When studying Paul's life, one must consider who Paul was and what influenced him. In his letter to the Philippians, he described himself as:
circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
In addition, Paul was a Roman citizen from the city of Tarsus in the province of Cilicia. Due to its major influence on the Roman Empire Greek culture was also greatly affected Paul. This diverse background resulted in Paul's complex personality and enabled him to relate to many different people from various cultures and backgrounds.
The main Greek and Roman influences in Paul's life included:
The first-century Jews who influenced Paul included:
It is also important to consider the cities and territories where Paul lived, and where the churches to whom he wrote resided: