Was Paul Converted? NT Wright on the “Conversion” of Paul
“The standard reading of the apostle Paul’s life is the story of conversion, and at work in that story is religion and hence of Paul ‘finding religion’ or ‘leaving religion for faith.’ In the altogether exciting 15th chp of NT Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Wright pitches his tent in a way that he gets a good angle on this very topic (though I shall suggest another angle might provoke a more refined perspective on the question if Paul was a convert).
He sees three definitions often at work: (1) those who see Paul abandoning one religion (Judaism) for another (Christianity) — which is not how Paul saw it; (2) an inner renewal on the part of those who had no faith — again not the best way to see Paul; and (3) the move from ‘religion’ (externality kind of thing) to “faith” (inner reality). Again, NT Wright says this too is not how Paul saw things. He says more about this third view, because he’s right in saying this is the core orientation in the ‘old’ perspective on Paul…”