He to be a bald-headed, bowlegged quick man through a big nose, and an unbroken eyebrow the lay throughout his forehead prefer a dead caterpillar.

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That’s a paraphrase.

It’s from the only physical description of Paul, in an early Christian document, theActs of Paul. (Its author, a second-century church leader, was fired end the book because he attributed to Paul part unorthodox teachings such as sex-related abstinence in marriage.)

A an ext literal translate in of the summary of Paul in Greek reads, “A guy of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and also his legs to be a small crooked, and his knees were far apart; he had huge eyes, and also his eyebrows met, and his nose was rather long.”

This might be little an ext than imaginative composing from a century after ~ Paul died, but it does not clash through the way Paul’s critics described him: “His letters are weighty and forceful, yet in human being he is unimpressive” (2 Cor. 10:10).

2. To be He Married?

Probably not. But due to the fact that Paul said nearly nothing about this, there’s many of room to controversy the matter.

When counseling singles and widows in ~ Corinth, that wrote, “It is great for them to remain unmarried, as I am” (1 Cor. 7:8).

But once listing the civil liberties of one apostle and also arguing on behalf of himself and also Barnabas, the said, “Don’t we deserve to take a believing wife in addition to us, as carry out the other apostles and also the Lord’s brothers and also Cephas?” (1 Cor. 9:5).

In interpreting this statement, some scholars speak Paul’s question, taken through his statement the he was unmarried, says he was a widower who had at the very least occasionally traveled v his wife. Others check out Paul utilizing this question to emphasize that he and Barnabas, as single men, were not burdening the church through the added, despite legitimate, prices of caring for your wives.

3. What to be His “Thorn in the Flesh”

We can only guess, however Paul offers two clues. He believed the objective of the mandrel was (1) “to keep me from becoming conceited” and also (2) “to torment me” (2 Cor. 12:7). Everything the mandrel was, that humbled the persistently.

Scholars have diagnosed a complete chart of physical diseases, psychological problems, and also spiritual struggles—hysteria, migraines, epilepsy, and also obnoxious Christians, to name a few.

A watch from the Middle eras said Paul couldn’t get sex turn off his mind. But that doesn’t fit v his words in 1 Corinthians: “I wish the all males were together I am. . . . But if lock cannot manage themselves, they need to marry, for it is far better to marry 보다 to burn v passion” (7:7, 9).

Some scholars today indicate Paul’s mandrel was his audience, the difficult Corinthian church itself. In a word study of Paul’s statement, scholars suggest out the every time the new Testament usesangel/messenger,torment, andtake the away, the words describe people.Thorndoesn’t present up anywhere else in the brand-new Testament, yet a variation of it appears in the Greek translate into of number 33:55 and also describes what the Canaanites space to the Jews: “thorns in her sides.”

Most scholars now take literally Paul’s referral to the “flesh.” They watch the thorn as a physical problem.

Some that them suggest out the Paul supplied the same Greek word when writing around the unspecified illness that kept him in Galatia. Lock speculate that in both cases Paul was talking around an eye disease—bad enough, perhaps, to do him this day legally blind. Because that after stating the illness, Paul added, “If you can have done so, you would have actually torn out your eyes and given them come me” (Gal. 4:15). And also at the end of the letter, Paul took the occupational from his scribe and added a an individual postscript: “See what huge letters I use as I write to you v my own hand” (Gal. 6:11).

Malaria is another possibility, suggested in the 1800s by archaeologist William Ramsay. What happened, Ramsay guessed, is that Paul captured malaria while traveling through the seaside plains the Pamphylia (western Turkey) during his very first missionary journey. This coast’s marshes bred malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The tendency for malaria to recur with alternative bouts the sweating and shivering seems to fit well v Paul’s choice of the wordtorment, which describes something that continually or regularly battered him.

Given the growing list the theories about Paul’s mandrel in the flesh, the one thing we deserve to be sure about is that us can’t it is in sure around any of them.

4. What occurred to Him throughout the Unreported Gaps in His Life?

Twice Paul dropped out of brand-new Testament history. He saw the Arabian desert for about three years, almost immediately after his conversion. Then complying with a two-week visit come Jerusalem, he was escorted the end of town by some Christians who reportedly feared because that his life. They took him come the port city that Caesarea, placed him on a ship, and also “sent him turn off to Tarsus” (Acts 9:30), his boyhood house in west Turkey. Over there Paul remained for the following half-dozen year or so, until Barnabas in the beforehand 40s invite him to help lead the church in Antioch, Syria.

What Paul did throughout these absent years is uncertain. Increased to assistance himself together a tentmaker, he more than likely made a couple of tents. His years in the Arabian desert kingdom the the Nabateans, southern of Damascus in what is today Jordan, to be perhaps offered to exclusive reflection and also ministry come Gentiles. And also in Tarsus he more than likely remained true come his propensity to speak his mind. Possibly his success over there is why Barnabas dubbed on him.

Paul’s account of these mysterious years is succinct but suggests he told rather what that knew around Jesus, for the report circulated the “The man who previously persecuted united state is currently preaching the confidence he when tried to destroy” (Gal. 1:23).

5. How and When Did the Die?

The new Testament doesn’t call us. Acts ends with the cliffhanger: Paul under house arrest in Rome while awaiting trial. What occurred next, the writer didn’t say. Probably he figured his readers knew.

Christians, in fact, walk know. Early on Christian writers agree the Paul was martyred in Rome. The first person we recognize of who claimed this to be a roman inn bishop, Clement, composing to the Corinthians in 96, around 30 year after Paul’s execution. Gaius, a second-century church leader in Rome, said he could allude out the dig monuments of Paul and Peter ~ above Vatican Hill (later leveled to build St. Peter’s Basilica).

Paul was more than likely beheaded with a sword. The was the quick method of execution granted to roman citizens found guilty the a funding offense. Non-citizens often faced the lingering fatality of crucifixion.

The many vexing question around Paul’s death is as soon as it took place. Many scholars argue it occurred in around 62, in ~ the end of Paul’s two-year house arrest in Rome. Luke’s abrupt ending in Acts can imply this.

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Other scholar say the Romans released Paul, that briefly checked out some churches he had actually planted and also then turn west to evangelize Spain, a long-standing dream that his. Paul’s letter to Philemon, written as soon as he to be under house arrest, reflects he supposed acquittal: “Prepare a guest room because that me due to the fact that I hope to be revitalized to friend in prize to her prayers” (Philem. 22). And also in Clement’s letter come the Corinthians, he claimed that Paul “went to the border of the West.” This points come Spain. If this is what happened, Paul was probably arrested a second time and also executed at Rome in about 66.

More details than the time of Paul’s death is the way in i beg your pardon he challenged it. In his last taped words, he told Timothy, “I am currently being poured out like a drink offering, and also the time has come for my departure. I have combated the great fight, I have actually finished the race, I have actually kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:6–7). CH