Tag Archives: Paul

Bible Term: Books of Paul

The Apostle Paul wrote about half of the books of the New Testament. Although a definitive list cannot be confirmed, the following books are generally accepted to have been written by Paul:

Paul was also called Saul (Acts 13:9). You can read about him in Acts 9 through 28. The dramatic story about how he became a follower of Jesus is found in Acts 9:1-31.

Blindness Leads to Sight

When God needed to turn Saul’s life around, he used a supernatural light, an unseen voice, and temporary blindness to get Saul’s attention (Acts 9:3-9).

Some time later, Saul (Paul), under the power of the Holy Spirit, did the same thing to a guy named Elymas. Elymas was supernaturally blinded for a time so God could get his attention (Acts 13:9-11).

These two accounts have amazing similarities.

Before both of these occurred, Jesus healed a blind man. When questioned about it, the man said, “I once was blind, but now I see.”

What he said literally about Jesus healing him, we can say figuratively about Jesus saving us.

When Did Saul Become Paul?

In reading the book of Acts in the Bible we learn about a badly misguided dude named Saul who turns his life around and later goes by the name of Paul. When did this name change take place?

If you say his name changed when he stopped killing Jesus’ followers to become one himself, I’d agree with you — and we’d be wrong.

Saul started following Jesus in Acts chapter 9, but continues to go by Saul until Acts chapter 13. What happened there?

It’s subtle, but Acts 13:9 says, “Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit…” I can’t say for sure, but this seems to be the first indication of God’s spirit filling Saul. Sure, he was a follower of Jesus before that and he was doing things for God before that, but when the Holy Spirit filled him, it’s as if God gave him a new name, Paul.

The change is abrupt. In Acts 7:58 through Acts 9:13 he is Saul. The Holy Spirit shows up in Acts 9:13 and for the rest of the book of Acts (and the rest of the Bible) he goes by Paul.

And that’s when his ministry took off.

Paul Speaks; Some Believe

The eleventh and final sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 28:17-28 (specifically Acts 28:25-28)

Setting: Rome

Speaker: Paul

Audience: Jewish leaders

Preceding Events: Paul conducts a pre-meeting with the Jewish leaders, explaining his situation and confirming his commitment to his faith.

Overall Theme: Though Jews hear the message of Jesus, most do not understand; the Gentiles will understand. (Paul spoke all day telling them about the kingdom of God and showing how Jesus is revealed in the Old Testament of the Bible. However, only his concluding remarks are recorded for us to read.)
Scripture Quoted: Isaiah 6:9-10

Central Teaching
: Paul’s mission is to tell the Gentiles about Jesus.

Subsequent Events: Some are convinced, but others would not believe.

Key Lesson: When we tell others about Jesus, not all will believe.

Paul’s Story

The tenth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 25:10-Acts 26:22 (specifically Acts 26:2-29)

Setting: A hearing before Festus in Caesarea

Speaker: Paul

Audience: Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice, high-ranking military officers, and prominent city leaders.

Preceding Events: Paul, in an effort to avoid being assassinated in Jerusalem, appeals his case to Caesar (whom he likely assumes will grant him a fair trial).

Overall Theme: Paul shares the story of his life, always the devote follower of God, at first opposing those who follow Jesus and later becoming one of them, with the purpose of telling the Gentiles about Jesus.

Scripture Quoted: none directly, though some of Paul’s story and the words spoken by Jesus are recorded in Acts 9:3-18 and again in Acts 22:3-21.

Central Teaching: Paul hopes and prays that everyone will follow Jesus.

Subsequent Events: Since Paul appealed his case to Caesar, he cannot be set free and instead is sent to Rome.

Key Lesson: Paul’s zealous pursuit of God is worthy of emulation, but despite having done nothing wrong or illegal, Paul remains imprisoned for his faith.

Paul’s Testimony

The ninth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 24:1-27 (specifically Acts 24:10-21)

Setting: A hearing before Felix in Caesarea

Speaker: Paul

Audience: Felix (the governor and judge), Jews, and Ananias and Tertullus, Paul’s accusers.

