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in the footsteps of paul
 Tarsus
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 Home | History | Series
 Introduction
 Tarsus (Birth - 30CE)
 Jerusalem (30-34)
 Antioch (34-43)
 Spreading the Word (43-48)
 The Wider World (49-50)
 Corinth (50-52)
 Ephesus (52-56)
 Into the Fire (56-70)
Saul of Tarsus: Rooted in Three Worlds
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When he was about to be taken into the barracks, Paul said to the commander: ‘Permission to speak?’ And the commander replied ‘So you speak Greek?...’

And Paul said ‘I am a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no unremarkable city. I beg you, permit me to address the people?’

With permission granted, Paul stood on the steps and gestured with his hand to the people. When all was quiet, he addressed them, speaking in the language of the Hebrews.

–Acts 21.37-40

First century synagogue
Mosaic image of Paul
(Scala/Art Resource, NY)


aul of Tarsus was born sometime around 5 to 15 CE. It is unclear if he was born in Tarsus, or elsewhere to a family from Tarsus. What is clear is that he was born into three worlds: the Judaism of the first century, the Greek culture of the Mediterranean, and the administrative superstructure of the Roman Empire. His familiarity with each of these three worlds would make him uniquely suited for the missionary travels of his adult life; writing his letters in Greek, he signed his name Paul, the Latinized form of his Hebrew name, Saul.

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