Paul of Tarsus, also called Saint Paul, the Apostle, is considered the second major figure in the history of Christianity. The letters he wrote to the new christian communities he founded during his trips to Gentile (non-Jewish) people compound a great part of the New Testament, and have had enormous influence on Christianity.
Saul of Tarsus was born of Jewish parents before 10 of the common era in Tarsus [Cilicia – now Turkey]— and died after 63 in Rome [Italy]). He was a prominent jew and as a member of the Pharisees he spent much of the first half of his life persecuting the nascent Christian movement until he was converted to faith in Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus when he had a vision that changed his life: Paul saw the Lord, or according to Acts of the Apostles, a blinding bright light which convinced him that God had indeed chosen Jesus to be the promised messiah.
Three years from that day he began his famous missions to the west, first preaching in his native Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:17–24). During the next 20 years or so (c. mid-30s to mid-50s), he established several churches in Asia Minor and at least three in Europe, including the church at Corinth.
Paul had many enemies and detractors, among jews because he gained a reputation for being against their religious traditions, and among gentiles for drawing people away from pagan cults. Therefore, Paul and the other missionaries were subject to criticism, abuse, and punishment as we can learn through the narrative of the Acts.
In the late 50s Paul returned to Jerusalem where he was arrested for taking a Gentile too far into the Temple precincts, and after a series of trials he was sent to Rome.
Acts of the Apostles registers Paul’s life and works. However, the letters constitute the best source of information on Paul’s life and especially his thought.
Source – http://www.britannica.com/