Before we dive into the book we must understand the man Paul. Paul was known as Saul the
persecutor of the Christian church. As a devout Jew Saul sought to quiet the quickly growing
movement of men and women who Jesus. He was a devout Jew and was on the road to becoming
a rabbi. He is even believed to have permission from the High Priest to persecute those found
worshiping the Lord (Acts 9:1, 2). In Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (1977), Krister
Stendahl argued convincingly for the notion of Paul’s religious experience being a calling vs. a
conversion. Using Paul’s experience on the Damascus Road he refers to compelling exegesis
from Galatians, Acts, and Corinthians, to name a few, he argues his point. To begin with
Stendahl demonstrated that Paul describes his “vision” of the risen Christ like the call of the
Hebrew prophets, such as Jeremiah and Isaiah. (Galatians 1) Considering Paul’s missionary zeal
as the consequence of his internal conversion, Stendahl demonstrates that Paul’s vision and his
mission were inextricably linked from the start. Paul, in my opinion never converts in the
tradition context in which we understand pertaining to religion. Ananias is told, “For the Lord
said to him, ‘Go for he is the chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles
and kings and the sons of Israel…’” (Acts 9:15) Further strengthening the argument in favor of
the vision was, in fact, a call to proclaim the word of the Lord, like the prophets of old; the only
difference was Paul’s message would be directed not only to his fellow Jews, but to Gentiles.
Paul was to be a changed man after he received his revelation from the Lord. He believed it was
time for a change amongst the nations, and he was being called to help carry out the project.
Stendahl was so persuasive, that his interpretation would become the dominant understanding of
Paul’s religious experience and mission, at least among Anglo-American scholars. The...