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(paw' luhs) GREEK: PAULOS

The first Roman official thought to have been converted to Christianity, Sergius Paulus was proconsul of Cyprus. He summoned the missionaries Barnabas and Saul (Paul) so that he could "hear the word of God" (Acts 13:7). But a Jewish magician named Bar-Jesus tried to persuade the proconsul not to believe the two. In response, Saul struck the magician temporarily blind, further convincing Paulus that their words were from God. Although Luke does not say that Paulus was baptized, the inclusion of this story in Acts indicated an acceptance of Christianity by one of high standing and thus gave encouragement to converts from all ranks of society. A tradition reported by the Christian teacher Origen, about A.D. 250, held that Saul changed his name to Paul in honor of the Roman proconsul. It was only after Paulus's apparent conversion that Luke in Acts began referring to the apostle as Paul.

cf... E2 Dictionary of Biblical People

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