Paul was widely known among locals as a zealous Pharisaic Jew.
Paul's parents were devout Hebrew-speaking Jews.
Some reasons to agree include:
![Paul as a high-ranking Jew] Paul enjoyed a high standing among other prominent Jewish leaders. Right?
Acts 22:3-5 — “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.”
“Paul utilizes Hebrew Scripture, midrashic techniques and the exegetical tradition of his day […they] yielded a highly sophisticated composition. It cannot have been the product of an uneducated mind. If he was not trained by Gamaliel, he was taught by some other Jewish master. In any case, it seems clear that Paul received a formal education in the Judaism of the time.” [“Jew, Paul the” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, Eds. Hawthorne et. al. (IVP, 1993), 505-506.]
In religious ferver, Paul zealously persecuted Christians. (See Full debate
Some reason to agree are that…
Even while Christian, Paul’s categories of thinking flow from a Jewish background.1
We know this because,…
• Larry Hurtado: “It is clear that even in his role as apostle to the Gentiles Paul's motives and conceptions were heavily indebted to biblical and Jewish categories.” [Lord Jesus Christ (Eerdmans, 2003), 87.]
• Terence Donaldson: “Paul conceives of himself as apostle not to an undifferentiated mass of humanity in general, but to the Gentiles in particular; such a self-conception betrays an underlying view of reality in which the distinction between Jew and non-Jew is fundamental” [Paul and the Gentiles (Fortress, 1997), 182.]