Q. In Acts 8 : 3 we see Saul persecuting believers in Christ and sending them to prison. What legal authority did he have to do this? What is the main reason why he did this ?
A. From places like Acts 22:3-5 where Paul hints of his relationship with the High priest and others, and Phil. 3:5 where he spoke of being from the tribe of Benjamin and a Pharisee, you can make the case that Paul’s early persecution of Christians was done with the knowledge and perhaps even consent of the Jewish authorities.
Non-Biblcal historical sources reveal that the Jerusalem leadership had determined that Christianity should not gain a foothold in Damascus because it was a major hub and from there could quickly spread through out the known world. Paul was sent there to make sure that didn’t happen. In Acts 22:5 He mentioned having letters of introduction from the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem to their counterparts in Damascus, perhaps for the purpose of explaining his mission.