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Who is Paul of Tarsus? What is he known for? Why is he such an important figure for the development of early Christianity?

Emergence of Christianity and Early Christian art

Paul Tarsus also referred to as St. Paul, is one of the first renowned evangelists in Christianity who changed his name from Saul. Paul Tarsus is depicted as a Christian persecutor who later transforms after an encounter with God. Paul possesses good knowledge after going through a Hebrew and Greek education system, making him suitable for his role in Christianity. Paul is known for his active persecution of Christians before changing after an encounter that knocked him off the horse. He later transforms and spends his life spreading the ideas of Christianity.

Paul is known to be the first person to create a systematic Christian belief system by combining Greek and Hebrew philosophies and ideas on Christ’s teachings. Consequently, Paul authors 14 books in the Bible’s New Testament, which made him the co-creator of Christianity as the books form the basis of Christianity (Class notes: The Emergence of Christianity). In addition, Paul is responsible for naming Jesus ‘Christ’, borrowing the idea from the Greek word ‘Christos’, which means Anointed One or Messiah. The term anointed one is used to show that Jesus is a spiritual king as Jews poured oil on the foreheads of new kings to show validation of their rule. Moreover, Paul plays a significant role in eliminating confusion around the death of Jesus. Many people were confused about how Jesus died, yet he was the son of God. However, Paul explained Christ’s death, thus avoiding further conflicts in the scriptures. Furthermore, Paul explored the guiding principles of Christianity by providing that salvation was solely achieved through faith. Finally, Paul Tarsus opened up Christianity to people of different walks of life and beliefs. For instance, Paul opened up Christianity to non-Jewish people despite Jesus having taught only Jews. Paul then set out to spread these teachings in Rome and Greek-speaking regions.



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