With some people interested in Paul and the confusion concerning that man, a small time scale of some important developments in his very controversial life is presented here. As they say in the market place, “Let the buyer beware” and so it is said about that man whom I have called a ‘generic Muslim’.
Paul, villain, saint, hot-head, sincere preacher or fake was a learned Jew of the Pharasitic line who was a stoic philosopher and a claimed hater and then believer in Jesus the Messiah (pbh). His ministry is considered a tumultuous one at best as he was dogged by the ultra-conservative Jews and entrenched pagans while he was considered a traitor by the Pharasees due to his unwavering support for ‘The Way’ of which before he was a chief accuser and hater.
Paul is said to have had 4 to 5 trips to Jerusalem with the last brief trip coming during the year 58 AC before his death in Rome (64 AC) along with Peter an original Disciple of Christ Jesus. He did not start any ‘Christian church’ in Rome as there were already ‘Christians’ in Rome when he arrived for his trial that eventually led to his death. The sect headed by Peter, John and James remained small in Jerusalem and many of the 70 and the original Disciples were spread out across the territories connecting with and ministering to the newly found centers of learning.
Paul’s character: headstrong, brash at times especially on those points he feels that need to be established. This will be important in 51-52 AC when there is a change from going to the Jews first to establishing his ‘gospel’. What exactly was his ‘gospel’? His ‘gospel’ was his ‘way’ of doing things in the spreading of the ‘word’ department meaning his style and method of instruction especially to the ‘gentiles’.
1. Paul’s claimed conversion occurred around 35 AC. He was blinded in this so-called conversion and healed by a ‘believer’ Ananias of Damascus who in the presence of witnesses, baptized Paul.
2. 3 years after this event (38 AC) and soul-searching and some preaching, he went to Jerusalem and principally met with James and Peter discussing ‘holy writ’ and his life and about the ‘Master’. Paul stayed in Jerusalem about 15 days and was approved as a representative of the ‘new Jewish Faith’.
3. After 14 years of ‘preaching to the Jews’ he went back to Jerusalem (50-51 AC). It is here that Paul declares his ‘Apostleship to the Gentiles’ and claims that his apostleship was accepted by James, Peter and John.
4. Sometime during 51 AC or in around 52 AC Barnabas and Paul split because of fierce disagreements between them with Silas going with Paul and John Mark (a relation of Peter’s) going with Barnabas. Paul will also befriend Timothy at a later date. Before this split Paul and Baranbas spent a few years together as ‘preaching buddies’ to the Jews mostly.*

*Barnabas and Paul originally teamed up as a dynamic pair of ‘spreaders’ of the ‘revised’ Jewish faith around 46 AC and this lasted for approximately 5 years. In that time, there was a harmonious relationship between the two and if any hanky-panky was going on it certainly would have been noticed by the ever faithful, knowledgeable Barnabas. Since historically, we have no record of discord at this time, it is fair to assume that Paul is a respected member of preachers towards what has been called The Way.

The real problem occurs in 51-52 AC when Paul, who has felt uncomfortable with about a decade and a half of ‘Jewish’ instruction declares ‘his way or gospel approach’ to the Gentiles. To the Jews first is now off the board for him but they are still very much included IF they wanted to be. Although this concern is granted to Paul by the big three in Jerusalem (Peter, John and James), he has a dustup with a relation of Peter’s and he goes his own way without his travelling companion Barnabas who has sided with John Mark, Peter’s relation.

The problem starts here not because Paul becomes a renegade, because he still has known contacts among the Jerusalem center up to 58 AD, but due to his ‘preaching style’ some of the Gentiles will get it and some won’t. But treachery among his enemies will find a way to sink his ship. From the break up with Barnabas to his death, Paul has roughly 5 or 6 more years of ‘open’ preaching left minus the 4 years of captivity (house arrest-type preaching that limits his mobility) before his death. His house arrest in Rome did not prevent him from holding ‘discourse’ amongst the so-called Christian community but, of course, being under house arrest would limit his contacts dramatically.

Some of his known associates after Paul’s dustup with Barnabas who believed in him and are held to be in good standing with the ‘church’ of Jerusalem (in other words they can verify his commitment and character are the following): Silas, Timothy, Priscilla and Aquila, Philip the Evangelist (of the 70) and the author of the Acts of the Apostles who probably was of the so-called 70 who were sent out to ‘preach’ and administer to the various ‘churches’ established in the Roman Empire.

Paul is the most hated of the ‘Jews’ by the Pharasitic Jews at home and in Asia due to his being a traitor to ‘their cause’ and simply becomes a big iritent to them. They are hurt especially in one area in their minds and that area is to be the ones who will mostly matter on the Last Day and have all the special places of honor wrapped up for themselves. Paul is not backing down or giving them a breathing space. Hence, the hatred for him.

To lose this so-called ‘honor’ drives them to fury and this we see happening again when Prophet Muhammad (pbh) was starting his fledgling state in Medina as to Jewish intransigence and hatred for NOT being the top and EXCLUSIVE pride of GOD anymore.Therefore, they make many plots with pagans, Roman officials and anyone who can derail Paul’s train.

