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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Paul the Apostle

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PAUL THE APOSTLE

i. The Authorities. Before discussing the life and teaching of St. Paul, we may consider what material we have at our disposal for determining the facts. We have a history (the Acts of the Apostles) and a collection of Epistles, which have been judged by most or by many scholars to be 1st cent. writings, and to be by St. Luke and St. Paul respectively. Of the Epistles we may, however, set aside the anonymous one to the Hebrews, which the Eastern Fathers generally considered to be St. Paul’s, but which is now recognized by almost all scholars not to be the work of that Apostle himself. It is even denied by many that it belongs to the immediate Pauline circle at all. We may also put aside the Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla , which, though it may include some genuine 1st cent. information, is clearly a romance of a later age. We have thus left the canonical Acts 13:1-52 Epistles. The genuineness of these is considered under the separate articles in this Dictionary, but we may here briefly summarize the results of critical investigation with regard to them.

1. The Tübingen theory. F. C. Baur, the founder of the Tübingen School (1792 1860), maintained that only four, called by him ‘principal,’ Epistles were really St. Paul’s ( Romans 1:1-32 and 2 Cor., Gal.), and that the rest, as also Acts, were not genuine. From the ‘principal’ Epistles, and from a clue in the 2nd cent. pseudo-Clementine literature, he gathered that there were originally two bitterly opposed factions in the Church, Jewish and Gentile, headed respectively by St. Peter and St. Paul. Mainly because this controversy is not found in the other Epistles, but also from other minor considerations, he held that the rest of the ‘Pauline’ literature and Acts were writings with a purpose or ‘tendency,’ issued in the 2nd cent. in order to promote the idea of a Catholic Church, and to reconcile the contending parties. Baur has few, if any, followers now. It has been seen that it is had criticism to make a theory on insecure grounds, and then to reject all the literature which contradicts it.

2. The Dutch School. We may thus name a school of writers which has lately arisen, as their chief strength is in Holland. Prof. van Manen has popularized their teaching in Encyc. Bibl . ( e.g . artt. ‘Old-Christian Literature,’ ‘Paul,’ ‘Philemon,’ ‘Philippians’; see also art. ‘Acts’ by Schmiedel). According to this school, all the 13 Epistles and the Acts are ‘pseudepigraphic,’ though some fragments of 1st cent. works, such as ‘Acts of Paul’ and ‘Acts of Peter,’ are embedded in them. The reasons given are that the 13 writings in question are not really epistles intended for definite readers, but are books written in the form of epistles for edification; that there is no trace of the impression which, if genuine, they must have made on those addressed; that St. Paul would not have written to the Romans as be did without knowing them personally; that the large experience and wide field of vision shown in the Epistles were an impossibility at so early a date; that time was required for ‘Paulinism,’ which was a radical reformation of the older Christianity, to spring up; that the problems discussed (the Law and the Gospel, Justification, Election, etc.) did not belong to the first age; that persecution had already arisen, whereas in St. Paul’s lifetime, so far as we know, there had been none; and that the chapters Romans 9:1-33 ; Romans 10:1-21 ; Romans 11:1-36 presuppose a date later than the Fall of Jerusalem. In a word, the historical background of the Epistles is said to be that of a later age, perhaps a.d. 125 150. The ‘Pauline’ literature sprang from the ‘heretical’ circles of Syria or Asia Minor. Marcion was the first (van Manen alleges) to make an authoritative group of Pauline Epistles; and they were not much approved by Irenæus or Tertullian, who, however, used them to vanquish the Gnostics and Marclonites with their own weapons.

One is tempted to ask, Was, then, St. Paul a myth? No, it is replied, he was a historical person, and the little that we know about him can be gathered from the older material (such as the ‘we’ sections of Acts) which is included in our present literature. It is enough to reply to the above reasoning that the objection already made to the Tübingen theory applies here with increased force; no criticism can be more unscientific than that which makes up its mind a priori what St. Paul ought to have done and said, and then judges the genuineness of the literature by that standard. And such a deluge of forgery or ‘pseudepigraphy’ in the 2nd cent. (for the Epistles of Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp must also, according to this school, go by the board) is absolutely incredible.

3. English and German criticism. Returning to better-balanced views about the literature, we may remark that scholars in this country are more and more disposed to treat Acts and all the 13 Epistles as genuine, and that in Germany the tendency is in the same direction, though it does not go quite so far. Thus Harnack ( Luke the Physician , 1906, Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1907) accepts Acts as Lukan, and Jülicher ( Encyc. Bibl .) believes Colossians to be St. Paul’s, though he is uncertain about Ephesians. The Pastoral Epistles and 2 Thessalonians are generally, but not universally, accepted in this country; they are looked on much more doubtfully in Germany, but the former are usually recognized there as containing a Pauline nucleus.

4. The thirteen Epistles . It appears that St. Paul wrote other letters than these; references to lost ones are found, probably, in 2 Thessalonians 3:17 and 1 Corinthians 5:9 . The thirteen which remain may be divided into four groups. These are all well attested by early Christian writers, and (as van Manen remarks) the Pastoral Epistles have as good external testimony as the rest. By way of example (to take but a few instances), it may be noted that Ignatius ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 110 a.d.), Polycarp ( c . 111 a.d.), and Justin ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 150 a.d.) use 2 Thessalonians; Clement of Rome ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 95 a.d.) uses 1 Corinthians and probably Ephesians; Ignatius certainly uses Ephesians; Polycarp uses almost all the thirteen, including the Pastorals. In fact the external evidence is precise; and it would require convincing arguments indeed from internal evidence to overthrow it. Marcion ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 140 a.d.) included all these Epistles except the Pastorals in his Apostolicon ; but he freely excised what be did not like in them, as Tertullian ( adv. Marc., e.g . v. 17 f.) tells us.

