Sha'ul: Paul in the Greek.
Paul is first found in Acts at the stoning of Stephen
It is interesting to note what Stephen was teaching and preaching and why he was put to death. He was being FALSLY ACCUSED OF CHANGING THE PRACTICE OF FOLLOWING THE LAW OF MOSES.
The early church taught and believed in following the law as given to Moses. Not the way the Pharisees or Scribes did. Not as a means of Salvation for salvation is by Elohim's favor through faith.
Eph 2:8 For by favour you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim, Eph 2:9
it is not by works, so that no one should boast.
Following the law becomes important as a means of demonstrating our love for Messiah and obedience to Him Joh 14:15 "If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.1 Footnote: 1See Ex. 20:6, vv. 21&23, 1 John 5:2-3, 2 John v. 6.It will be important to keep this in mind as we study Galations.Now back to Stephan and Paul
Act 6:8 And Stephanos, filled with belief and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.
Act 6:9 But some of those of the so-called Congregation of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Kilikia and Asia), rose up, disputing with Stephanos,
but they were unable to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.
Act 6:13 And they set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this set-apart place and the Torah,
Act 6:14 for we have heard him saying that this יהושע
of Natsareth shall overthrow this place and change the institutes which Mosheh delivered unto us." .....Act 7:51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Set-apart Spirit, as your fathers did, you also do.
Act 7:52 "Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who before announced the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, Act 7:53 who received the Torah as it was ordained by messengers, but did not watch over it."1 Footnote: 1See Mt. 5:20.
Footnote: Mat 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets.1 I did not come to destroy but to complete. Footnote: 1The Law and the Prophets is a term used for the pre-Messianic Scriptures.
Mat 5:18 "For truly, I say to you, till the heaven and the earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall by no means pass from the Torah till all be done.1 Footnote: 1Lk. 16:17.
Mat 5:19 "Whoever, then, breaks one of the least of these commands, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the reign of the heavens; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens. Mat 5:20 "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,1 you shall by no means enter into the reign of the heavens. Footnote: 1Mt. 15:3-9, Mk. 7:7-13, John 7:19, Acts 7:53, Rom. 2:23-27, Gal. 6:13.
Act 7:58 and threw him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Sha’ul.
The Pharisees followed the oral traditions handed down over the generations and put a higher regard on it than on the Scriptures. This put a great burden on the people. It would be similar to many churches today putting their own rules and regulations above Scripture such as not dancing, drinking, or going to movies. Now don't get me wrong these may be good things but when we put them ahead of Scripture or on the same level as Scripture we then become just like the Pharisees. Messiah's problem with the Pharisees and the religious establishment is that they put oral tradition or Talmud before the written word which Yahweh Elohim had given to Moses.
Act 8:1 And Sha’ul was giving approval to his death. And on that day there was a great persecution against the assembly which was at Yerushalayim, and they were all scattered throughout the countries of Yehuḏah and Shomeron, except the emissariesAct 8:3 But Sha’ul was ravaging the assembly, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, putting them in prison.
This was Paul before his conversion to Messiah.
Paul was born a Roman citizen in Tarsus. It is possible that he received a Greek education besides that of his Hebrew education. He was a full blooded Jew of the tribe of Benjamin and was taught by the Rabbi Gamaliel. It is my understanding at this time that in order to be taught by this teacher one must have had the entire tanach or what we call the Old Testament memorized. This tells us something of Paul's great mind for grasping the teachings of the Old Testament. Along with his great mind and religious zeal he was far advanced in Judaism beyond any of his contemporaries.