I'd like to clear a little something up. I guess you could call it a pet peeve of mine. It's this:
Saul did not change his name to Paul.
It’s true. He didn’t. The idea makes for a nice example of conversion name-changing, but it just isn’t true.
Paul’s conversion happened in chapter nine of Acts. Luke, the writer of Acts, continues referring to him as Saul until chapter 13.
Here are a couple verses that refer to Saul/Paul as Saul after his conversion, but before the name switch.
"But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ." 9:22
"And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.” 12:25
Then, chapter 13 verse 9, says this, “But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said…”
He was also called Paul.
Luke never says that Saul changed his name to Paul. He starts off calling him Saul, and part of the way through, he begins referring to him as Paul. But the switch doesn’t happen at his conversion. It happens after this verse in chapter 13.
The switch happens not because he gave his life to Christ, but because of the people he was around.
Saul was his Jewish name. Paul was his Latin name. When he was a around Jews more, like he was during the first part of Acts, Luke referred to him as Saul. When he started working with Gentiles more, Luke began referring to him as Paul, probably because the people he was around were calling him Paul. So Luke, who was experiencing the events, wrote the name the people around them were using.
I hope that clears things up a bit. :)
What are some other myths like this people often believe about the Bible?