I would say beyond the person of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself that Paul has had the greatest influence on my life, and that influence has been going on for most of my life; pretty intense over the last 50 years or so for sure.
Paul, the author of 13 of the New Testament books; Paul, the looming figure in the book of Acts and the dominant figure for most of the book of Acts, is the main player on the stage after our Lord ascends back into heaven. He has been, for me, a model of ministry, a pattern to follow in every way.
He is the inspired author of books that shape all our theology, all our understanding of the gospel and it’s depth, and height, and length, and breadth. He is, in my mind, the one I follow as he follows Christ, and he commanded believers: “Follow me – ” he said “ – as I follow Christ.”
His conversion is one of the great stories of human history, and as we come into the 9th chapter of Acts – Acts, chapter 9 – we come to one of the great days in the history of the world, the conversion of a man named Saul, whose name was eventually changed to Paul. So great was the transformation that it apparently needed to be reflected in his name. And so we are told in chapter 13, verse 9, that his name was changed to Paul.
The importance of his conversion is indicated by the fact that it occupies so much of the book of Acts. Not only this portion of the 9th chapter, but his conversion, again, is repeated in the 22nd chapter of the book of Acts as he gives his own testimony, and then repeated again in the 26th chapter of Acts. So here in chapter 9, we see this amazing transformation; and then it is rehearsed for us again in chapter 22, and again in chapter 26.