( a ) First Group (1 and 2 Thess.). These were written from Corinth 52 or 53 a.d.; the early date is seen from the fact that the writer expected the Second Advent to be in his lifetime ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ), and this is a real sign of authenticity, for a forger would never have put into St. Paul’s mouth, after his death, the words ‘we that are alive’ (v. 15). A possible misconception is rectified by St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 f., for he says that the ‘man of sin’ must be manifested before the Lord comes.

( b ) Second Group , Baur’s ‘principal epistles’ ( Galatians 1:1-24 and 2 Cor., Rom.), marked by the struggle for Gentile liberty and by the assertion of St. Paul’s Apostleship, which the Judaizing Christians denied. The controversy was evidently dying out when Romans was written, for that Epistle is a calm and reasoned treatise, almost more than a letter (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 4 ). The early date of these four Epistles is seen from the consideration that, as Gentile Churches spread and the converts multiplied, it must have been found impossible to force the yoke of the Law on them. The controversy on both heads was settled by St. Paul’s evangelistic activity; his Apostleship was seen by its fruits.

(c) Third Group , the Epistles of the first Roman captivity (Eph., Ph., Col., Phllem.). No really serious objections have been raised against Philippians and Philemon, for it is hard to take seriously van Manen’s arguments in his articles on these Epistles in Encyc. Bibl . And indeed it is impossible that a forger could have conceived such a gem as the latter Epistle; the writer’s pleading with Philemon for the runaway slave Onesimus bears genuineness on its face. But the authenticity of these two Epistles has a decided bearing on that of Ephesians and Colossians, for all four hang together, especially Philemon and Colossians, which appear to have been written at the same time. It is objected that the phraseology of this group differs from that of the second; that Gnosticism did not rise till the 2nd cent.; that the Christology of these Epistles is derived from the Johannine writings; and that ‘Ephesians is a mere vapid expansion of Colossians.’ These objections appear to be based on the idea that a man must be interested in the same questions and controversies all through his life, and must always use the same vocabulary. The reverse is known to be commonly the case. The controversy with Judaism having died out, it is a mark of genuineness, not the opposite, that that question does not form one of the topics discussed in this group. St. Paul at Rome would learn much; and a certain change in vocabulary is natural enough. Yet the literary connexions between this group and the earlier ones are very real. Bishop Lightfoot has shown that the Colossian heresy is a very incipient form of semi-Jewish Gnosticism, such as we should expect in the 1st cent. ( Colossians , p. 71 ff.). And the argument from the Christology is a pure begging of the question. Note that the doctrine is exactly the same in Colossians (which treats of the glories of the Head of the Church, while Ephesians describes those of the Church itself) as in Philippians 2:5 ff.

( d ) Fourth Group , the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Tim., Tit.), so called because they are concerned mainly with the duties of Christian ministers. These all hang together, and from coincidences of style and subjects are judged to be certainly by one writer. They are quoted by, or were known to, Polycarp, Justin, Hegesippus (see Salmon, Introd. to NT 8 , p. 398), but were rejected by Marcion. Tatian accepted Titus, but rejected the other two, probably because 1 Timothy 4:3 f., 1 Timothy 5:14 ; 1 Timothy 5:23 offended his Encratite ideas. In modern times it has been asserted that these Epistles are not St. Paul’s, because of differences of diction (many phrases and words being found in this group which do not occur elsewhere in St. Paul); because the controversies are not the same as in the other Epistles, there being nothing about the Mosaic Law and justification by faith, and Gnosticism being attacked (for the name ‘gnosis,’ i.e . ‘knowledge,’ see 1 Timothy 6:20 ; cf. Colossians 2:3 , 1 Corinthians 8:1 ; 1 Corinthians 12:8 ), a heresy more Jewish in tone than even that which appears in Colossians ( Titus 1:14 ); because the ministry is said to be too fully developed for the lifetime of St. Paul; but especially because it is impossible to reconcile these Epistles with Acts. With the last statement almost all scholars entirely agree, though they do not assent to the deduction made from it. This is the really crucial argument, and may be treated first. It is assumed by most of the objectors to these Epistles, that they must be placed somewhere in the history related in Acts, because that book ‘concludes with the end of St. Paul’s ministry’; and, as it is impossible to make the journeys referred to in these Epistles fit in with Acts, it is said that the former cannot be genuine. To this it is answered that St. Paul may have been acquitted, and that the journeys mentioned may have taken place after the acquittal; but the objectors reply that the acquittal is unhistorical. The truth is that history (outside these Epistles) does not explicitly tell us whether St. Paul was acquitted or condemned after the two years’ imprisonment of Acts 28:30 ; if the acquittal is unhistorical, so also is the condemnation. We may, then, take these Epistles, which have excellent external attestation, and therefore are a priori worthy of credit, as new evidence, and infer from them that St. Paul was released, made journeys to the scenes of his old labours, and was later re-arrested and imprisoned ( 2 Timothy 1:8 ). Even if these Epistles are not St. Paul’s, they are evidence for an early belief that he was acquitted the first time; this is shown by the fact that the journeys described are quite independent of Acts (cf. also 2 Timothy 4:16 f.). Further, there was, quite apart from these Epistles, an early tradition that St. Paul went to Spain ( Muratorian Fragment , c. [Note: . circa, about.] a.d. 180), or to ‘the farthest bounds of the West’ (Clem. Rom. Cor . 5; this almost certainly means Spain: see Lightfoot’s note), according to his previous intention ( Romans 15:24 ; Romans 15:28 ). This implies a belief in his acquittal whether or not the journey to Spain actually took place (see below, ii. 12). St. Paul himself fully expected to be acquitted ( Philippians 1:23 ff; Philippians 2:24 , Philippians 1:22 ). Thus the difficulty that these Epistles cannot be reconciled with Acts entirely vanishes. [For the objection from the presentiment that St. Paul would not re-visit the Ephesians ( Acts 20:25 ) see art. Acts of the Apostles, § 9 ; but even if the early date of Acts be not accepted, it is quite possible that St. Paul never re-visited Ephesus. We should rather gather from 1 Tim., especially from 1:8, that he had an interview with Timothy elsewhere, probably at Miletus, as he was passing by on his way north; see Prof. Findlay in Hastings’ DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] iii. 714b.] The other considerations, as to diction and subject matter, have little weight when once we agree that the Epistles, if Pauline, must have been written several years after the others; and it is instructive that in these respects the Third Group makes a half-way house between the Second and the Fourth. We must, moreover, note that there are many indications of genuineness; 2 Timothy has all the marks of authenticity, being full of personal allusions which it would be almost impossible for a forger to invent. It is for this reason generally allowed that 2 Timothy 1:15-18 ; 2 Timothy 4:9-22 are really Pauline. But it is grossly improbable that real epistles were used only for patching forgeries and then thrown away. It is in personal notices that a forger usually goes wrong; if these are authentic, it is a great argument for the whole writing being authentic (for further details see Salmon, Introd . 6, pp. 397 413). But as all three Epistles hang together, the marks of genuineness in 2 Timothy are a strong argument for the genuineness of the whole group.

