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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE PROPER NAME,
PAUL OR SAUL.


Q. 1. What is the proper name of Saint Paul? Is it Paul or Saul?

A. 1. Contrary to the belief of many, the Lord did not change the name of Saul to Paul after he converted from Judaism to Christianity following the event with Christ on the Road to Damascus. [Acts 9:1-19]

Saul of Tarsus was born a Jew, of the race of Israel, or the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrew parentage. As was the custom, he was "circumcised on the eight day in observance of the law as a Pharisee." [Phil 3:5] The Hebrew name that his parents gave him was Saul. Because his father was a Roman citizen (consequently Saul inheriting Roman citizenship), Saul also had the Latin name Paul [Acts 16:37, 22:25-28]. In those days, it was the a common custom to have two names. Because Saul grew up in a strict Pharisee environment, the Roman name was by far the most appropriate name to use.

After his conversion, when Saul decided to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, he discontinued using his Roman name and became known as Paul, a name that Gentiles accepted more easily.

Saint Paul's usage of two names is no different than today's practice of a bilingual person who uses the name "John" in the English environment and the name "Jean" in the French environment.



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