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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Paul and His Writings

According to Acts, Paul was born in Tarsus, a city on the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, in what is now Turkey, around AD 10. He was a Roman citizen from birth, a status that carried certain privileges. He was also, according to Acts, a student of Gamaliel, a renowned rabbi, and a Pharisee, that is, a member of a strictly observant Jewish party. His own writings indicate that he was well educated in the Greek language and in Pharisaic methods of biblical interpretation. Both Paul and Acts say that he was so zealous for the Jewish Law before his conversion that he persecuted those who, he believed, had strayed from the Law by believing that Jesus was the Christ. During this earlier part of the sketch of Paul's life in Acts, he is called by his Jewish name, Saul. When in the narrative he begins to encounter the Roman world ( 13, 9 ), Luke calls him by his Roman name, Paul.

After experiencing a revelation of the Risen Christ from God, however, Paul himself joined these followers of “the Way” as a young adult, about AD 34. He firmly believed that his conversion included a call to preach the Christian message of salvation to all people, including the Gentiles. Paul spent the rest of his life, about thirty years, in pursuit of this mission. After three years in Arabia and a brief visit to Jerusalem, he embarked on his missionary career. After some years working in the Eastern Mediterranean area as far west as Greece, he visited Jerusalem to deliver relief funds collected in Asia Minor and Greece. He then intended to visit Rome and Spain, but in Jerusalem he met with increasing opposition from some Jewish leaders and was arrested and brought to Rome around AD 60. Between AD 48 and his death around AD 62, Paul wrote letters to communities with which he had worked, answering their questions and preaching the gospel as he understood it to have been revealed to him.

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