We may briefly sum up what has been said on the difference of subject-matter and style in the thirteen Epistles. At the birth of a Gentile Church the controversy with Judaizing Christians was that which was most likely to arise, as we see in the Second Group. Questions were then asked about the Person of Christ and about the Church as a whole, as we see in the Third Group. As the communities grew, their organization occupied much attention, as we see in the Fourth Group. The special interest of the moment colours the diction and style. Sanday-Headlam ( Romans , p. liv. ff.) suggest, further, that variations of style are largely due to the nervous temperament of the Apostle, now calm, now fervid; and in a considerable degree also to the employment of different amanuenses. St. Paul did not write his letters himself, but only added postscripts in his own hand. Probably he dictated his Epistles, and they were taken down in shorthand; a difference of scribe would thus mean an appreciable difference of style.

We shall, then, in what follows, without hesitation use the 13 Epistles as genuine. If what has been briefly argued above be not accepted, this article must be taken as describing, at least, the life and teaching of St. Paul as the early Christians believed that he lived and taught.

5. Acts of the Apostles. For the reasons stated in the article on that book, we may with confidence use Acts as a trustworthy authority for St. Paul’s life. But we may here ask what we are to think of St. Paul’s speeches in Acts, whether they are a true record of what he said, and whether we may use them to determine his teaching. It is not easy to suppose that they were taken down verbatim as they were spoken; and St. Luke himself was not present at all of them ( e.g . Acts 13:16 ff; Acts 14:15 ff; Acts 17:22 f.). Yet the speeches agree very well with the circumstances in which they were delivered, and the diction and sentiments coincide largely with the Pauline Epistles. Lukan phrases have been found in some of them, which is natural enough; more so in the speech of Acts 22:1-30 , which was spoken in Aramaic, and therefore is clearly not the Apostle’s ipsissima verba , than in the Athenian speech ( Acts 17:22 ff.) which has no Lukan element. The conclusion may be that the speeches were written down, soon after they were delivered, by a hearer sometimes the bearer was St. Luke himself and the notes then taken were afterwards used by the author of Acts.

ii. Sketch of St. Paul’s Life

1. Name. The future Apostle is first made known to us under the name Saul ( Acts 7:58 ). Being of the tribe of Benjamin ( Romans 11:1 , Philippians 3:5 ), a fact of which he was proud, he doubtless was named directly or indirectly after the king whom that tribe gave to Israel. But while Saul was his Jewish name, he must, as a Roman citizen, have had three Roman names. His praenomen and nomen we do not know, but his cognomen was Paul. After the interview with the proconsul Sergius Paulus in Cyprus ( Acts 13:6 ff.), the author of Acts uses no other name than this; from the outset of his mission to the Roman Empire it was fitting that he should be known by his Roman name. We must at once dismiss both the conjecture of Augustine that the Apostle on that occasion assumed the name Paul out of compliment to the proconsul, and also the suggestion that the name was personal to himself, denoting that he was small of stature. The existence of alternative names side by side, a Jewish and a Greek or Roman name, was quite a common thing among Jews of the 1st cent., e.g . John-Mark, Jesus-Justus. But here the case is different; we never read of Saul-Paul.