Preceding Events: Paul is sent to Felix in Caesarea to protect him from a plot of some Jews in Jerusalem who have vowed to kill him.

Overall Theme: Paul denies the charges against him and declares his core beliefs.

Scripture Quoted: none

Central Teaching: Paul believes in the resurrection from the dead.

Subsequent Events: Paul is kept in prison for two years, but is granted some freedom and has more opportunities to talk with Felix. Although Felix is moved by what Paul says, there is no record of him deciding to follow Jesus.

Key Lesson: God’s plans may not be our plans or meet our expectations of how things should happen.

Paul’s Words Stir up the Crowd

The eighth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 21:27-22:30 (specifically Acts 22:3-21)

Setting: Jerusalem, in the temple

Speaker: Paul

Audience: A mob and a few Roman soldiers

Preceding Events: Some Jews from Asia tell lies about Paul and stir up a mob.

Overall Theme: Paul shares the key points of his spiritual journey.

Scripture Quoted: none directly, though some of Paul’s story and the words spoken by Jesus are recorded in Acts 9:3-18.

Central Teaching: Jesus came for all people. (God called Paul to tell the Gentiles about Jesus.)

Subsequent Events: The riotous mob erupts again. Paul is temporarily taken into custody and then released.

Key Lesson: People can respond violently if they don’t like what you are saying, perhaps more so if you challenge their religious beliefs.

Obey God Regardless

The seventh sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 20:16-37 (specifically Acts 20:18-35)

Setting: Miletus

Speaker: Paul

Audience: Elders from the church of Ephesus

Preceding Events: Paul, compelled by the Holy Spirit, is steadfastly traveling to Jerusalem.

Overall Theme: Paul gives his personal testimony (he has worked hard for God, has no regrets, and is obeying the Holy Spirit) and offers encouragement to the elders.

Scripture Quoted: Paul quotes Jesus, but those words are not directly found in the gospel accounts of Jesus.

Central Teaching: Paul will do what God tells him, even though it will result in hardships.

Subsequent Events: Paul leaves and once in Jerusalem is thrown in prison.

Key Lesson: Doing what God tells us to do is more important than our own safety and comfort.

Paul Cleverly Connects with the People of Athens

The sixth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 17:16-34 (specifically Acts 17:22-31)

Setting: In Athens, a meeting at the Areopagus

Speaker: Paul

Audience: The people of Athens (non-Jews)

Preceding Events: The Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, who were debating with Paul about his teaching, took him to a meeting at the Areopagus.

Overall Theme: We are offspring of the creator-God.

Scripture Quoted: Paul did not quote from the Old Testament, but did reference philosophers with whom the audience would be familiar.

Central Teaching: God wants everyone to repent (that is, to turn from their current ways of doing things and follow him).

Subsequent Events: Some sneered at his teaching, while others wanted to hear more, and some believed.

Key Lesson: The message of Jesus can be offensive to some (see Jeremiah 6:10).

Be Ready to Speak

The fifth sermon in the book of Acts: Acts 13:13-52 (specifically, Acts 13:16-41 & 46-47)

Setting: The synagogue in Antioch

Speaker: Paul

Audience: Jews and God-fearing Gentiles (likely converts to Judaism)

Preceding Events: Paul is merely present at the Sabbath service and invited to speak

Overall Theme: Paul connects the life of Jesus with the Old Testament teaching and prophecies.

Scripture Quoted: Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 55:3, Psalm 16:10, Habakkuk 1:5, Isaiah 49:6

Central Teaching: The news about Jesus is for all people (both Jews and Gentiles).

Subsequent Events: Paul and his companions are invited back, but opposition is mounted against them and they are driven away. Nevertheless, their message spread throughout the region.

Key Lesson: Be ready to speak of Jesus when the opportunity is presented – and ready to leave when it is withdrawn.