Paul the man by Rev. Norman Langenbrunner
Historians suggest that Paul was born about 10 AD in Asia Minor in the city of Tarsus. He was, therefore, a Jew living “in Diaspora,” that is, outside the Holy Land. Tarsus was a commercial river port city near the Mediterranean Sea, a crossroads of Greek and Semitic culture. Here Paul spoke Greek as his first language. Here he encountered Greek philosophy and culture. Here his Jewish heritage was challenged and ridiculed. No one knows why Paul’s family was living in Tarsus. St. Jerome speculated that the Roman occupiers had forced them to leave the Holy Land. Whatever the reason for his presence in this cosmopolitan environment, Paul was being prepared for his role as a missionary to the gentile nations. An obvious tension seethed inside Paul—a struggle between Jewish ethnicity and Greek culture. Perhaps that conflict explains his intense personality: a man who was gentle and harsh, forgiving and stubborn, persecutor and apostle.