2. Birthplace and family. St. Paul was not only a native but also a citizen of Tarsus, possessed of full civil rights in that famous University town, the capital of Cilicia ( Acts 9:11 ; Acts 21:39 ; Acts 22:8 ). His family had perhaps been planted there by one of the Seleucid kings (Ramsay). They were probably Pharisees ( Acts 23:6 ; cf. 2 Timothy 1:3 ); and Aramaic-speaking ( Philippians 3:5 , though here the Apostle may be speaking of his teachers ). Several indications point to the fact that the family was of some importance, and was fairly rich. It is not against this view that the Apostle himself was poor, and that he worked for his livelihood as a tent-maker, as did many Cilicians ( Acts 18:3 ; Acts 20:33 f.; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:15 , 1 Thessalonians 2:9 , 2 Thessalonians 3:8 ); for it is very probable that his family cast him off because of his conversion, and especially because of his attitude to the Gentiles; and moreover, it was the custom for all Jewish boys to be taught a trade. The prosperity of the family is seen from the fact that later St. Paul clearly had money at his command. Perhaps a reconciliation had been effected; his sister’s son saved his life ( Acts 23:16 ); and the whole story of the imprisonment in Palestine and Rome and of the voyage to Italy proves that he was a prisoner of distinction. This could come only from the possession of some wealth and from family influence.

3. Roman citizenship. Of this position St. Paul was justly proud. He was not a Roman citizen merely because he had the freedom of Tarsus, for Tarsus was not a Roman Colony; probably his father or grandfather had rendered some service to the State, and had been thus rewarded. In any case St. Paul was freeborn ( Acts 22:28 ). He had not, like so many under Claudius, bought the citizenship through the infamous favourites of the Court. He appealed to his privilege to prevent illegal treatment at Philippi and Jerusalem ( Acts 16:37 ; Acts 22:25 ). And more than once in the Epistles he alludes to citizenship, transferring the term from the earthly to the heavenly sphere an allusion which would come home especially to the Philippians, who were so proud of their city being a Colony, and of their therefore being Roman citizens ( Acts 16:12 ; Acts 16:21 ); see Philippians 1:27 [RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ] Acts 3:20 , Ephesians 2:19 , and St. Paul’s speech in Acts 23:1 where the phrase ‘I have lived’ is literally ‘I have exercised my citizenship.’ It was no doubt this citizenship which gave St. Paul such an advantage as the Apostle of the Gentiles, and which inspired him with his great plan of utilizing the civilization of the Roman State to spread the gospel along its lines of communication (see artt. Acts of the Apostles, § 7 , and Galatians [Ep. to the] § 2 ). It is noteworthy that he seems to have laid much stress on evangelizing Roman Colonies like Corinth, Pisidian Antioch, Lystra, and Philippi.

4. Early life. St. Paul was educated, no doubt, partly at Tarsus ( Acts 26:4 ), where he would be influenced by Stoic teachers (see (§ iv.), but chiefly at Jerusalem under the Pharisee Gamaliel ( Acts 22:3 ; Acts 26:4 ; cf. Acts 5:34 ff.); he did not, however, see our Lord (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1 with 1 Corinthians 15:8 ), though he would be there in Jesus’ lifetime on earth. Probably this period of education was over before our Lord’s ministry began. He was brought up a strict Pharisee ( Acts 23:6 ; Acts 26:5 , Galatians 1:14 , Philippians 3:5 ), and long after his conversion he retained a certain pride in his Jewish hirth and a great affection for his own people ( Romans 4:1 ; Romans 9:3 ; Romans 10:1 ; Romans 11:1 , 2 Corinthians 11:22 ). Though born outside Palestine, he was brought up, not as a Greek-speaking Jew or Hellenist, but as a Hebrew; for this last term denotes a difference of language and manners ( Philippians 3:5 ; see Lightfoot’s note). Accordingly we find him speaking Aramaic fluently ( Acts 21:40 ; Acts 22:2 ).

The result of this education, in spite of Gamaliel’s liberality of thought, was to make St. Paul a zealous and bigoted Jew, determined with all the ardour of youth to uphold the traditions of his fathers. We first meet with him as a young man ‘consenting unto’ Stephen’s death, holding the clothes of those who stoned the first martyr (Acts 7:58 ; Acts 8:1 ), and persecuting the Christians in Jerusalem ( Acts 26:10 ). Thereafter he secured authority from the high priest to go to Damascus in order to arrest all the disciples, and to bring them bound to Jerusalem ( Acts 9:1 f.). [In the following paragraphs the numbers in square brackets denote the dates a.d. as given by Ramsay. Lightfoot’s dates are mostly a year or two later; Harnack’s earlier. Turner’s (in Hastings’ DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] , art. ‘Chronology of NT’) nearly agree with Ramsay’s, except that he puts the Conversion at least two years later because of a difficulty about Aretas (see artt. Aretas, Chronology of NT), and the Martyrdom about two years earlier].

