The disciples of Jesus Christ were faithful to record the words and actions of the Lord. Through His actions and character, Jesus Christ influenced history. Jesus Christ was crucified, died, and resurrected, which changed world history as we know it. He told his disciples He would die and on the third day he would be resurrected. Jesus died to pay the sin debt of the world. The Lord led a sinless life, but was the one who took on the sins of the world. There is no other person who has had as much of an impact in history as Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul, who once rejected Jesus Christ, later became one of the greatest men of God. In the history of the Christian church, he was the most significant missionary. He was faithful to the Lord and preached Jesus Christ and His crucifixion. Paul was a devoted missionary and he taught the gospel wherever he visited. This character study will focus on the life of Paul as a missionary and how he changed the course of world history.
Lesson One: The Background of Paul
I would like to welcome everyone to the Men’s Huddle Bible study. Over the next few weeks, we will study the life of the apostle Paul with the emphasis on missions. In a few months, our church is going to dedicate an entire month on the focus of missions. These lessons will help to prepare for missions month. The Scriptures will primarily be read from the book of Acts because its focus is on missions. The apostle Paul went on three missionary journeys and we will take a look at each one and expound the Scriptures. This week’s focus is on the life of the apostle Paul up to his conversion. The title of my lesson is simply, “The background of Paul.” The lessons to come will focus on each of Paul’s missionary journeys with an application for our lives in each of those lessons.
This morning’s lesson will focus on the life of Paul. Before getting into Paul as a missionary, it is important to understand his background. Who was Paul and how did his work have an impact on Christianity? Understanding the background of Paul will help us understand the words that he wrote. If you have your Bibles, please turn with me to Acts, chapter 22. Verse 3 gives six facts in one sentence outlining the background of Paul. “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.” Tarsus was in the southeastern part of Asia Minor and the major city in Cilicia. Paul was born in Tarsus and a citizen of this “no ordinary city” (Acts 21:39). Paul said he was “brought up in this city” which suggests he came from Tarsus to Jerusalem and received his education there at an early age. Tarsus was a privileged and prosperous city.
More importantly, Paul was a citizen of Rome. It was a privilege to be a citizen of the Roman Empire. In fact, only a small percentage of the population who lived within the Roman Empire had...