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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Paul (pawl), small. Originally named Saul; first called Paul in Acts 13:9. He was a Jew of pure Hebrew descent, of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised according to the law when eight days old, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, and by birth a free Roman citizen. Acts 22:28. He was taught, according to Jewish custom, a trade, that of tentmaker—i.e., the manufacturing of goats' hair cloth, commonly used for tents. But he was early sent to Jerusalem, where he was trained under the famous Gamaliel. Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3; Acts 22:27-28; Philippians 3:5. Of his family we know nothing, save that he had a nephew, who detected a conspiracy against his life. Acts 23:16-22. He was a fierce defender of Judaism and a bitter enemy of Christianity. Acts 8:3; Acts 26:9-11. Of his miraculous conversion, we have three accounts—Acts, chaps. 9, 22, 26. Christ revealed himself to him near and at Damascus. Acts 26:15; 1 Corinthians 15:8. His advocacy of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah exposed him everywhere to the hatred and malice of his countrymen. He made three missionary tours, preaching Christ and planting churches in Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece, and making several visits to Jerusalem, narrated in the Acts. He was accused by the rulers of the Jews, arrested at Jerusalem by the Roman officers, and after being detained for two years or more at Cæsarea, he was sent to Rome for trial, baying himself appealed to Cæsar. It is quite probable, as Christians believed in the earlier centuries, that the apostle was acquitted and discharged from his first imprisonment in Rome at the end of two years, and that he afterwards returned to Rome, where be was again imprisoned and put to death by Nero. The following is a summary of the chief events in the life of Paul, taken from Schaff's Dictionary of the Bible:


Paul's convention

Sojourn in Arabia


First journey to Jerusalem after his conversion, Galatians 1:18; sojourn at Tarsus, ana afterward at Antioch, Acts 11:26

Second journey to Jerusalem, in company with Barnabas, to relieve the famine

Paul's first great missionary journey, with Barnabas and Mark; Cyprus, Antioch in Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe; return to Antioch in Syria.


Apostolic Council at Jerusalem; conflict between Jewish and Gentile Christianity; Paul's third journey to Jerusalem, with Barnabas and Titus; settlement of the difficulty: agreement between the Jewish and Gentile apostles; Paul's return to Antioch; his difference with Peter and Barnabas at Antioch, and temporary separation from the latter

Paul's second missionary journey from Antioch to Asia Minor, Cilicia, Lycaonia, Galatia, Troas, and Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Beræa, Athens, and Corinth). From this tour dates the Christianization of Europe

Paul at Corinth (a year and a half). First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians


Paul's fourth journey to Jerusalem (spring); short stay at Antioch. His third missionary tour (autumn)

Paul at Ephesus (three years); Epistle to the Galatians (56 or 57). Excursion to Macedonia, Corinth, and Crete (not mentioned in the Acts); First Epistle to Timothy (?). Return to Ephesus. First Epistle to the


Paul's departure from Ephesus (summer) to Macedonia. Second Epistle to the Corinthians

Paul's third sojourn at Corinth (three months). Epistle to the Romans


Paul's fifth and last journey to Jerusalem (spring), where he is arrested and sent to Cæsarea

Paul's captivity at Cæsarea. Testimony before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa (the Gospel of Luke and the Acts commenced at Cæsarea, and concluded at Rome)


Paul's voyage to Rome (autumn); shipwreck at Malta; arrival at


Paul's first captivity at Rome, Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, Philemon


Conflagration at Rome (July); Neronian persecution of the Christians; martyrdom of Paul (?)

Hypothesis of a second Roman captivity and preceding missionary journeys to the East, and possibly to Spain. First Epistle to Timothy; Titus (Hebrews 7:1-28), Second Timothy.


The epistles of Paul are 13, or, if we count the Hebrews 14 in number. They are inspired tracts for the times, and for all times. They may be arranged:

1. Chronologically:

1 and 2 Thessalonians, written a.d. 52, 53, from Corinth.

Galatians, written a.d. 56-57, from Ephesus.

1 Corinthians, written a.d. 57, from Ephesus.

2 Corinthians, written a.d. 57, from Macedonia.

Romans, written a.d. 58, from Corinth.

Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon, written a.d. 61-63, from Rome.

Hebrews, written a.d. 64 (?), from Italy.

1 Timothy and Titus, written a.d. 65 or 57 (?) from Macedonia.

2 Timothy, written a.d. 67 or 64 (?) from Rome.

2. Topically:

Romans and Galatians: doctrines of sin and grace.

1 and 2 Corinthians: moral and practical questions.

Colossians and Philippians: person of Christ.

Ephesians: the Church of Christ.

1 and 2 Thessalonians: the second advent.

1 and 2 Timothy and Titus: church government and pastoral care.

Philemon: slavery.

Hebrews: the eternal priesthood and sacrifice of Christ.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Paul'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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