The Apostle Paul’s Life Before Conversion

And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, Saul was a top student and disciple of the Pharisees. But notice that his zeal was mostly for the “traditions of my fathers.” The Pharisees held tradition equal with Scripture and often honor their tradition over Scripture (see Mark 7:8-13). Even though he was separated from the womb for service like the prophets Jeremiah or John the Baptist, he lived a sinful life up until his conversion.

The following passages in the New Testament tell us of the life of Paul before his conversion and details about his personal life. Most of them are from The book of Acts, the rest are from his letters. (World English Bible translation, words in brackets are mine for clarification, and not part of the Bible text.) My comments in italics.

Acts 7:58 and they cast him [Stephen] out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. Saul would be considered nearly 30 years old even though he’s called young. The reason for this is in Philemon, written about 62 A.D., about 30 years after his conversion, Paul calls himself “aged”so he would’ve been 60 years old or so at the time. That would make his attendance at the stoning of Stephen when he was about the age of 30.

8:1,3 Now Saul was consenting to his death. . .3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Saul had as much hate for Stephen as the Sanhedrin did and heartily joined in the persecution of the church afterward. Continue reading “The Apostle Paul’s Life Before Conversion”

God’s Judgments, Pt. 2, The Passages (Given without commentary)

PSALM 58:11 . . . men shall say, “Most certainly there is a reward for the righteous. Most certainly there is a God who judges the earth.”

PSALM 62:12 Also to you, Lord, belongs loving kindness, for you reward every man according to his work.

PSALM 94:2 Rise up, you judge of the earth. Pay back the proud what they deserve.

PROVERBS 11: 18-19, 31 Wicked people earn deceitful wages, but one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. 19 He who is truly righteous gets life. He who pursues evil gets death. 31 Behold, the righteous shall be repaid in the earth; how much more the wicked and the sinner!


(Quoted from the World English Bible translation) [Words in brackets are my clarifications.]

GENESIS 2:17 “but you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

GENESIS 3:16-19 To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bear children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and ate from the tree, about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ the ground is cursed for your sake. You will eat from it with much labor all the days of your life. 18 It will yield thorns and thistles to you; and you will eat the herb of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

GENESIS 19:13 we will destroy this place [Sodom and Gomorrah], because the outcry against them has grown great before Yahweh that Yahweh has sent us to destroy it.

GENESIS 22:15-18 Yahweh’s angel called to Abraham a second time out of the sky, 16 and said, “I have sworn by myself, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 7that I will bless you greatly, and I will multiply your offspring greatly like the stars of the heavens, and like the sand which is on the seashore. Your offspring will possess the gate of his enemies.8 All the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring, because you have obeyed my voice.” Continue reading “God’s Judgments, Pt. 2, The Passages (Given without commentary)”

God’s Judgments, Pt. 1, Introduction

The theme uses such words as “give,” “reward,” “repay,” “recompense,” “render,” “judge.” It is even the main point of entire books (e.g, Nahum, Revelation) or chapters (e.g., Deut. 28, Matt. 25) or verses (Isaiah 57:17). Generally they follow the form “Because you have done that, I will do this,” or “If you do this, I will do that.”


“God renders to every one according to their deeds.” is by far the most often-stated truth in Scripture. That realization is what led me to write these following articles. Part 2 is an extensive list of passages from 63 of the 66* books in which it is stated in one way or another. Despite its length, it won’t be exhaustive. I felt it was important to list so many passages because of how often the Lord had these pronouncements recorded.

It appears obvious that it’s due to how serious this matter is for us all, especially about Judgment Day when we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ “that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.” My commentary on this topic will follow in separate parts. Continue reading “God’s Judgments, Pt. 1, Introduction”

How 1 Samuel 25 shows us types of Christ in fallible people; and other great truths.

Nabal’s servant is key here because he alerts Abigail, the go-to person in the household, about what’s happened. He lets her know that David and his men are responsible for their safety and the safety of Nabal’s possessions for the entire year. He calls them a wall. Jesus Christ is a wall to us, protecting and delivering us from trouble. We are a wall to those we pray for or minister to in their need. Parents are a wall to their children. That’s what police are to society, that’s what armies are, that’s what first responders are in any community: they are a wall between the citizen and danger.

