I'm sure that you've heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God's church. I was systematically destroying it.
I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career.
Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother's womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity!
Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him.
and without going up to Jerusalem to confer with those who were apostles long before I was - I got away to Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus,
but it was three years before I went up to Jerusalem to compare stories with Peter. I was there only fifteen days - but what days they were!
Except for our Master's brother James, I saw no other apostles.
(I'm telling you the absolute truth in this.)
Then I began my ministry in the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
After all that time and activity I was still unknown by face among the Christian churches in Judea.
There was only this report: "That man who once persecuted us is now preaching the very message he used to try to destroy."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)