Paul becomes a Christian

Many Scripture scholars shy away from the term conversion when they discuss what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus.

Many Scripture scholars shy away from the term conversion when they discuss what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus. They prefer to describe it as “a call.” There are three versions of the “road to Damascus” story in the Acts of the Apostles (9:1-19; 22:4- 16; 26:9-19) and the specifics do not agree. Paul himself provided no details. He said simply that he had persecuted the church, but God called him and revealed his Son to him. “Conversion” makes it sound as if Paul changed religions. He did not. Rather he re-interpreted the Scriptures and symbols of Judaism in the light of the revelation of Jesus Christ. Pauline scholar Calvin Roetzel put it this way, “In sum, Paul was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, and in all likelihood died as a Jew.” For Paul the “new way” was still within Judaism, not in a new religion.

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