Samuel died; and all Israel gathered themselves together, and mourned for him, and buried him at his house at Ramah. Then David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.* David has lost his closest confidant and support in Samuel, therefore he headed south to a desert area that had many caves and lots of foliage to hide in. David is still on the run from Saul who is trying to kill him because of the song of the women who danced and praised David for killing his 10 thousands, but only ascribed to King Saul the killing of thousands. In Saul’s mind, tortured now with envy and evil suspicion, he believed David would next take the kingdom from him. (1 Sam. 18:7-8)     *World English Bible (WEB) used in this article.


2There was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; these are both places in the tribe of Judah. And the man was very great. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats; and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. This rich man could be considered a multimillionaire today because, in their day, wealth was computed in livestock. Compare Job, who had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys and many servants, and that he was the greatest of all the people of the East. (Job 1:1-3) Job might be considered a multibillionaire in our day. 3Now the name of the man was Nabal; His name means foolish. and the name of his wife Abigail. Her name means, the father delights. This woman was intelligent and had a beautiful face; but the man was surly and evil in his doings. Unfortunately, this is a situation that happens all too often in this world, a bad husband with a good wife. Nabal was wealthy. Abigail married into money. She had good circumstances materially, but it’s hard to imagine she was happy with her husband. Continue reading “How 1 Samuel 25 shows us types of Christ in fallible people; and other great truths.”

How the Healing of the Infirm Man was a Sign to the Jews

When Jesus saw the man lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” This was God’s question to the nation of Israel: Did they want to be spiritually well? Did they want to turn to their ancient Liberator with all their hearts and be free of their stony hearts and its tragic consequences? His question to them still stands.

The 8 miraculous works of Jesus that John chooses for his Gospel, under inspiration of the Spirit, are indications of greater truths applicable to the nation. That is why John only uses the Greek word for “signs” for the miracles of Jesus. This is the third one (the first one is the water into wine in Cana, the second is the healing of the nobleman’s son).

As mentioned in the prior post, the man was infirm for 38 years. He signifies the spiritual infirmity that the Israelites exhibited when they refused to enter the promised land after they arrived at its borders (see Numbers 13 and 14). For all their experience with God: seeing all the great and terrifying wonders that were done in Egypt in judgment of their captors; their miraculous escape through the Red Sea; the rock that gushed forth water; the manna that fell with the dew every morning except on Sabbath; the visit at Sinai with God as He came mightily upon the smoking and quaking mountain and spoke from Heaven over them — none of these things caused the adult generation to trust wholeheartedly in this God of their fathers called Yahweh. Continue reading “How the Healing of the Infirm Man was a Sign to the Jews”

The Healing of the Infirm Man of John 5

The least the Jews could have done at first was to ask why he was carrying the pallet. They must have realized that it was an unusual thing to carry in the performance of servile work. It wasn’t a hammer, ladder or a basket of wheat or barley. They weren’t making “a righteous judgment but only one of appearance.” This is exactly what Jesus said to them when he chided them at a different feast in Jerusalem concerning this healing. See John 7:23-24.

In his Gospel, John shows us how Jesus came to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God. The opposition and outright hatred of the Jewish authorities escalated against Jesus throughout his ministry. John centers on His enemies in Judea and its capital, Jerusalem, where He was to die. John selected 3 miraculous signs in or near Jerusalem to illustrate this point – the healing of the infirm man; the healing of the man born blind; and the raising of Lazarus.

There are  5 other great signs, making a total of 8 reported by John in his Gospel. Seven were before the Resurrection, 1 was after. (The water turned wine in Cana of Galilee; the healing of the Nobleman’s son at Capernaum; the feeding of the 5000; the walking on the water of the sea of Galilee; and then, after the resurrection, the miracle catch of 153 fish). 6 of them are reported only by John, 2 of them (the feeding of the 5000 and the walking on the water) are found in other gospels. 

Each of these signs were followed by confrontations with the Jewish leaders in which the animosity against Jesus grew, and in which Jesus declares His divinity to them. Both the deeds and the words of Jesus were proof to His people that their long ago-promised Messiah had finally arrived. The offer of Messiah’s Kingdom was given in the Israelites best interests, but the people refused the offer. This was just as God had privately counseled because He wanted the Gentiles (us) to share the commonwealth of Israel. The sign we will look at is in chapter 5 about the healing of a man infirm for 38 years. Continue reading “The Healing of the Infirm Man of John 5”