Saint Paul. Paul the Apostle, commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Jewish name Saul of Tarsus, was an apostle who taught the gospel of Christ to the first-century world. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age and in the mid-30s to the mid-50s AD he founded several churches in Asia Minor and Europe. He took advantage of his status as both a Jew and a Roman citizen to minister to both Jewish and Roman audiences. According to the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles, Paul was dedicated to persecuting the early disciples of Jesus in the area of Jerusalem prior to his conversion. In the narrative of Acts, Paul was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to arrest them and bring them back to Jerusalem when the resurrected Jesus appeared to him in a great light. He was struck blind, but after three days his sight was restored by Ananias of Damascus and Paul began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. Approximately half of the book of Acts deals with Paul's life and works. Thirteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament have traditionally been attributed to Paul. Seven of the Pauline epistles are undisputed by scholars as being authentic, with varying degrees of argument about the remainder. Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews is not asserted in the Epistle itself and was already doubted in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It was almost unquestioningly accepted from the 5th to the 16th centuries that Paul was the author of Hebrews, but that view is now almost universally rejected by scholars. The other six are believed by some scholars to have come from followers writing in his name, using material from Paul's surviving letters and letters written by him that no longer survive. Other scholars argue that the idea of a pseudonymous author for the disputed epistles raises many problems. Today, Paul's epistles continue to be vital roots of the theology, worship and pastoral life in the Latin and Protestant traditions of the West, as well as the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions of the East. Paul's influence on Christian thought and practice has been characterized as being as profound as it is pervasive, among that of many other apostles and missionaries involved in the spread of the Christian faith. Martin Luther's interpretation of Paul's writings influenced Luther's doctrine of sola fide. It has been popularly assumed that Saul's name was changed when he became a follower of Jesus Christ, but that is not the case. His Jewish name was Saul, perhaps after the biblical King Saul, a fellow Benjamite and the first king of Israel. According to the Book of Acts, he was a Roman citizen. As a Roman citizen, he also bore the Latin name of Paul, in biblical Greek: ῦ, and in Latin: Paulus. It was typical for the Jews of that time to have two names, one Hebrew, the other Latin or Greek. Jesus called him Saul, Saul in the Hebrew tongue in the book of Acts, when he had the vision which led to his conversion on the Road to Damascus. Later, in a vision to Ananias of Damascus, the Lord referred to him as Saul, of Tarsus. When Ananias came to restore his sight, he called him Brother Saul. In, Saul is called Paul for the first time on the island of Cyprus, much later than the time of his conversion. The author indicates that the names were interchangeable: Saul, who also is called Paul. He thereafter refers to him as Paul, apparently Paul's preference since he is called Paul in all other Bible books where he is mentioned, including those that he authored. Adopting his Roman name was typical of Paul's missionary style. His method was to put people at their ease and to approach them with his message in a language and style to which they could relate, as in. Further information: Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles The main source for information about Paul's life is the material found in his epistles and in Acts. However, the epistles contain little information about Paul's pre-conversion past. The book of Acts recounts more information but leaves several parts of Paul's life out of its narrative, such as his probable but undocumented execution in Rome. Some scholars believe Acts also contradicts Paul's epistles on multiple accounts, in particular concerning the frequency of Paul's visits to the church in Jerusalem.