5. 53-54 AC Paul spends time focusing on the Church of Corinth. He has several more journies to establish and to build on ‘The Way’ or instructing according to his ‘light’ concerning the teachings of Jesus (pbh) and the assertion and proofs of his being the real Messiah as according to what is written in the Acts.
6. Around 58 AC Paul makes his last return to Jerusalem with money to be given to the community there. After a few days Paul is accused of treachery to the Mosaic Law by Asian Jews which is bad enough but other Jews accuse him of defiling the Jewish Temple and he is arrested and transported to Caesarea Maritima and held prisoner there until 60 AC or for two years.
7. Finally, he arrives in Rome around 61 AC where he spends two years under house arrest although he is still able to communicate ‘lessons’ of the ‘new Faith’ while being held prisoner. He comes out of ‘house arrest’ by 63 AC.

8. Trial and death ordered by the Roman emporor called NERO or 666 or 616 depending on interpretation as shown on the Roman coins. Death occurred approximately 64 or some will say 65 AC. Peter and Paul were both executed around the same time and died as reunited friends with an appreciation of each other’s ‘way’or style as long as it was intented to serve the ONE GOD.
According to history, Paul was somewhat short, partially bald and a little disfigured but quite the orator when it came to declaring that Christ Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and leader of the believing peoples on his return. He is a very controversial figure, to say the least, in the teachings of the Messiah and he, being very opinionated and convinced of his mission, has many supporters as well as detractors throughout the world.
Going to Jerusalem 4 to 5 times at various stages of his preaching life, will in the end result, say something about the intelligence of ‘THOSE IN CHARGE OF PROTECTING THE INTEGRATY OF THE FLEDGLING FAITH AS TO BEING DUPED OR NOT BY THIS MAN PAUL. In truth, the concentration on ‘rightful living’ is not about various individual character traits but about the practicle application one can receive and incorporate into one’s life as to the TRUTH in the ONE AND ONLY GOD.
The historical evidence about Paul as to the evidence closest to his lifetime comes from the book The Acts of the Apostles and the lack of any consequential dustup evidence during his lifetime especially coming out of Jerusalem. There is conflicting evidence given against him but that basically comes from one or two Jewish sects AFTER his death at some point in time. Could this be a form of jealousy amongst the various sects? Another problem encountered on this point is the lack of Paul’s original writings showing his original wording. You be the Judge!

The idea that Paul taught according to ‘his gospel’ can be agreed upon when discussing various aspects of Islam. The first aspect is the notion of the term ‘wahi’ which in this case is similar to the ‘inspiration’ given by ALLAH to the ‘bee’ as found in the Quran and NOT the WAHI on the level of prophethood. Although there is no real prophet between Jesus and Muhammad, each Ummah is given special characteristics and we get this knowledge from a hadith about ‘Umar and some of his ‘talents’.
The little ‘prophets and prophetesses’ of the New Testament era were a mixture of inspired individuals like the action of talking in tongues, certain healings. On the other side, there were the phonies or pretenders who used these false deceptions to fool the people. Hence, like in many things, certain activities can be used for the good or turned to evil ways based on the heart of the individual.
The final judgment about Paul must of course rest with his Creator Lord. Paul was not a prophet in the Islamic sense of the word and he did have the normal human traits and some character flaws.
The message of Jesus (pbh) was never meant to be contained only in one area called Palestine because of the nature of who Jesus really was. He was a Rasul (the highest level of prophet) with a book-message that was being formulated and put into manuscript form for the various centers of learning. The rule is, “give to those who are of the believers first and then to others if they, in their hearts, are willing to accept the truth. So, we have first tier believers and second tier believers and so the WORD of GOD is spread as it is even today.
From this perspective and from that which is contained in the Quran, it is fair to assume that according to ALLAH’s WILL a person could go in two differnet directions upon contemplating about what Paul meant by his so-called words.
The same has been happening in the Arab world when some people take a verse of the Quran or a saying from the Prophet (pbh) out of context and butchers the meaning. Hence, we can understand one of the ‘fatal’ attractions of ISIS and other corrupt philosophies ‘claiming’ to do ALLAH’s WILL on earth.
The following expressions may provide a helpful attitude not only towards this topic but also provide some ‘food for thought’ about what is going on in this world today. Put in the proper context and with UNDERSTANDING, these sayings should have a sound affect on the heart:
The Prophet Muhammad (pbh) said: “ALLAH will NOT be merciful to those who are not merciful to people.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet (pbh) said, “They are the losers, those who make the religion hard and tough. They imperil themselves who enforce tough practices of Islam. They destroy themselves, those who are extreme.” (Muslim)
The Prophet (pbh) said, “Make things easy and convenient and don’t make them harsh and difficult. Give cheer and glad tidings and do not create hatred.” (Riyadh us-Saleheen, Volume 1)
“Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein, and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burdens” {as a partner one to the other} Q (4: 85)
“Be patient (in adversity); for, verily, ALLAH will NOT let the reward of the righteous be wasted. “ Q (11: 125)