Paul the apostle.
The apostle to the gentiles.
Epistle to the Romans .
Epistle 1 to the Corinthians .
Epistle 2 to the Corinthians .
Epistle to the Galatians .
Epistle to the Ephesians (or Laodiceans) .
Epistle to the Philippians .
Epistle to the Colossians .
Epistle 1 to the Thessalonians .
Epistle 2 to the Thessalonians .
Epistle 1 to Timothy .
Epistle 2 to Timothy .
Epistle to Titus .
Epistle to Philemon .
Epistle to the Hebrews .
Epistle to the Laodiceans.
Epistle 3 to the Corinthians.
Correspondence with Seneca.
Epistle to the Alexandrians (nonextant, described in the
Acts of Paul.
Saul of Tarsus in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
Paul in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Mark Goodacre, NT Gateway Blog:
Paul is known mainly both from his own epistles and from the
Acts of the Apostles,
the second half of which he dominates almost biographically. I doubt
many of his contemporaries could have guessed the impact this
controversial figure would later have on the course of Christianity.
For, in retrospect, after Jesus himself, no one stands taller in that
first critical generation than the apostle Paul.
It was above all his decision to preach to gentiles that molded
the future of the church. What evidently began strictly as a Jewish
movement in Palestine soon spread far and wide amongst the gentiles,
and none too soon, as the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 appears to
have broken the back of the Jewish segment of the church; it would
never recover, and the church was destined to become predominantly
gentile, looking back on Paul with a fondness that he may not have
often experienced among his own contemporaries.
Jerome, On Famous Men 5:
Paulus apostolus, qui ante Saulus,
extra numerum duodecim apostolorum, de tribu Beniamin et oppido
Iudaeae Giscalis fuit, quo a Romanis capto cum parentibus suis
Tarsum Ciliciae commigravit, a quibus ob studia legis missus
Hierosolymam, a Gamaliele viro doctissimo cuius Lucas meminit,
eruditus est. cum autem interfuisset neci martyris Stephani et
acceptis a pontifice templi epistolis ad persequendos eos qui
Christo crediderant, Damascum pergeret; revelatione compulsus ad
fidem, quae in actibus apostolorum scribitur, in vas electionis
de persecutore translatus est. cumque primum ad praedicationem
eius Sergius Paulus proconsul Cypri credidisset, ab eo quod eum
Christi fidei subegerat, sortitus est nomen Paulus et iuncto sibi
Barnaba, multis urbibus peragratis, revertensque Hierosolymam a
Petro, Iacobo, et Ioanne gentium apostolus ordinatur. et quia in
actibus apostolorum plenissime de eius conversatione scriptum est,
hoc tantum dicam, quod post passionem domini vicesimo quinto anno,
id est, secundo Neronis, eo tempore quo Festus procurator Iudaeae
successit Felici, Romam vinctus mittitur et biennium in libera
manens custodia adversus Iudaeos de adventu Christi quotidie
disputavit. sciendum autem in prima satisfactione, necdum Neronis
imperio roborato nec in tanta erumpente scelera quanta de eo narrant
historiae, Paulum a Nerone dimissum ut evangelium Christi in
occidentis quoque partibus praedicaretur, sicut ipse scribit in
secunda epistola ad Timotheum, eo tempore quo et passus est de
vinculis dictans epistolam: In prima mea satisfactione nemo mihi
affuit, sed omnes me dereliquerunt: non eis imputetur. dominus
autem mihi affuit, et confortavit me, ut per me praedicatio
compleretur, et audirent omnes gentes, et liberatus sum de ore
leonis. manifestissime leonem propter crudelitatem Neronem
significans. et in sequentibus: Liberatus sum de ore leonis.
et statim: Liberabit me dominus ab omni opere malo et salvabit me in
regnum suum coeleste, quod scilicet praesens sibi sentiret imminere
martyrium. nam et in eadem epistola praemiserat: Ego enim iam
immolor, et tempus resolutionis meae instat. hic ergo quarto
decimo Neronis anno, eodem die quo Petrus, Romae pro Christo
capite truncatur, sepultusque est in via Ostiensi, anno post
passionem domini tricesimo septimo. scripsit autem novem ad
septem ecclesias epistolas, ad Romanos unam, ad Corinthios duas,
ad Galatas unam, ad Ephesios unam, ad Philippenses unam,
ad Colossenses unam, ad Thessalonicenses duas, praeterea ad
discipulos suos, Timotheo duas, Tito unam, Philemoni unam.