5. Conversion [33]. The journey to Damascus was the great turning-point of Saul’s life ( Acts 9:3 ff.), and is often referred to by him ( Acts 22:5 ff; Act 26:12 ff., 1 Corinthians 9:1 ; 1 Corinthians 15:8 , Philippians 3:7 etc.). When approaching Damascus he saw a strong light, and Jesus appearing to him (so explicitly 1 Corinthians 9:1 ), saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ The voice was unintelligible to his companions ( Acts 22:9 ), though they saw the light ( ib .) and heard a sound ( Acts 9:7 ). Saul was blinded by the vision and led into Damascus, where he was instructed and baptized by one Ananias. Immediately he confesses Christ in the synagogues at Damascus ( Acts 9:20 ), and then retires into Arabia (perhaps the Sinaitic peninsula, see Lightfoot’s Galatians 6:1-18 , p. 87 ff.), doubtless for spiritual preparation ( Galatians 1:17 ). He ever recognizes his conversion as being his call to Apostleship, which was neither of human origin nor received by human mediation, i.e . not through the Twelve ( Galatians 1:1 ; Galatians 1:12 ; Galatians 1:17 ; cf. Romans 1:1 ; Rom 1:5 , 1 Corinthians 1:1 ; 1Co 4:1 ; 1 Corinthians 9:1 f., 1 Corinthians 15:9 ). The Lord Himself designates his work as being among the Gentiles ( Acts 9:15 ; cf. Acts 22:21 ; Acts 26:17 , Romans 11:13 ; Romans 15:16 , Galatians 2:7 , Ephesians 3:8 , 1 Timothy 2:7 , 2 Timothy 1:11 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ). The question arises, therefore, What is the meaning of the laying on of hands by the prophets and teachers of Antioch ( Acts 13:1 ff.; Saul was one of them, Acts 13:1 )? This has been regarded by some as an ordination by the Church, which thus put an outward seal on the inward call to Apostleship (Gore, Lightfoot); by others, as an appointment, not to the Apostleship, but to the definite work which lay immediately before Barnabas and Paul (Ramsay). Returning from Arabia, Saul comes to Damascus ( Galatians 1:17 ) while the deputy (ethnarch) of the Nabatæan king Aretas holds the city ( 2 Corinthians 11:32 f.), and is persecuted there, but escapes by night, being let down in a basket through the city wall ( Acts 9:23 ff.). He makes his first visit to Jerusalem [35] three years after his conversion for this is the probable meaning of Galatians 1:18 and is presented by Barnabas to Peter and James ( ib . and Acts 9:27 ). Here he is told, in a vision in the Temple, to escape because of the opposition of the Jews ( Acts 22:17 ff.) [unless the vision belongs to the Second visit, as Ramsay maintains, St. Paul the Traveller 6, p. 61 f.], and goes to Tarsus ( Acts 9:30 ), preaching in the united province Syria-Cilicia, in which Tarsus was situated ( Galatians 1:21 f.). After several years, no doubt of preparation on Saul’s part, Barnabas goes to Tarsus to bring him to the Syrian Antioch [43], where the disciples were first called Christians, and they spend a year there ( Acts 11:26 ). The Gentiles had already been addressed at Antioch by Cypriots and Cyrenians after the persecution which arose on Stephen’s death ( Acts 11:19 ff.). Henceforward this became a great missionary centre. From Antioch Paul made with Barnabas the second visit to Jerusalem , taking alms for those suffering from the famine ( Acts 11:30 ); and if this is the visit of Galatians 2:1 (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 3 ), it originated in a Divine revelation, and Titus, a Gentile, accompanied them [45 or 46]. They returned thence to Antioch ( Acts 12:25 ), taking Mark with them [46 or 47].

6. First Missionary Journey , Acts 13:4 to Acts 14:26 [47 to 49]. Sent forth from Antioch, Paul and Barnabas with Mark sail to Cyprus and preach there; at Salamis, the capital, on the west side of the island, they for the first time address a Roman governor. Henceforward Saul is always in NT called by his Roman name. Opposed by the ‘magician’ Elymas (or Etoimas), Paul rebuked him, and predicted his blindness; the magus was immediately deprived of sight, and the proconsul ‘believed.’ This can hardly mean that he actually became a Christian; but, having been under the influence of Elymas, his eyes are now opened, and he listens to the gospel message favourably. From Cyprus they sail to the mainland of Pamphylia, and reach Perga, where Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem. The reason of this defection is not obvious, but it may be that St. Paul now made a plan for the further extension of Christianity among the Gentiles of the interior of Asia Minor, which Mark, whose view had not yet been sufficiently enlarged, disapproved. It is not unlikely that St. Paul was struck down with malaria in the low-lying littoral of Pamphylia, and that this favoured the idea of a journey to the mountainous interior, where he would recover his health. Ramsay takes malaria to be the thorn or stake in the flesh ( 2 Corinthians 12:7 ), and this would agree with the statement that St. Paul first visited Galatia owing to an infirmity of the flesh ( Galatians 4:13 ). On the S. Galatian theory (here assumed; see the discussion in art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 2 ) the Church in Galatia was now founded; the journey Included visits to the South Galatian cities of Pisidian Antioch (a Roman Colony), Iconium (where the Apostles were stoned, and whence they fled into the Lycaonian district of Galatia), Lystra (also a Roman Colony, where they were taken for gods, and where the people spoke Lycaonian), and Derbe. Thence they returned, reversing their route, confirming souls and ordaining presbyters. Persecutions in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra are mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:11 . From the port of Attalia they sailed to Antioch, and spent a long time there. In these journeys it was the custom of St. Paul to preach to the Jews first ( Acts 17:2 etc.), and when they would not hear, to turn to the Gentiles. At this time perhaps occurred the incident of St. Peter at Antioch ( Galatians 2:11 ff.). He at first ate with the Gentiles, but, persuaded by Judaizers who professed to come ‘from James,’ he drew back; and even Barnabas was influenced by them. But Paul ‘resisted’ Peter ‘to the face,’ and his expostulation clearly was successful, as we see from the conduct of the latter at the Council ( Acts 15:7 ff.).

7. The Apostolic Council , Acts 15:1-29 [49 or 50]. As soon as Gentiles were admitted into the Church, the question whether they must obey the Mosaic law became urgent. Judaizers having come to Antioch preaching the necessity of circumcision, Paul and Barnabas with others were sent to Jerusalem to confer with the Apostles and elders. This is the third visit to Jerusalem . The Council decided that the Gentiles need not be subject to the Law, but enjoined them to abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication, by which marriage within the prohibited degrees is perhaps intended. Paul and Barnabas, with Judas and Silas, were sent to Antioch with the decrees, and the two latter probably then returned to Jerusalem, though there is some doubt about the movements of Silas.

