“Saul was ashamed of his past, so he changed his name to Paul because Jesus gave him a new beginning.”
When it comes to the Apostle Paul’s name-change, this is the explanation I’ve heard many times. God did give Paul a new identity in Christ, but that didn’t wipe out or erase who he was before. Instead, we see many ways that Paul’s entire life prepared him for his ministry as an Apostle. Likewise, when someone becomes a Christian today, their life history doesn’t get erased and wiped away. Instead, God uses that to fuel their devotion to Christ and to equip them in ministry towards others.
Here’s why Saul’s name changes to Paul throughout the book of Acts and what we can learn from it today.