Summary: Paul’s Early years of Service
"A HARMONY OF THE LIFE OF PAUL"
Paul’s Early Years Of Service (36-45 A.D.)
1. When people think of the life of Paul, they are likely mindful of...
a. His persecution of the church prior to his conversion
b. His vision of the Lord on the road to Damascus
c. His three missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts
2. A period of his life that may not be as well-known is the ten years
immediately following his conversion...
a. His conversion likely took place around 36 A.D.
b. His first missionary journey began 45 A.D.
-- What was Paul doing between his conversion and the time when the
Spirit called him to begin his missionary journeys?
3. Knowing the zeal of Paul, it was not an idle time of his life...
a. It was a time of preparation
b. Combined with activity that would later serve him well
[In this study we shall survey the first ten years of Paul’s life as a
I. THREE YEARS IN DAMASCUS AND ARABIA (36-39 A.D.)
A. INITIAL PREACHING IN DAMASCUS...
1. Immediately after his conversion, Paul begins preaching - Ac
2. To the amazement of those who heard him - Ac 9:21-22
B. TIME IN ARABIA...
1. Paul did not stay in Damascus long after his conversion - cf.
2. He went to Arabia, the desert area east and south of Damascus
a. How long he stayed is uncertain, though it is thought to
have been the greater part of three years - cf. Ga 1:18
b. What he did is unknown, though some think it was a time of
personal reflection, and revelations from the Lord - cf. Ga
C. RETURN AND ESCAPE FROM DAMASCUS...
1. He returned from Arabia to Damascus - Ga 1:17
2. Some time later an attempt was made to kill him, which he
escaped - Ac 9:23-25
3. Years later he recounted his narrow escape - 2 Co 11:32-33
[Damascus was the first place Paul preached (Ac 26:19-20), and the
first place he experienced persecution. It would not be the last place
for either experience! Leaving Damascus, Paul makes his...]
II. FIRST VISIT TO JERUSALEM (39 A.D.)
A. SKEPTICAL RECEPTION BY THE CHURCH...
1. At first, the church is afraid to receive him - Ac 9:26
2. Barnabas (cf. Ac 4:36-37) introduces him to the apostles - Ac
9:27; Ga 1:18-19
a. He saw Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days
b. He also saw James the Lord’s brother
B. PREACHING IN JERUSALEM...
1. He was given free access to the church - Ac 9:28
2. He proclaimed boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus - Ac 9:29
3. He disputed with the Hellenists (Grecian Jews) - Ac 9:29
C. ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE...
1. The Hellenists attempt to kill him - Ac 9:29
2. Paul is warned by the Lord in a vision - cf. Ac 22:17-21
3. The brethren send him to Tarsus by way of Caesarea - Ac 9:30
[It is evident that Paul has now become a dangerous enemy to his former
friends. His testimony concerning the Lord and his own conversion is
difficult to answer, and the opposition is willing to do anything to
silence him! At this point Paul returns home (Tarsus) and spends...]
III. FIVE YEARS IN SYRIA AND CILICIA (39-43 A.D.)
A. RETURN TO TARSUS...
1. The place of his birth - Ac 22:3
2. Now the center of preaching in the surrounding regions of
Syria and Cilica - Ga 1:21
3. Elsewhere, brethren hear of his preaching - Ga 1:22-24
4. Little else is known of this period of Paul’s life, though it
may have been a time when:
a. Churches in the area were established - Ac 15:23,41
b. Paul suffered persecution not recorded in Acts - 2 Co 11:
c. He had the vision of Paradise - 2 Co 12:1-4
-- This period lasted about four to five years
B. DEPARTURE FROM TARSUS...
1. Occasioned by the arrival of Barnabas - Ac 11:25
a. Who introduced him to the Jerusalem church earlier
b. Who traveled with him on his first missionary journey later
2. Who had come from Antioch of Syria, the site of a new and
growing church - Ac 11:19-24
[As far as we can tell, Paul had worked alone up to this time. But
with Barnabas Paul begins a series of labors in which he was always
accompanied by fellow-workers. Barnabas and Paul shared their first
IV. A YEAR IN ANTIOCH (44 A.D.)
A. WORK IN ANTIOCH...
1. It had already grown due to the labors of others, including
Barnabas - Ac 11:19-24
2. Barnabas and Paul taught a great many people that year - Ac
3. It was where disciples of Christ were first called Christians