There are many Apostles and Saints who propagated the message of Christianity across the world. Among these St. Paul is one of the more prominent. Also referred to as Apostle Paul or Paul of Tarsus, this early missionary carried the message of Jesus Christ to unchartered geographies and its people. His contribution to the writing of New Testament is widely recognized. Though he started his life as a devout Jew, his acceptance of Jesus Christ as a messenger of God changed the course of not just his life but also Christianity. Indeed, during the time of his conversion, there was no established Christian doctrine and recognition of a unique Christian religion. It was early pioneers like St. Paul who helped consolidate the teachings of Jesus Christ into the Holy Bible. St. Paul’s moment of revelation played an important role in the birth of Christianity. During A.D. 30 Paul of Tarsus “had what he called an ‘apocalypse’ or, literally, a revelation. Having been a violent persecutor of Jesus’s followers, Paul became convinced that he had seen the risen Christ. In his own version he simply talks of an apocalypse. It changed his life. But more importantly, it changed the world. It brought into being the religion we know as Christianity” (Earl, 2009, p.45).
While Christianity was born in the Middle East, people like St. Paul propagated the religion to parts of Southern Europe. In this sense, he was instumental in universalizing Christianity, which was earlier confined to a small location in Arabia. Paul’s role in universalizing Christ could be seen as twofold. First was his role as a missionary Christian, who converted people of Judaic and other faiths into followers of Christ. Second, he made vital contributions to the composition of the New Testament, giving the newly emerged religion authenticity and coherence. Indeed, the Holy Bible in its translated versions brought early Christian missionaries closer to the communities that they would meet in their path.
In his missionary path through the medditerranean and beyond, St. Paul would face plenty of hardships, hostilities and persecutions. It is fair to say that he dedicated and eventually sacrificed his life for the love of Jesus Christ and for the propagation of Christianity. In this regard, St. Paul’s figure dominates the apostolic age. His epistles have made a great impression on Christian theology, for
“the first Christian theological writing is found in them, where it is characterized rather by spiritual fervor than by systematic analysis. St. Paul became a fountainhead of Christian doctrine, and countless interpretations have been given of his teachings. Thus, Roman Catholic theology leans upon him at all times, and Martin Luther derived from the Epistle to the Romans his principle of justification by faith alone. There can be no doubt that Paul’s interpretation of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, his doctrine of the church as the mystical body of Christ, his teaching on law and grace, and his view of justification have been decisive in the formation of the Christian faith.” (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2009)
In these ways, St. Paul helped universalize Jesus Christ and Christianity.
“AT LAST WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ST PAUL; Ruthless, Half Mad He Stoned Christians to Death. He Also Founded Modern Civilisation. and until This Week, His Fate Was One of History’s Great Mysteries.” The Daily Mail (London, England) 1 July 2009: 15.
“Paul, Saint.” The Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. 2009.
Earl, Patricia Helene. “Following in the Footsteps of St. Paul.” Momentum Sept.-Oct. 2009: 44+.