St. Paul before his Journeys
After his conversion, Acts gives the impression that Paul immediately preached in Damascus about Jesus as the Son of God, earned the wrath of the Jewish leadership, and had to escape from the city by being let down over the walls in a basket. However, in his own account (Galatians
1) Paul makes it clear that after his conversion he spent several years in ‘Arabia’ (the desert region of south Palestine) before returning to Damascus. It is then that the incidents given in Acts occurs. After his escape from Damascus, Paul visits Jerusalem where, with the help of Barnabas, he gains the confidence of the Christians there. However, his preaching again led to threats against him by the Hellenist Jews (those Jews who originated from outside Palestine but had their own synagogues in Jerusalem) and he is forced to flee to Tarsus. In Paul’s own account in Galatians, he states that in Jerusalem he met Cephas (Peter) staying with him for 15 days, and James ‘the Lord’s brother’, but no other apostle. Paul is brought back from Tarsus by Barnabas (Acts 11) to help him preach at Antioch. He works for a year there before being sent with Barnabas to the Jerusalem Church to bring them financial support during a famine.