I probably will remove and edit these installments of the Paul novel as each chapter finishes. For the moment, here is the end of the first chapter.
It was some thirteen years later that Saul and Barnabas embarked on their mission to Cyprus. It was during that mission that "Saul" started going by "Paul," even though he had that name from the first year of his life. It started one day when Sergius Paulus called him "Paul."
"Why not go by your real name?" he teased.
That night in a dream the Lord said to him, "Yes, Paul, with this name you will be my apostle to the Gentiles."
The mission team had originally planned to return straight to Antioch after they had preached on the island of Cyprus. But Paul was now thinking much bigger. If the door was open to Gentiles, then the good news needed to be preached throughout the whole world as quickly as possible. After all, Jesus might return any day to be king of the world. So the church needed to get moving a whole lot faster than they were. Just think of how many people were without hope if they did not hear!
Paul sensed the tug of the Holy Spirit northward from Cyprus, to Galatia. As always, Barnabas listened patiently and thoughtfully to Paul's change of plans. If they needed more resources, Paul said, they could merely run over to his home city in Tarsus.
Paul's family was rich compared to most people in the Roman world. In 64BC, when the Roman general Pompey had intervened in the politics of Jerusalem, he had forced Paul's great grandfather into service making tents and other leather goods for him. Pompey dragged him north to Cilicia during his battle with the pirates of the area.
As unpleasant as it was, his great-grandfather was granted Roman citizenship as a result, and his family became very prosperous in the years to come. So Paul was born Gnaeus Pompeius Paulus. At home, he was not accustomed to working with his own hands. He was used to bossing others around to do that.
Paul had spent about eight years back in his home country of Cilicia after Jesus appeared to him...