And [you have heard how] I outstripped many of the men of my own generation among the people of my race in [my advancement in study and observance of the laws of] Judaism, so extremely enthusiastic and zealous I was for the traditions of my ancestors.
I was ·becoming a leader in the Jewish religion [L advancing/progressing in Judaism], doing better than most other Jews of my age. I ·tried harder than anyone else [was exceedingly zealous] to follow the ·teachings handed down by our [traditions of my] ·ancestors [forefathers].
I was becoming a leader in the Jewish religion. I did better than most other Jews of my age. I tried harder than anyone else to follow the old rules. These rules were the customs handed down by our ancestors.
For you have heard of my past career in the Jewish religion, how I persecuted the Church of God with fanatical zeal and, in fact, did my best to destroy it. I was ahead of most of my contemporaries in the Jewish religion, and had a greater enthusiasm for the old traditions. But when the time came for God (who had chosen me from the moment of my birth, and then called me by his grace) to reveal his Son within me so that I might proclaim him to the non-Jewish world, I did not, as might have been expected, talk over the matter with any human being. I did not even go to Jerusalem to meet those who were God’s messengers before me—no, I went away to Arabia and later came back to Damascus. It was not until three years later that I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and I only stayed with him just over a fortnight. I did not meet any of the other messengers, except James, the Lord’s brother.
I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God’s church. I was systematically destroying it. I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career. Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity! Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him.
And I was shtaig (working my way up, advancing, progressing) in Yahadut (Judaism) beyond many of my landsmen, being more abundantly machmir and a kannai (zealot) bekius for the minhagim, the Masorot haAvot, the kabbalah (oral tradition), the Torah Sheb’al Peh, the Halakhah of my Avot.
I knew more about the law of the Jews than many of my own age among my people. I wanted much more than they did to obey the laws which our fathers passed down to us, even the ones that were not written.
And I profited in the Jewry above many of mine even-elders in my kindred, and was more abundantly a follower of my fathers' traditions [being more abundantly a lover, or follower, of my fathers' traditions].
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