The Acts of Paul and Thecla - Bible Study - BibleWise

The one thing most people do know about St Paul is that he underwent a dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. Precisely what happened has been hard to determine as the accounts in Acts and the letters differ on the details. For example, when St Paul talks about his conversion he makes no mention of a journey from Jerusalem to Damascus.

Much of what we know about Paul's life is from the Book of Acts

As previously noted, the book of Acts gives us a historical look at Paul’s life and times.

Acts of the Apostles - Wikipedia

Then theyretraced their steps back through Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (in Pisidia)(Acts 14:21).Paul and Barnabas went throughout Pisidia, Pamphylia, then to Perga, Attalia,and sailed back to Antioch in Syria (Acts 14:24-26)The first journey ends in Antioch, Syria, where Paul and Barnabas staythere a long time (Acts 14:28).The dates for the events from 50-60 AD are found by counting backwards from thesuccession of Felix's reign as Procurator in Judea by Porcius Festus in 60 AD.

Information on the Book of Acts of the Apostles

Such theories are demanded only if Luke is regarded as the sort of historian whose main purpose is factual completeness and accuracy. In fact, however, we have seen that everywhere Luke's account is selected and shaped to suit his apologetic interests, not in defiance of but in conformity to ancient standards of historiography. The questions are generated as well by the presumption that it is Paul's fate which most concerns Luke, and a failure to clearly indicate his end demands an explanation. But in fact, we have seen that Luke's argument involves far more than Paul's personal destiny. As important as Paul is to Luke and as dominant as he has been in the second half of Acts, he remains for Luke ultimately only another in a series of prophetic figures through whom God's message of salvation is brought to the people.

Through his hardships and suffering, Paul knew the outcome of a life well lived for Christ.
Orit could have been written from Antioch between Paul's second and thirdjourneys in the winter of 53-54 AD (Acts 18:22-23).

What can we learn from the life of Paul? Who was Paul?

The Damascus Road experience was both a conversion and a call. It was a conversion away from his previous life as a zealous persecutor of Jesus' followers and it was a call to a new life advancing the cause of the new movement with even more vigour than he had shown before. Now, with boundless energy, Paul preached the gospel of the Christ crucified for the sins of all people far and wide, beginning at Jerusalem and continuing all the way to Rome. His achievement was a matter of some pride for him:

These 13 “letters” (books) make up the “Pauline Authorship” and are the primary source of his theology.


Finally, an apologetic concern is evident throughout Acts. By stressing the continuity between Judaism and Christianity (–; –; –; –), Luke argues that Christianity is deserving of the same toleration accorded Judaism by Rome. Part of Paul’s defense before Roman authorities is to show that Christianity is not a disturber of the peace of the Roman Empire (, –; –). Moreover, when he stands before Roman authorities, he is declared innocent of any crime against the empire (–; ; –; –). Luke tells his story with the hope that Christianity will be treated as fairly.

This book begins with the resurrection of Jesus and concludes with the final missionary journeys of Paul.

Acts 27 - Shipwrecked in the storm of life.

Another detail is worth noting. In Acts 25:13, Luke writes, "When a few days had passed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived in Caesarea on a visit to Festus." Luke assumes a knowledge of who this Bernice was in his Greco-Roman readers. This would be most easily assumed after she had been made famous by her affair with the emperor Titus in c. 69 CE. Juvenal mentions her in his in the book on "The Ways of Women," while Suetonius comments on "his notorious passion for queen Berenice, to whom it was even said that he promised marriage" ( 7.1). This lends further probability to a post-70 date of Acts.