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Saint Paul


According to the widely known account recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul carried out three well-defined missionary journeys (see maps). The letters reveal that Paul's missionary itinerary was guided by three major concerns: (1) the vocation of a missionary to work in territory as yet unreached by other Christian evangelists-hence his plan to go as far west as Spain (see Romans 15:24, 28; see also Romans 1:14); (2) the concern of a pastor to revisit his own congregations as problems arose-hence, for example, Paul's several visits to Corinth; and (3) an unshakable determination to collect money from his largely Gentile churches and to deliver the collection himself to the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem. Although scholars do not fully understand Paul's motive for this endeavor, it is certain that he wished by it to bring together the churches of his Gentile mission with those of the Jewish Christians in Palestine.

From Acts it is known that Paul was arrested in Jerusalem after riots incited by his Jewish opponents, and that he was finally taken to Rome; it is also in Acts that Paul speaks of the possibility of his own death (see Acts 20:24; see also Acts 20:38). He was executed in Rome, probably in AD62; Christian tradition from the 4th century fixes the day as February 22.

The New Testament contains 13 letters bearing Paul's name as author, and 7 of these were almost certainly written by Paul himself: 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, Philippians, and Philemon. These letters, in which Paul occasionally speaks of his personal experience and his work, are the major source of knowledge about the course of his life; most scholars concentrate on them and consult the Acts of the Apostles as a supplementary source.

"Paul, Saint," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


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