Saint Paul’s Calling

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Have you ever wondered if you are fulfilling your calling? It takes a lifetime to discern in what spiritual direction you should take. This is the story of St. Paul and how God prepared him for his life’s journey from his birth. We all have a special calling, but we must be willing to say “yes” in order for God to move in our lives. You realize you’re in the center of His will for your life when you have peace and are unstoppable to accomplish the work of God. My assignment as an evangelist, blogger, missionary, and teacher is to share the  Word of God, a calling that was given to me by Jesus.


God’s perfect plan for Paul’s calling had many different twists and turns. One of the major milestones in his life was his time as a student of Gamaliel. Gamaliel was a highly regarded Pharisee who was a member of the Sanhedrin (Jewish high court), but he will be remembered as Paul’s mentor and teacher. God knew that Paul had to be under the teaching of the best scholar in order for him to comprehend and defend the holy teaching of the Jewish Torah. Gamaliel, the doctor of  Mosaic law, can be found in (Acts 5:34-40). In Acts Chapter 5 Gamaliel defends John and Peter before the counsel and offers words of deep wisdom.

When John and Peter were released from the Sanhedrin they were instructed not to preach using the name of Jesus. This did not stop the apostles from preaching day and night proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus.

The courage and wisdom of Gamaliel helped the first Christians spread the Word of God. Saul was introduced in Acts 7:58 at the stoning of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr.


Saint Paul, who had the dual names of Saul (Jewish) and Paul (Roman), was born a Jew with Roman citizenship. To have  Roman citizenship in the time of Jesus was a coveted possession that granted great status. Saul would use this to his advantage on many occasions.

Saul, a hardcore Pharisee, was hell bent on destroying Christianity. He knew what avenues to take and used his influence to gain support. With letters from the High Priest of Israel he headed to Damascus to bring those who belonged to “The Way” back to Jerusalem in chains.

The Conversion

Before Saul’s conversion God had placed the fire of passion in him. This would take a new direction when he met Jesus on the Road to Damascus. His zealous hatred was changed into love to spread the Word of God throughout the world. So Saul, an angry non-believer of Christ, would become one of the greatest missionaries and writers of the early church.

As he traveled spreading the Gospel he would use his Roman name Paul; this was fitting as he witnessed to many Gentiles. God had His hand on this apostle, choosing dual names for him:  Saul, the Pharisee and Paul the missionary for Christ.

Saint Paul’s Preaching

Wherever Paul preached he caused controversy; if he preached in the synagogues it caused division. When he was not reaching the Jews, he would go to the Gentiles. Paul, the preacher of preachers, and his epistles spoke not only the “Good News” but taught his readers that Christ is the model for all mankind. He did not hesitate to remind his believers that he possessed apostolic authority from the Lord. (Gal 1:1). He had a mandate from God and the boldness to speak the truth.

Saint Paul suffered for Christ and was thrown in prison for his beliefs, but his imprisonment was also part of God’s plan. This is where Paul wrote many of his epistles. He could not go in person to preach, so he wrote letters to his followers.  His prison epistles–Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, are treasured teachings in the New Testament.

St. Paul’s Imprisonment

Because he was a Roman citizen, Paul demanded that he be tried before the Roman magistrates. He was acquitted after his first trial, which allowed him to continue evangelizing. This was another of God’s plans coming to fruition. Paul needed to revisit his earlier converts who needed reassurance and spiritual guidance.

By the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy, he was feeling abandoned because no one came to his defense (2 Tim 4:16-17). But in his loneliness, Paul  knew to cry out to God, because he was confident that the Lord would rescue Him (2 Tim 4:18).

Paul used his Roman citizenship to his advantage. When more than 40 Jews conspired to kill him, God intervened. Jews, under Roman law, could not receive capital punishment. When it was discovered that Paul was a Roman citizen, his life was spared ( Acts 24:20-26).

Paul would appear before Felix, the governor of Judea and Samaria, Festus, his successor, and Herod King Agrippa. In every circumstance his defense remained steadfast. He simply told the truth. Before King Agrippa, a Jew, Paul spoke with great authority. This boldness and authority was Paul’s greatest gift.

The Death Of Saint Paul

It is a historical fact that Emperor Nero accused the Christians of The Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Under the orders of Nero Paul would have been executed; but because he was a Roman citizen, Paul was spared a crucifixion and was beheaded instead.

The Church of St. Paul at the Three Fountains (San Paolo alle Tre Fontane) in Rome is the site of his beheading. According to legend  after St. Paul’s beheading, his head bounced three times, creating three separate springs of water. These springs of water are still flowing in the sanctuary of this church.

Answering the Call

It baffles me that so many people who have the influence to change the trajectory of our world instead ignore their calling. Their vain existence clouds their vision. In all that we do, whether we are serving God or the Enemy, we will be held accountable. When judgment falls they will be like Nero; no God will save them. We must seek to find what God has planned for our lives. Make a difference by opening your mouth and telling the godly truth.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I come before You and ask that You convict those who have not responded to their calling. Move mightily in their lives and bring them to their knees. Humble them with Your unconditional love. Amen.

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