St Paul of Tarsus is a significant figure in Christianity due to his major contributions of writings and letters which form a significant amount of the New Testament. St Paul is considered to be the forefather of Christianity after Jesus. Paul had a major impact on these spread of Christianity through his mission journeys, contributing to the religious traditions and helping expand Jesus’ original teachings.
The reason behind Paul being a significant person in Christianity is because he contributed to the development of Christianity. St Paul made an impact upon Christianity as an Apostle, a theologian and as a letter-writer. Out of the 27 books contained in the bible, Paul wrote a total of 13. Paul’s writings made a significant impact on Christianity which was incorporated into the New Testament. In these writings, Paul taught Christian communities about beliefs, lessons, advice and support.
These writings also contained ideas of theology, the Church, salvation, marriage and sexual morality, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of you; it is the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8). These writings have formed and structured the basis of Christian teaching today. Paul has also made a great influence upon Christian thinking. This influence has been greater than any other New Testament author. Paul’s letters also develop powerful expressions of the human endeavour and relationship with God.
These expressions are represented through Paul’s ideas of faith as a commitment to Christ and as a Baptism symbolising one person’s belonging with Christ. Paul’s letters are persuasive and vital for Christians because they reveal the powerful aspects of Paul’s passion and dedication to his faith. Paul declares in Philippians 3:9-11, ‘I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. This emphasises his deep connection and passion for God in which he suffered in order to pursue non-believers. In 34CE, Paul’s journey to Damascus was the turning point in the development of Christianity as it is known today. Paul writes in Acts 22:6 that he experienced a vision, ‘I fell to the ground and heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me… I am Jesus of Nazareth. ”’ Paul was blinded but continued on to Damascus where he became certain that his vision of Jesus symbolised his calling to spread the Gospel.
When he arrived his sight was restored by a disciple named Ananias and Paul was baptised as he became a Christian, a follower of Jesus. This conversion to Christianity enabled Paul to believe that he had been given a mission to go preach the word of God. Paul embarked on journeys to towns where he would seek employment and gradually get to know people. Paul wanted to influence these people by speaking of his experiences he had with God and what they had taught him about Christianity and the teachings of Jesus.
In these towns, Paul also established local churches and invited elders to run them whilst he was out of town spreading the word of God, ‘Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust’ (Acts 14:23). Three of Paul’s most important journeys in his lifetime took place in 44, 48 and 55 CE. Geographically, this spread Christianity across the Mediterranean into modern day countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, Greece and Italy.
He travelled tens of thousands of miles in order to spread the word of God. This was recorded in Acts 15:41, ‘Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. ’ Paul’s teachings have significantly impacted upon the development of Christianity around the world which has continued to have an extraordinarily large impact upon its position today. The change Paul’s teachings brought and the effect they have had upon Christianity will continue to be embedded into the values and teachings of Christianity for generations to come.