The apostle Paul was born a Hebrew with Roman citizenship. (Acts 22:27, 28; Philippians 3:5) So it is likely that from childhood he had both the Hebrew name Saul and the Roman name Paul. Some of Paul’s relatives likewise had Roman and Greek names. (Romans 16:7, 21) Additionally, it was not unusual for Jews of that time, particularly among those living outside Israel, to have two names.—Acts 12:12; 13:1.
For over a decade after becoming a Christian, this apostle seemed to have been known mostly by his Hebrew name, Saul. (Acts 13:1, 2) However, on his first missionary journey, about 47/48 C.E., he might have preferred to use his Roman name, Paul. He was commissioned to declare the good news to non-Jews, and he might have felt that his Roman name would be more acceptable. (Acts 9:15; 13:9; Galatians 2:7, 8)
He may also have used the name Paul because the Greek pronunciation of his Hebrew name, Saul, is very similar to that of a Greek word that has a bad connotation. Whatever the reason for the change, Paul showed that he was willing to “become all things to people of all sorts, that [he] might by all means save some.”—1 Corinthians 9:22.