From Saul to Paul

Text: Acts 13:8-12

On his first preaching tour, Saul became known as Paul. Though this did not happen at his conversion, we generally think of Saul as the persecutor and Paul as the Christian. In this lesson, we will be using the names to symbolize the difference between this man as a non-Christian and a Christian. As we look at the difference between Saul and Paul, we will see several lessons – what we should be as Christians and what we should understand about others as non-Christians.


  • Saul was zealous (Galatians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:6) – his zeal had to be redirected (Acts 22:3-5; 9:19-22)
  • Paul continued to be zealous (2 Corinthians 11:23)
  • What this means for us – we are to be zealous (Romans 12:11); make sure we are doing what God wants us to do (Titus 2:14; 3:8)
  • What this means for others – zeal apart from knowledge will not save anyone (Romans 10:2-3); our prayer for others should be their salvation (Romans 10:1)


  • Saul was knowledgeable (Acts 22:3) – his knowledge had to be corrected and freed from preconceptions (Philippians 3:5; Matthew 15:1-9)
  • Paul continued to be knowledgeable (Ephesians 3:3)
  • What this means for us – we must grow in knowledge of God’s word (2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 2:15); make sure we are approaching God’s word with an open and honest heart (Luke 8:15)
  • What this means for others – they will have varying degrees of knowledge; some a lot (Acts 18:24-25); wherever they are, we should use that as a starting point (Acts 18:26; 17:23; 16:30-32; 8:34-35)


  • Saul was conscientious (Acts 23:1) – his conscience had to be retrained (1 Timothy 1:13)
  • Paul continued to be conscientious (1 Corinthians 4:4)
  • What this means for us – we must train our conscience properly (Hebrews 5:14); make sure we do not allow our conscience to become seared (1 Timothy 4:2)
  • What this means for others – they may be sincerely wrong (Acts 22:3); even then, they are still wrong and need to be shown the truth (Ephesians 4:15; 2 Timothy 2:24-26)


  • Saul was diligent (Philippians 3:6) – his diligence had to be directed toward a new mission (1 Timothy 1:12; Acts 9:15)
  • Paul continued to be diligent (2 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:10)
  • What this means for us – we are to be hardworking (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Hebrews 6:11); not in a way that distracts us from serving God (Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:16-21)
  • What this means for others – they will be diligent in what they believe is important (John 6:27); we need to impress upon them what is truly important (Ecclesiastes 12:13)


  • In the example of Paul, we see the need to be zealous, knowledgeable, conscientious, and diligent
  • In the example of Saul, we see that one can be all of these things and still be wrong / lost
  • Let us continually examine ourselves to make sure we are pleasing the Lord and keep working to try to turn others to Him also

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