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The apostle, the most effective missionary of early Christianity and the church’s first major theologian. Known as Saul within the Aramaic-speaking community, he was usually called Paul according to the Greco-Roman form of his name. Almost half of the writings of the NT (thirteen out of twenty-seve) are attributed to him. In a few passages in his letters, Paul relates autobiographical information: his upbringing in Judaism (Phil 3:4-6); his call (Gal 1:13-17); his trips to Jerusalem (Gal 1:18-2:14); his approach to ministry (1Thess 2:1-12); and the hardships he suffered (2Cor 11:23-29). In addition, the book of Acts relates numerous narratives of his life (Acts 7:58-8:3; Acts 9:1-30; Acts 11:25-30; Acts 12:25-28:31) and includes speeches in which he presents brief summaries of his own biography (Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:2-23). A Pharisee who was loyal to Jewish tradition, Paul initially persecuted Christian believers until he had an experience that he would describe as an encounter with the risen Christ. He became a missionary, focusing his efforts on ministry to Gentiles, whom he believed could receive the grace of God on an equal footing with Jews, i.e., through faith in Christ.