From Saul to Paul, Did the Apostle Really Change His Name After He Met Jesus Christ?

Contrary to popular teachings, the apostle never changed his name after his conversion

Noel Corpuz
14 min readDec 14, 2021


The Conversion of St. Paul | Wikimedia Commons

Newly converted from the Roman Catholic religion, a mere few months into my life in Christ, my wife and I attended a church conference. There, the speaker spoke about the apostle Paul’s first encounter with Jesus Christ.

He told the congregation, “First, his name was Saul. After he met the Lord, his name was changed to Paul.”

Then he proceeded, “Saul means big man and Paul means small man!

“That’s interesting,” I thought. “He was a powerful man persecuting the disciples of Jesus but he was humbled and became a small man when he met the Lord.”

I was fascinated by that teaching. Saul, meaning great man and after he met Jesus, his name became Paul, meaning a small man.

Shortly afterward, I bought my first Bible and began my journey through the word of God, gradually gaining some footing in the faith. In the course of studying God’s word, I have adopted three principles as follows:

  1. Receive the word (writing or speaking) with all eagerness, but examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
  2. Do not despise prophecies, but prove all things. Hold fast to what is good; (1 Thessalonians 5:20–21)
  3. Do not believe every spirit, but prove the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

Ten years onward, I have moved to Dubai. Still loving God and His word and serving His flock with the measure my Master allowed me. The thought of “Saul to Paul” set aside somewhere at the back of my mind.

Then, during a small-group meeting as we were covering the book of Acts, a fellow worker shared exactly the same teaching.

First, his name was Saul. After he met the Lord, his name was changed to Paul. Saul means big man and Paul means small man!

This time I was startled with a question. Where did this teaching come from?



Noel Corpuz

A Student of the Scriptures, a Bible Teacher, a Shepherd of God’s flock, but foremost, a Lover of God and His Word.