The obverse of the medal depicts a profile portrait of the Apostle Paul surrounded by a halo. Circling it is the inscription 'PAVLVS APOSTOLVS VAS ELECTIONIS': 'Paul, an apostle, vessel of election'. On the other side of the medal is Psalm 67.27 f. (Vulgate) slightly reworded. Translated it reads: 'Praise the Lord God in the height of the fountain in front of Israel. There is Benjamin, the youngest, in rapture.' The apostle Paul belonged to the tribe Benjamin, the youngest of Jacob's sons. Its name in Latin means 'the little man'. The special relationship of patronage is primarily due to the Dominicans, who liked to use this self-deprecating description for themselves, although the Order of Preachers was soon to become the most powerful among the pre-Reformation religious orders. For Martin Luther Paul was the main biblical witness for the Reformation, which makes his patronage particularly valuable for the evangelical preaching and teaching. There are several copies of the bronze medal in Europe, including one in the Numismatic Collection of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden. More recent research findings estimate the Dresden Paulus Medal may be the original recovered at Leipzig.
The replica commissioned by the Foundation was marked with the following addition to the original text: 'SVB PATRONATV PAVLI APOSTOLI' (in the upper half) and '1229 * 1409 * 1545 * 2009' (in the lower half). The dates recall the year of the founding of a monastery, the year of the founding of the University of Leipzig, the year of the consecration of the University Church of St Paul by Martin Luther and the year of the 600th anniversary of the university.