epistola autem quae fertur ad Hebraeos non eius creditur
propter styli sermonisque dissonantiam, sed vel Barnabae,
iuxta Tertullianum, vel Lucae evangelistae, iuxta quosdam,
vel Clementis Romanae postea ecclesiae episcopi, quem aiunt
ipsi adiunctum sententias Pauli proprio ordinasse et ornasse
sermone. vel certe quia Paulus scribebat ad Hebraeos et propter
invidiam sui apud eos nominis titulum in principio salutationis
amputaverit. scripserat ut Hebraeus Hebraice, id est, suo eloquio
disertissime, ut ea quae eloquenter scripta fuerant in Hebraeo,
eloquentius verterentur in Graecum, et hanc causam esse, quod a
caeteris Pauli epistolis discrepare videatur. legunt quidam et
ad Laodicenses, sed ab omnibus exploditur.
Paul, formerly called Saul, an apostle
outside the number of the twelve apostles, was of the tribe of
Benjamin and the town of Giscalis in Judea. When this was taken by
the Romans he removed with his parents to Tarsus in Cilicia.
Sent by them to Jerusalem to study law he was educated by Gamaliel,
a most learned man whom Luke mentions. But after he had been present
at the death of the martyr Stephen and had received letters from the
high priest of the temple for the persecution of those who believed
in Christ, he proceeded to Damascus, where constrained to faith by a
revelation, as it is written in the Acts
of the apostles, he was transformed from a persecutor into an
elect vessel. As Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus, was the first
to believe on his preaching, he took his name from him because he
had subdued him to faith in Christ, and having been joined by
Barnabas, after traversing many cities, he returned to Jerusalem
and was ordained apostle to the gentiles by Peter, James, and John.
And because a full account of his life is given in the Acts of the Apostles, I only say this, that
the twenty-fifth year after the passion of our Lord, that is the
second of Nero, at the time when Festus succeeded Felix as procurator
of Judea, he was sent bound to Rome and, remaining for two years in
free custody, disputed daily with the Jews concerning the advent
of Christ. It ought to be said that at the first defence, the power
of Nero having not yet been confirmed nor his wickedness broken
forth to such a degree as the histories relate concerning him,
Paul was dismissed by Nero so that the gospel of Christ might be
preached also in the west. As he himself writes in the second
epistle to Timothy, at the time when he was about to be put to
death dictating his epistle as he did while in chains: At my first
defense no one took my part, but all forsook me; may it not be laid
to their account. But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me,
that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and that all
the gentiles might hear, and I was delivered out of the mouth of the
lion, clearly indicating Nero as a lion on account of his cruelty.
And directly following he says: The Lord delivered me from the mouth
of the lion, and again shortly: The Lord delivered me from every evil
work and saved me unto his heavenly kingdom, for indeed he felt
within himself that his martyrdom was near at hand, for in the same
epistle he announced: For I am already being offered and the time
of my departure is at hand. He then, in the fourteenth year of
Nero on the same day with Peter, was beheaded at Rome for the sake
of Christ and was buried in the Ostian way, the twenty-seventh year
after the passion of our Lord. He wrote nine epistles to seven
churches: To the Romans one, to the Corinthians two, to the Galatians
one, to the Ephesians one, to the Philippians one, to the Colossians
one, to the Thessalonians two, and these to his disciples besides,
to Timothy two, to Titus one, to Philemon one. The epistle which
is extant to the Hebrews is not believed to be his on account of
its difference from the others in style and language, but it is
reckoned to be either according to Tertullian the work of Barnabas,
or according to others that of Luke the evangelist or of Clement
afterwards bishop of the church at Rome, who, they say, arranged
and adorned the ideas of Paul in his own language, though to be sure,
since Paul was writing to Hebrews and was indisrepute among them, he
may have omitted his name from the salutation on this account.
He being a Hebrew wrote Hebrew, that is, his own tongue, and most
fluently while the things which were eloquently written in Hebrew
were more eloquently turned into Greek, and this is the reason
why it seems to differ from other epistles of Paul. Some read one
also to the Laodiceans, but it is rejected by
The Gallio inscription, in conjunction with Acts 18.12-17, is a potential
cornerstone in dating the Pauline journeys. The following reconstruction
of this inscription is based on Daniel J. Theron, Evidence of Tradition, page 22, which in turn
is based on Adolf Deissmann, Paul, A Study
in Social and Religious History, page 272:
Tiber[ius Claudius C]aes[ar
August]us G[ermanicus, great high priest,
with tribunician pow]er [for the twelfth time, autocrat for
t]he twenty-sixth time, f[ather of the
f]athe[rland, consul for the fifth time, censor, to the city of
the Delphians, greetings.]
