We know from Acts 7:58 that Saul was a young man. Acts 8:3 and Acts 9:1 showed his zeal for God. Later he wrote in Romans 10:2 that it was a zeal without knowledge.
We know also from Philippians 3:3-6 that he was of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and he was a Pharisee. From Acts 22:3 we know that he was highly educated under Gamaliel.
Saul was radically encountered by Jesus. He was on his way to Damascus to hunt down any who were of the Way, in order to put them into prison.
The Lord intercepted Saul’s way to redirect him into His way. The Lord spoke to Ananias of Saul’s future. Acts 9:15 says, “…he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.” Saul fulfilled those words.
Verse 16 says, “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-27: labors more abundant, stripes, in prison, in deaths often, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, perils, weariness, toil, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, fastings, cold, and nakedness.
Note: Saul was not called Paul until Acts 13:9. It says, “Then Saul, who also is called Paul…”
Paul remained zealous for the Lord, but with knowledge. He began a whole new ministry. He was so transformed after his encounter with the Lord, he immediately preached Christ in the synagogues. Acts 9:21 says, “Then all who heard were amazed and said, Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”
Verse 26 says, “And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.” Barnabas brought him to the apostles. Saul declared to them how the Lord had encountered him, and how he had spoken boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Paul later wrote to the Corinthians church. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” His letters still instruct us how to imitate the Lord in our daily walk. May we emulate the Lord in every aspect of our lives.