The background of the Apostle Paul
If we were to extract the titles for the apostle Paul from the New Testament, it would be: a Pharisee, an Apostle, Pioneer missionary, a dynamic church planter, a theologian, and above all, a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.
We know little of Paul’s early years except what we glean from the New Testament, that he was from Tarsus, located far north and west of Jerusalem in Cilicia.
In the church tradition, the apostle Paul is popularly read and quoted that, most of the people refer to him as the “apostle” without using his name. Paul was Jewish, from the tribe of Benjamin but he was also a Roman citizen (Acts 22:28) which will has its perks if you will. Paul was well versed in Greek culture and language and received his religious training by Gamaliel, the most respected rabbi of the day (Acts 22:3).
In Philippians 3, the apostle Paul gives us a quick resume’, stating that he is Hebrew, descendant of Abraham, circumcised on the eight day, of the tribe of Benjamin, and as far as the righteousness that comes from the law–faultless.
The Roman Empire extended well beyond Italy, through Macedonia and Asia, and all the way to the limits of Judea. Even though these territories were conquered by the Romans and were part of the Roman Empire, not everyone was the Roman citizen. To be a Roman citizen was a special privilege. A person could become a Roman citizen if he or she was born to parents who already were Roman citizens or by purchase. The Roman citizen was entitled to certain rights that a non-Roman citizen was not (i.e. fair trial and the right of passage).
First Arrival on the Pages of Scripture
As a young zealous Jewish man he was obsessed with eliminating the young movement of “the way” that we first hear of him on the pages of scriptures at the scene where Stephen is persecuted to death.