The conversion of Paul was a turning point in the history of the early Church. Saul, as Paul was first known, was a tentmaker from Tarsus who zealously persecuted the followers of Christ. While traveling on the road to Damascus, he was struck down amidst a blinding light from heaven. According to the account in Acts of the Apostles (9.1-22; 22.3-16; 26.12-18), a voice asked “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Following the instructions he was given, Saul headed into Damascus and began proclaiming Jesus. Threatened with death for his actions, Paul escaped the city by being lowered in a basket over the city wall.
Paul’s zeal for the risen Jesus led him to become a passionate follower and later a teacher of the nations. The letters, or epistles, of Paul offer us a window into the early Church.