When Did Saul Become Paul?

When Did Saul Become Paul?

In reading the book of Acts in the Bible we learn about a badly misguided dude named Saul who turns his life around and later goes by the name of Paul. When did this name change take place?

If you say his name changed when he stopped killing Jesus’ followers to become one himself, I’d agree with you—and we’d be wrong.

Saul started following Jesus in Acts chapter 9, but continues to go by that name until Acts chapter 13. What happened there?

It’s subtle, but Acts 13:9 says, “Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit…” I can’t say for sure, but this seems to be the first indication of God’s spirit filling him. Sure, he was a follower of Jesus before that and he was doing things for God before that, but when the Holy Spirit filled him, it’s as if God gave him a new name, Paul.

The change is abrupt. In Acts 7:58 through Acts 9:13 he is Saul. The Holy Spirit shows up in Acts 9:13 and for the rest of the book of Acts (and the rest of the Bible) he goes by Paul.

And that’s when his ministry took off.

Read more about the book of Acts in Dear Theophilus, Acts: 40 Devotional Insights for Today’s Church now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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