Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Acts 22:1-5

I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers. (v. 3)

In New Testament times, a young man wanting to become a rabbi made that decision early in life – probably at about age 12. He would petition a rabbi to take him on as a trainee and spent many years learning “the law of our ancestors.”

Young Saul, therefore, likely left his home in Tarsus shortly after his bar mitzvah and moved to Jerusalem (with parental approval, of course). He petitioned to study under Gamaliel, the grandson of the great rabbi Hillel, and was accepted. Saul wanted the best training possible.

We can only speculate what drove Saul to make this decision at such a young age, but the love for God’s law evident in his parents and their devotion to the Lord God of Israel must have played a major role. Their goal was not to have a son who was rich and famous, but a son who loved and served the Lord.

What values and what life goals do we instill in the next generation? To get a secure, well-paying job? To move up the economic ladder? Or to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31)? The results of Saul’s life suggest that his father and mother lived what they believed and instilled eternal values in their growing son. May we learn how to do the same.


Lord, help me to be an influence for eternal good on all those I encounter.