From lon[g ago I have been desi]rou[s] of the
c[ity of t]he Delph[ians...
and I have been well-minded from the be]ginning,
[and] always I have kep[t th]e religi[on
of t]he [Pythian] Apo[llo... but as much as]
now is said and [t]hose stri[fes of the
cit]izens... [just as Lucius Ju]nius Gallio, my
f[riend] an[d pro]consul
[of Achaia wrote... on this account I give you leave] still to have the
Yet another potential archaeological link with Paul was discovered in 1929
in the ruins of ancient Corinth, as John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed
explain on pages 329-330 of In Search of
In 1929 American excavators working just below the theater
[in Corinth] discovered a paving stone from the first century that once bore
an inlaid bronze inscription.... The bronze had been long since removed, but
the hollowed-out spaces could still be read: ERASTVS. PRO.
AED. S. P. STRAVIT, "Erastus, in return for his aedileship, laid this
pavement at his own expense." This Erastus was elected to civic office as an
aedilis in charge of public buildings and facilities and in exchange
paid for the pavement (patronage then, bribery now?). In his letter to the
Romans Paul mentions one Erastus, "the city treasurer" (oikonomos),
who sends his greetings from Corinth to Rome (16:23), but an oikonomos
in Greek or an ararius in Latin is a notch below the office of
aedilis. Maybe it is not the same person, or maybe Paul did not know
about those civic distinctions. We are inclined to think,
however, that Erastus was ararius while Paul was at Corinth, but had
sponsored (recall euergetism as public good works) his way up the
ladder to become an aedilis by the time he laid that
There is extant an interesting physical description of our intrepid
apostle among the accounts of his acts.
Acts of Paul and Thecla 3:
And [Onesiphorus] journeyed along the royal road that
goes to Lystra, and he stood earnestly expecting him, and he looked at those
who were coming according to the information of Titus. And he saw Paul coming,
a man small in height, bald of head, crooked in his legs, healthy, with joined
eyebrows, nose a little long, full of grace; for sometimes he appeared as a
man, but sometimes he had the face of an angel.
Clement, epistle to the Corinthians 5.1-7:
But, not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to
the most recent athletes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own
generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous
pillars1 have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before
our eyes the good apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured, not one or
two, but numerous labors, and, when he had at length suffered martyrdom, he
departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained
the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times2 clapped
in chains, compelled to flee, and stoned.3 After preaching both in
the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith,
having taught justice to the whole world4 and come to the extreme
limit of the west,5 and testified6 under the leaders.
Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved
himself a striking example of patience.
1 Confer Galatians 2.9.
2 Confer 2 Corinthians 11.23, which, however, does not number
the imprisonments at seven.
3 Confer 2 Corinthians 11.25.
4 Confer Romans 15.19, 23.
5 Confer Romans 15.24.
6 Or suffered martyrdom.
to the Romans 4.3:
I do not issue you orders as Peter and Paul; they were
apostles, I condemned; they were free men, but I am until now a slave. But, if I
should suffer, then I am a freedman of Jesus Christ, and shall resurrect free
in him. Now I am learning while bound to desire nothing.
Polycarp, epistle to the Philippians 9.1:
I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the
word of justice, and to exercise all patience such as you have seen before your
eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus,
but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the
of the Church 2.25.5-7, writing of Nero:
In this way then was he the first to be heralded
as above all a fighter against God, and he was raised up to slaughter against
the apostles. It is related that in his time Paul was beheaded in Rome
itself, and that Peter likewise was crucified, and the title of Peter
and Paul, which is still given to the cemeteries there, confirms the story,
no less than does a writer of the church named Gaius, who lived when
Zephyrinus was bishop of Rome, and who in a written discussion with Proclus,
the leader of the opinion among the Phrygians, speaks as follows of the
places where the sacred relics of the apostles in question are deposited:
But I can point out the trophies of the apostles, for if you will go to the
Vatican or to the Ostian Way you will find the trophies of those who
founded this church.