8. Second Missionary Journey. Acts 15:36 to Acts 18:22 [50 to 53]. Paul and Barnabas had a dissension, the former refusing and the latter wishing to take Mark with them; they therefore separated, and Paul took Silas (sent for from Jerusalem?). These two went through Syria and Cilicia and (by the Cilician gates) to Derbe and Lystra and delivered the Council’s decrees. At Lystra they find Timothy, son of a Greek father and of a Jewish mother named Eunice. He had been carefully brought up by his mother and by his grandmother Lois ( 2 Timothy 1:5 ; 2 Timothy 3:15 ). St. Paul, wishing to take him with him, first, for fear of giving offence to the Judaizers (as he was half a Jew), caused him to be circumcised. They then go through the ‘Phrygo-Galatic region’ of the province Galatia (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 2 ), not being allowed by God to evangelize the province Asia ( i.e . the western sea-board of Asia Minor) or to enter Bithynia (the northern sea-board), and come to Troas, where they meet St. Luke. [On the N. Galatian theory they made a very long detour before entering the province Asia, to Galatia proper, founding Churches there and returning almost to the point in the journey which they had left.] At Troas, St. Paul sees in a dream ‘a certain Macedonian,’ saying ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us’ ( Acts 16:9 ; see art. Acts of the Apostles, § 3 ). This induces him to sail over to that province, and they come to Philippi, a Roman colony, where they lodge with one Lydia of Thyatira, a seller of purple. St. Paul casts out a ‘spirit of divination’ (ventriloquism?) from ‘a certain maid,’ and, owing to the opposition of the girl’s masters, he and Silas are cast into prison. An earthquake looses their bonds and the jailor is converted. In the morning the magistrates send to release them, and then Paul and Silas assert their Roman citizenship. Leaving Luke behind at Philippi, they pass on to Thessalonica; and this mission seems to be the limit of which the Apostle speaks when he says to the Romans ( Romans 15:10 ) that he had preached from Jerusalem even unto Illyricum [= Dalmatia], the Illyrian frontier being not far off. At Thessalonica they spent a long time ( 1Th 1:9 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:1 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:9 ff.), and had much success; many of the ‘chief women’ were converted. Paul worked for his livelihood ( 2 Thessalonians 3:8 ), but gifts were twice sent to him here from Philippi ( Philippians 4:15 f.; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1 f., 2 Corinthians 11:9 ). The missionary zeal of the Thessalonians is commended in 1 Thessalonians 1:8 . The opposition again came from the Jews (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:24 ), who accused St. Paul’s host, Jason, of disloyalty to Rome; ball was taken from Jason, and the Apostle was thus injured through his friend. This seems to have been the ‘hindrance of Satan’ which prevented his return ( 1Th 2:14 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:18 , 2 Thessalonians 1:4 ). They then went to Berœa, where they met with much success; but the Thessalonian Jews stirring up trouble there, Paul went on to Athens, leaving Siias and Timothy behind, probably to bring news as to the possibility of returning to Macedonia. At Athens the Apostie spent much time, and addressed the Court of the Areopagus in a philosophic style; but not many, save Dionysius the Areopagite and Damaris, were converted. Timothy returned to Athens and was sent back again to Thessalonica; and Silas and Timothy later joined St. Paul at Corinth ( 1 Thessalonians 3:1 f., 1 Thessalonians 3:6 , Acts 18:5 ). From Corinth were sent 1 Thessalonians , and, a little later, 2 Thessalonians . At Corinth St. Paul changed his method, and preached the Cross, simply, without regard to philosophy ( 1 Corinthians 1:23 ; 1 Corinthians 2:2-6 , 2 Corinthians 4:5 ); here he had great success, chiefly in the lower social ranks ( 1 Corinthians 1:26 ). Here also he met Aquila and Priscilla, who had been expelled from Rome; and they all worked as tentmakers. The Jews being deaf to his persuasions, Paul left the synagogue and went to the house of Titus Justus close by; Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was converted with all his house, as well as others, among whom was perhaps Sosthenes (Crispus’ successor in the synagogue? Acts 18:17 , 1 Corinthians 1:1 ). Encouraged by a vision, St. Paul spent eighteen months in Corinth; the Jews opposed him, and brought him before the proconsul Gallio, who, however, dismissed the case. Here we read of the Apostle taking a vow, after the manner of his countrymen, and shaving his head in Cenchreæ. He then sailed with Priscilia and Aquila, and, leaving them at Ephesus, landed at Cæsarea, whence he made his fourth visit to Jerusalem [53], and so passed to the Syrian Antioch. It is probable that from Ephesus Timothy was sent to his home at Lystra, and that he met St. Paul again at Antioch, bringing news that the Galatians were under the influence of Judaizers, who taught that circumcision was, if not essential to salvation, at least essential to perfection[see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 4 ]. St. Paul in haste wrote Galatians to expostulate, sending Timothy back with it, and intending himself to follow shortly. [On the N. Galatian theory, this Epistle was written later, from Ephesus or from Macedonia.]

