Sergius Paulus was the first recorded Gentile convert in the first ministry mission of the apostle Paul and Barnabas.
Sergius Paulus is an interesting man. He is an intellectual, and he is a proconsul of the Roman government. He is a man of not only great intellect, but great power. How fascinating he would seek to hear from Paul and Barnabas. (We also know Mark was with them on this trip.)
It is recorded for us by history Sergius Paulus was after this recalled to Rome and given the responsibility of managing the banks of the Tiber River which flowed through the city. This was a great responsibility, and it speaks of his high regard among the Roman government. A boundary stone of Claudius was found in 1887, which speaks of Sergius Paulus’ appointment to this position in 47AD.
The Holy Spirit had a love for Sergius Paulus. It is evident. He called Saul and Barnabas and Mark to go to him.
Oh, when Saul and Barnabas and Mark were called out and sent by the church at Antioch, Syria, they had no idea. But the Holy Spirit did. The Holy Spirit knew Sergius Paulus was ready to hear and receive the gospel of Jesus Christ, and so He called out these missionaries capable of reaching him.
Perhaps when Saul and Barnabas headed immediately for Cyprus following their calling, they thought they were doing so because Barnabas wanted to go first to his homeland. (Barnabas was from Cyprus.) It makes perfect sense to think Barnabas would have a strong desire to head first to familiar territory. It would possibly feel safer to them than going into completely unknown places.
As they traversed across the entire island nation of Cyprus, Saul and Barnabas developed a reputation which preceded them. Sergius Paulus, proconsul of the Roman territory of Cypress called for them. Sergius Paulus may have thought it necessary to his responsibility of managing this territory to find out exactly what these men were up to.
In this first recorded salvation experience in the ministry of the (now) apostle Paul, we see how God uses the natural inclinations of men to bring about the supernatural salvation of a man.