I just realised that the Apostle Paul (then called Saul) was a third culture kid!

I have been doing Perspectives, and this week we were musing over how the Good News was eventually poured out to all people. After a couple of weeks of feeling I fit in with the rest of the class, I was changing my mind – people were talking about things I didn’t quite sync with, and I was feeling awfully presumptuous to even think I had anything to offer in this group. Yes, it was my old companion, social disconnectedness, and I was dreading its increase. Then – wham! I realised Paul was a TCK.

Borrowing heavily from the course’s Study Guide:

Paul had been exposed to at least three different cultures:
i. Greek: Tarsus, his home town, had a Greek university, he was fluent in the Greek language and familiar with Greek philosophy and poets.
ii. Roman: He was a Roman citizen and lived under Roman occupation.
iii. Hebrew: His parents were Jews and he was brought up to be a Pharisee (Acts 22:2)
He may well have known four languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin.

Tarsus was then in Syria (now in Turkey). On a map it looks reasonably close to Jerusalem. However, in those days, they would have been worlds apart in terms of language, culture, and just plain world-view.

Wow!! How heart-warming to think that God chose a third culture kid to be part of his band of apostles.

God’s story’s amazing!

Edit: It has been brought to my attention that Paul may not have been a Third Culture Kid by the traditional definition of one. Were his parents permanent migrants to Tarsus? Did he experience high mobility during his childhood years? I need to do some digging around (when I have time) to find the answers to these questions. One thing is certain, he was a Cross-Cultural Kid.

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One Response to “The Apostle Paul was a Third Culture Kid!”

  1. Totally!! I just had this revelation today too, amidst a regular culture-identity crisis!! Praise God for the freedom and completely new Christ-cultures we have in him, and yet the possibility to serve others with the other “cultures” we do have…

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