For everything we know for certain about the Apostle Paul, there are many more things shrouded in mystery and open for conjecture and speculation. So very little is mentioned about Paul outside of his personal testimonies and what he wrote in Philippians chapter 3. Many crazy accusations have been leveled at Paul, both when he lived and ever since. This truly hurts my heart for I believe Paul was a great man of God.
We do know that Saul (Paul) was a Pharisee, a Roman citizen, well educated, zealous and sat on the Sanhedrin. We thus are to assume that he was at some point married, probably was well off financially and a man on the fast track to top leadership positions. There is no denying that Saul was a very influential man who was given the job of destroying the new Christian sect which was spreading throughout the regions near Jerusalem.
Many rumors continue to circulate concerning Saul, one of which is that he was the ¬Å young man¬ who was brought the clothing of Stephan after he was stoned. There is no proof that the person was Saul although it certainly could have been.
Whether Saul had a wife or children has been a source of contentious debate for centuries. If he sat on the Sanhedrin he would have had to be married, but Paul makes absolutely no references to his personal family anywhere in his writings. Seeing how Paul was on the road nearly all the time after Acts 13, if he did have a wife and children, he obviously never saw them.
We know that after his conversion Paul spent a large amount of time in the wilderness and after almost being killed by the Jews, tried to show himself to the disciples who were scared to death of him. Barnabas befriended Paul and took him to Tarsus and later the two of them ended up in Antioch where they were called to go forth and spread the Gospel.
The confusion regarding Paul comes from statements he makes in his epistles such as in I Corinthians 7 where he wished all were as he was. Some have said this proves Paul was and always had been a single man. Others say it proves he once had a wife but not at that time. The truth is that no one knows for sure exactly what Paul meant.
Another statement Paul made that has caused great confusion was regarding his ¬Å thorn in the flesh¬. Although from context it is very clear that Paul was referring to the groups of people who followed him everywhere seeking to destroy his credibility, physically injure him or even kill him; the notion that he was referring to some physical ailment is still promoted to this day.
The Apostle Paul, more than any other man mentioned in the New Testament, deserves to be studied and understood. Considering how much of the New Testament was written by Paul, it is only logical that we should strive to grasp who he was, how he thought and what he taught. As time allows I will attempt to share what I know from my 40 years of researching this incredible man and his writings.
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