9. Third Missionary Journey , Acts 18:23 to Acts 21:16 [53 to 57]. St. Paul, after ‘some time’ at Antioch, went again, probably by the Cilician Gates, to the ‘Galatic Region’ and the ‘Phrygian Region’ (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 2 ), and so came to Ephesus by the upper road, not passing along the valley of the Lycus ( Acts 19:1 ; see Colossians 2:1 ). [On the N. Galatian theory another long digression to Galatia proper is here necessary.] At Ephesus he found twelve persons who had known only John’s baptism. St. Paul caused them to be ‘baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus,’ and when he ‘had laid his hands upon’ them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.’ At Ephesus the Apostle spent 2 1 / 4 years and converted many who had practised magic. Hence he proposed to go to Macedonia, Greece, Jerusalem, Rome ( Acts 19:21 , Romans 1:10 ff.), and Spain ( Romans 15:24 ; Romans 15:28 ); he sent Timothy to Macedonia, with Erastus as a companion so far ( Acts 19:22 ), and then on to Corinth ( 1 Corinthians 4:17 ; 1 Corinthians 16:10 ), while he kept Sosthenes with him (1:1). After Timothy’s departure (4:17) he sent off 1 Corinthians , which he wrote after he had heard of divisions at Corinth ( 1 Corinthians 1:10 ff.), of the success of Apollos ( 1 Corinthians 1:12 , 1 Corinthians 3:4 ff., 1 Corinthians 16:12 ), who had gone there from Ephesus ( Acts 18:27 f.), of a case of incest and abuses in respect to litigation and to the Eucharist ( 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 ; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 ; 1 Corinthians 11:1-34 ). This letter was in answer to one from Corinth asking for directions on marriage, etc. The Apostle announces his intention of going to Corinth himself by way of Macedonia after Pentecost ( Acts 16:5 ff.). and Lightfoot thinks that he did pay this visit to Corinth from Ephesus (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:1 ‘the third time’), but Ramsay puts the visit somewhat later. In 2 Corinthians 1:16 ; 2 Corinthians 1:23 St. Paul says that he had Intended to go by way of Corinth to Macedonia, and back to Corinth again, and so to Judæa, but that he had changed his plan. At Ephesus there were many persecutions ( 2 Corinthians 1:8 ; cf. 1Co 4:8 ; 1 Corinthians 6:4 f.), and Onesiphorus was very useful to him there ( 2 Timothy 1:16 ff.). The stay at Ephesus was suddenly brought to an end by a riot instigated by Demetrius, a maker of silver shrines of Artemis. St. Paul went to Macedonia by Troas, where he had expected to meet Titus coming from Corinth, though he was disappointed in this. At Troas he preached with success; ‘a door was opened’ ( 2 Corinthians 2:12 ). From Macedonia he wrote 2 Corinthians urging the forgiveness of the incestuous Corinthian. [Some modification of the above is required if this Epistle, as many think, is an amalgamation of two or more separate ones. Some think that the person referred to in 2 Cor. is not the offender of 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 at all.] Titus joined St. Paul in Macedonia, and gave a good account of Corinth ( 2 Corinthians 7:8 ff.), but troubles arose in Macedonia itself ( 2 Corinthians 7:6 ). Titus was sent back to Corinth with two others ( 2Co 8:6 ; 2 Corinthians 8:17 f., 2 Corinthians 8:22 ), taking the letter and announcing St. Paul’s own coming ( 2 Corinthians 13:1 ). All this time the Apostle was developing his great scheme of a collection for the poor Christians of Judæa, which was responded to so liberally in Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia ( 1 Corinthians 16:1 f., 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 ; 2 Corinthians 9:2 , Romans 15:25 ), and which prompted that journey to Jerusalem which is the last recorded in Acts ( Acts 24:17 ). He claimed the right to live of the gospel himself ( 1 Corinthians 9:6 ff.); yet he would not usually do so, but instead asked offerings for the ‘poor saints.’ From Macedonia he went to’ Greece’ ( Acts 20:2 ), i.e . to Corinth, for three months, and here wrote Romans [57], which he sent by Phœbe, a deaconess at Cenchreæ, the port of Corinth ( Romans 16:1 ). At Corinth he heard of a plot against his life; he had intended to sail direct to Syria, and the plot seems to have been to murder him on the ship; he therefore took the land journey by way of Macedonia, but sent on several friends to join him at Troas: Sopater of Berœa, Aristarchus and Secundus (both of Thessalonica), Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus (both probably of Ephesus), and Gaius of Derbe, who was perhaps his host at Corinth ( Romans 16:23 , 1 Corinthians 1:14 ; if so he must have come to Corinth to stay. The Macedonian Gaius of Acts 19:29 was probably a different man). St. Paul spent the Passover at Philippi, and then, with Luke ( Acts 20:5 f.). set sail for Troas. Here, at an all-night service which ends with the Eucharist, occurs the incident of the young man Eutychus, who being asleep falls down from the third storey and is taken up dead; but the Apostle restores him alive to his friends. From Troas the party sail along the west coast of Asia Minor, calling at Miletus. Here St. Paul has a visit from the presbyters of Ephesus, for whom he had sent, and hids them farewell, saying that they would see his face no more (see above i. 4 ( d )). At Cæsarea (in Palestine) they land, and stay with Philip the evangelist; and here Agabus, taking Paul’s girdle and binding his own feet and hands, prophesies that the Jews will do the same to the owner of the girdle, and will deliver him to the Gentiles.

