The Apostle Paul was a unusual character, yet God had His hand on him right from birth (Galatians 1:15). Even though he didn't know it, God had chosen him for a special purpose.
When we first meet Paul, he is described as a "young man" known by the name of Saul. (Acts 7:58). He was a Roman citizen by birth (Acts 22:27-28) having been born in the town of Tarsus in Asia Minor and very well educated. He had finished his learning under the tutelage of Gamaliel , one of the highest teachers in the Jewish faith at that time, in the city of Jerusalem. (Acts 22:3)
Young Saul felt it was his vocation, even more, his bounden duty, to eradicate all those who were following this new faith called "The Way". He went all through Jerusalem, hauling both men and women off to prison. (Acts 8:1, 3)
Later, his intention was to follow these people to the ends of the earth if necessary, to shut them up. He felt this was his calling that God wanted him to do. It was for this reason that he set off for Damascus to do this very thing, but he never got there….God stopped him in his tracks and spoke to him in a blinding light that left him without sight for three days. The men with him saw the light and heard a voice (without recognising the words spoken). Saul knew it was indeed the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ and he responded immediately. (You can read about this in Acts 9: 1-9 and 22: 4-23)
After his eye sight was restored to him, he immediately began to preach that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who had come into the world to save sinners. People couldn't believe their ears….this was the man who had been throwing people into prison for doing this, and now he was doing it himself!
Paul went off into the desert for a period of time after his initial preaching, and tells what happened to him there in Galatians 1:11-24. He also explained that what he was preaching and teaching was not a man's idea or his idea, but that God Himself had shown him these things and told him what he was to preach.
At one stage he felt that his handicap was hindering his work for the Lord, and he begged Him three times to be healed. He must have wondered why the Lord didn't regard his request, and then the Lord spoke to him clearly, "My grace is sufficient for you!"
It was then that he understood that God could still work through his physical weakness. Any "success" he saw from his labours would then certainly only be the work of the Lord, and not his work!
These letters that he wrote to the different churches were borne out of his great concern and love for the people he was writing to. We might wonder why, since he was doing such a great preaching work, the Lord allowed him to be shut up in prison so much, but it was during these times that he wrote these letters which indeed are God's instructions to His people for that time right down to the present time. The young Christians had much to learn, and he wrote of God's order in the churches, and the mysteries of God's intentions for His people (Christ in you). He also straightened the people up when they took on board the wrong ideas concerning the old law's rules, and showed that Christ had died once and for all time for man's sins when people turned and confessed it to God.
We have much to be thankful to Paul for, and indeed are indebted to his writings which have been preserved for us. Let us each one make sure that we acknowledge that what he has written is surely the Word of God in truth. If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write to you are the commandments of the Lord, he wrote (1 Corinthians 14:37).
Let's begin to take a closer look at these things that he wrote down and take heed to them for they are indeed the words of the Lord to us for today!