We know much about Saul from Acts and his 13 letters in the New Testament.
He was a highly educated man. He was from Tarsus in Cilicia (Acts 21:39), which boasted in a famous university, so that he was well versed in Greek learning. So he was well able to engage the Athenian debaters who prided themselves in their intellectual ability (see Acts 17:16-34). He was equally distinguished in Jewish learning, having sat at the feet of the famous Gamaliel (Acts 22:3, and
see 5:34). He claims to have advanced to the top (Galatians 1:14) and his letters certainly give evidence of his abilities.
He was a man of great religious zeal. He belonged to the strictest party of the Jews, the Pharisees (Acts 26:5). We would say today that he was a ‘fundamentalist’. Outwardly he was a very moral man (Philippians 3:5-6), a sincere and devout practitioner of what he believed to be the truth from God. Thus he became a very violent persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ, believing Jesus to be a blasphemer, and the Way a very dangerous heresy (Acts 8:3, 9:1, 26:9-11, Galatians 1:13).
Do you say to yourself, ‘I have never been like Saul, a violent persecutor. If I was I would not be reading this.’ Yet some of the great opponents of those who profess salvation in Christ are religious people. Saved people are dismissed as being hypocrites, wives and children are discouraged by being accused of being fanatical. Perhaps you joyfully gossip about the failures of saved people and so feel secretly relieved. You are trying to hold
off that conviction of the truth that you are sinful, as you want to think you are good enough as you are for God to accept you.