Roman executioner's axe.
four years later, Nero had committed suicide, Vespian
became Emperor and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed.
Copyright © 2008, by ToBeLikeHim
Return to Main
Return to Timothy Series