10. Fifth visit to Jerusalem , Acts 21:17 to Acts 23:30 [57]. St. Paul is received at an apparently formal council by James, the Jerusalem presbyters being present; and he tells them of the success of his ministry to the Gentiles. They advise him to conciliate the Christians of Jerusalem, who thought that he persuaded Jews not to keep the Law, and to undertake the Temple charges for four men who were under a vow, and to ‘purify’ himself with them. This he does, showing, as in many other instances, that he is still a Jew ( Acts 18:18 ; Acts 20:6 ; Acts 20:16 ; Acts 27:9 ). But his presence in the Temple is the occasion of a riot, the Jews believing that he had brought within the precincts Trophimus, the Gentile of Ephesus, whom they had seen with him in the city. He is saved only by the intervention of the Roman soldiers, who take him to the ‘Castle.’ He is allowed to address the people, on the way, in Aramaic; but when he speaks of his mission to the Gentiles, they are greatly incensed and the chief captain (chiliarch), Claudius Lysias, has him brought into the Castle and orders him to be examined by scourging; but Paul asserts his Roman citizenship. Next day he is brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin, of whom some were Pharisees, some Sadducees, and when he affirms his belief in ‘the hope and resurrection of the dead,’ the former favour him. In the night he is encouraged by a vision of the Lord telling him that he must bear witness in Rome ( Acts 23:11 ). A plot of the Jews against him, revealed by his nephew, is the cause of his being sent down guarded to Cæsarea to the governor Felix. The Jews go down there to accuse him, and Felix and his wife Drusilla, a Jewess, hear him often; but he is left a prisoner for two years, and Felix, when he is recalled, does not release him, hoping to please the Jews. He had expected a bribe from Paul (24:26). Festus, his successor, is asked by the Jews to send Paul to Jerusalem, there being a secret plot to kill him on the road; but Paul appeals to Cæsar. While he is at Cæsarea, Agrippa and Bernice come down to visit Festus, and Paul narrates to them his conversion ( Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32 ).

11. Roman imprisonment . From Cæsarea the Apostle is sent, with the two companions allowed to accompany him (Luke and Aristarchus), on a voyage to Italy [59], under the charge of Julius, centurion of the Augustan Band or Cohort. They sail first, after touching at Zidon, under the lee (to the east) of Cyprus, the usual winds in the Levant in summer being westerly, and coast along Asia Minor. St. Paul is treated kindly and as a prisoner of distinction, and his advice is often asked. At Myra they tranship and embark in what is apparently a Government vessel taking corn from Egypt to Italy. Sailing south of Crete they reach Fair Havens, and spend at least some few days there; then, though the season of the year is late, they set sail again, hoping to reach Italy safely. But being caught in a storm, they drift for many days, and finally are shipwrecked on the coast of Malta, where the people receive them kindly. St. Paul heals the father of the ‘first man,’ Publius, of fever and dysentery. Next spring [60] they sail for Italy by way of Sicily, and land at Puteoli, whence they reach Rome by land. Here Paul is allowed to live in a hired house, guarded by a soldier, and he remains there ‘two whole years,’ doing evangelistic work [60, 61]. From Rome, while a prisoner ( Philippians 1:7 ; Philippians 1:13 , Colossians 4:3 ; Colossians 4:18 , Ephesians 3:1 ; Ephesians 4:1 ; Ephesians 6:20 , Philippians 1:1 ), he wrote Ephssians , probably a circular letter to the Churches of Asia (the ‘Epistle from Laodicea’ of Colossians 4:16 ). At the same time he seems to have sent Colossians and Philemon by Tychicus and Onesimus. The Colossians had not seen Paul ( Colossians 2:1 ), but, having heard of errors at Colossæ, he writes to exhort them and Archippus ( Colossians 4:17 ; cf. Philippians 1:2 ), who seems to have been their chief minister. The short letter to Philemon is a touching appeal from’ Paul the aged’ (v. 9) to a master to receive back a fugitive slave Onesimus; the master formerly, and now the slave, owed their Christianity to St. Paul. At this time the Apostle has with him Epaphras of Colossæ (who had come to Rome and was a ‘fellow prisoner’ with Paul, Philippians 1:23 ), Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus, Justus, Luke, and Demas. About the same date Philippians was written, and sent by Epaphroditus of Philippi ( Philippians 2:25 ff.), who had been sick nigh to death, but had recovered; he had been sent by the Philippians with alms to Rome ( Philippians 4:10 ; Philippians 4:18 ). St. Paul exhorts his ‘true yokefellow’ (whom Lightfoot takes to be Epaphroditus, but who is more probably the chief minister of the Philippian Church) to appease a quarrel between two Church workers, Euodia and Syntychs ( Philippians 4:2 f.); the ‘Clement’ there mentioned seems to have been a Philippian convert. St. Paul hopes soon to send Timothy to Philippi ( Philippians 2:19 ), and to be free to come soon to them himself ( Philippians 2:24 ; cf. Philippians 1:22 ).

12. Later life [end of 61 to 67]. This we can in part construct from the Pastoral Epistles; those who reject them will take their own view of the account which follows. We may first ask whether St. Paul went to Spain. As we have seen, he meant to do so ( Romans 15:24 ; Romans 15:28 ), and early tradition affirmed that he did go (above, 1.4 ( d )). This tradition, however, may have been based only on his recorded intention; and it is a difficulty that no trace is left of a Spanish visit, and that no Church in Spain claims to have been founded by him. Journeys to the East are better attested; he certainly intended to go from Rome eastwards ( Philippians 2:24 ). We read that he went to Corinth and left Erastus there ( 2 Timothy 4:20 ); that he sailed along the west coast of Asia Minor, leaving Trophimus sick at Miletus ( ib .), and Timothy at Ephesus to rule the Church there for a time ( 1 Timothy 1:3 etc.); that he called at Troas and left some things there ( 2 Timothy 4:13 ); and that he went to Macedonia ( 1 Timothy 1:3 ). But these events need not have happened on the same journey. At Ephesus we read of various heretics of Hymenæus and Alexander whom Paul ‘delivered unto Satan’ ( 1 Timothy 1:20 ) Alexande


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Paul the Apostle'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/p/paul-the-apostle.html. 1909.


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Monday, December 10th, 2018
the Second Week of Advent
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