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THE ACTS OF ST. PAUL.
No one can read the story given us in the Acts without seeing that Paul was St. Luke's hero: he tells us a great deal about him in the first twelve chapters; but from c. xiii. the story has to do almost entirely with the acts of Paul"; and from c. xxii. 17 to the end St. Luke leaves everyone else to follow the fortunes of his hero.
HIS NAMES.-St. Luke calls him by both his names, Saul his Hebrew name, and Paul his Roman name; and we can divide his life into two parts from the way he uses them. Up to c. xiii. 12 he calls him " Saul," but from this place onwards he calls him " will therefore divide his life into three parts:C. vii. 58-xii.- The Acts of Saul.
The Acts of Paul, the Apostle. C. xxi.-xxviii. -The Acts of Paul, the Prisoner.
The Life of Saul.
BIRTHPLACE AND EDUCATION.-Paul told the Jews in his speech on the castle stairs at Jerusalem that he was a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers" (xxii. 3). He was very proud of the city of his birth as well as of being a Jew to the chief captain, who had arrested him, he said: "I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city (xxi. 39).
His father must have been a rich man to have been able to send his son to Jerusalem to be taught in the schools of the Rabbis. Gamaliel was a learned Pharisee (ver. 34); and the young man Saul became a very enthusiastic Pharisee also: when he was being tried before the Sanhedrin, Paul cried out: "I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees (xxiii. 6); and he told King Agrippa II. that “after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee " (xxvi. 5).
His father also possessed the rights of being a Roman citizen (infra); so Paul claimed the same right from birth: "I am a Roman born," he says to the chief captain (xxii. 28).
All these things were very helpful to Paul when he became an Apostle of the Lord Jesus: as a Jew he knew Jerusalem, and all the teaching of the Rabbis, and could speak Aramaic, the language of Judæa (xxii. 2); as a man born in a Greek city he knew Greek (xxi. 37), and understood all about Greek life; and as a Roman citizen he had great privileges, which more than once saved him from dangers.
HIS TRADE.-It was no disgrace to a Jewish boy, however rich his father was, to learn a trade; most Jewish fathers had their sons taught some trade, and
Paul's father put his boy to learn to make tents (xviii. 3) ; in after days Paul was very thankful for this, as he preferred to earn his own living whilst he was preaching about Jesus. Tents in those Eastern lands were and are still made from goat's hair. Tarsus was a centre for the trade; the weaving of the hair was done by the women; but the stitching of the cloth by the men. It was a hard work, and would make Paul's hands hard and rough. "These hands,' as St. Paul held them up, rough and black with stitching at the hard canvas, told their tale of stern independence and selfdenial (Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, iii. 699).
HIS ROMAN CITIZENSHIP.-As a Roman, St. Paul could not justly be punished in any way which was considered degrading, such as being beaten with rods, or scourged; he could not be crucified as our Lord was (see xvi. 37; xxii. 24 ff.). He had the right to appeal to the Emperor in any legal case (xxv. 11); and the right to be sent to Rome for trial (xxv. 25).
The Acts of Saul (c. vii.-xii.).
i. At Stephen's martyrdom, he took care of the clothes of the men who stoned Stephen, and consented to their action (vii. 59, viii. 1).
ii. He went round Jerusalem dragging both men and women to prison; thus he laid waste the church" (viii. 3). iii. He asked the high priest for letters to the Jews at Damascus so that he might arrest the followers of Jesus, and bring them bound to Jerusalem (ix. 2).
HIS CONVERSION AND BAPTISM.-There are three accounts of this in the Acts, (ix. 1-19; xxii. 1-16; xxvi. 2-19). St. Luke must have thought it of very great importance to the Gospel he carefully tells us that God had other work for Saul besides persecuting the believers; he was a chosen vessel," one whom God had picked out for a certain work (see p. xlii).
SAUL AT DAMASCUS.-After he had been baptized Saul began to preach to the Jews that Jesus was their Messiah; they tried to kill him but he escaped over the city wall in a basket (ix. 19–25).
SAUL'S RETURN TO JERUSALEM. Damascus he returned to Jerusalem, and tried to join the believers; but they thought he still wanted to do them harm, and would not receive him till Barnabas took him to the Apostles and told them the story of his conversion. Then Saul tried to convert some of the Grecian Jews (ix. 29); but they also tried to kill him as they had done Stephen; so the Disciples sent Saul away to his own home in Tarsus (ix. 26-30). AT ANTIOCH.-He must have been in Tarsus between eight and ten years when Barnabas, who had
been sent to Antioch to take charge of the work there, went to Tarsus to seek him out, and took him back with him to help to teach the church at Antioch (xi. 25-26).
SECOND VISIT TO JERUSALEM.-About a year later, the Christians of Antioch wanted to send money to the poor Christians in Jerusalem, who were suffering from a famine at the time; and they chose Barnabas and Saul to take it. They went up and did the work, and on their return they brought back with them John Mark (xi. 27-30; xii. 25). This closes the first part of the Acts, and the first part of Saul's life as a follower of Jesus; he soon becomes Paul, the Missionary.
The Acts of Paul, the Apostle (cxiii.-xxi. 15).
I. FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY (xiii–xiv). (Cyprus, Pamphylia, and Southern Galatia.)
(a) The Church at Antioch (in Syria); sending forth of Barnabas and Saul (xiii. 1-3).
(b) Cyprus xiii. 4-12.
Salamis, with John Mark as attendant, through the island to Paphos.
ii. Paphos: First statement of the Gospel to a Roman Official (Sergius Paulus).
Paul and the Jewish Sorcerer, Bar-Jesus.
(c) Through Perga to Pisidian Antioch: xiii. 13-14 a. John Mark leaves them at Perga.
(d) Phrygian Galatica: xiii. 14 b—xiv. 7.
i. Pisidian Antioch: The Apostles and the Jews of the Dispersion; Paul's sermon: Turning to the Gentiles; Jewish persecution.
ii. Iconium. Further Jewish persecution.
(e) Lycaonia Galatica: xiv. 8-20.
i. Lystra: Healing of the lame man: Barnabas and Paul worshipped as gods.
Further Jewish persecution; Paul stoned.
ii. Derbe; Many converts.
(f) Return Journey: xiv. 21-28.
i. Organization of the new communities; Appointment of elders.
ii. The Evangelization of Pisidia and Pamphylia.
iii. The Report on the Work to the church at Syrian Antioch.
II. PAUL AT THE COUNCIL.
Between the first and second journey Paul had to go to Jerusalem with Barnabas again, about the question of circumcising the converts from heathenism. See 'The Council at Jerusalem,” c. xv.
III. QUARREL WITH BARNABAS.
When they returned to Antioch Paul thought it was time to go to visit the churches they had founded. Barnabas agreed, but he wanted to take Mark. This
caused a quarrel between them, as we have said (p. xxiv); so they separated, Paul choosing Silas as his companion instead of Barnabas xv. 36-40.
IV. SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY (xv. 36xviii. 22).
Out overland to Troas, through the provinces of Syria and Cilicia, Galatia (confirming the churches); across the province of Asia (where no work is done); from Troas by sea to Macedonia; by sea on to Achaia. Home by sea, calling at Ephesus, to Cæsarea; by road to Jerusalem, then down to Antioch.
(a) The Visitation of the Churches of Syria and Cilicia; and Galatia: xv. 40-xvi. 7. The choice of Silas and Timothy. (b) The Entrance into Europe; Philippi xvi. 8-40.
from Troas to
i. Troas The vision of the man of Macedonia. ii. By sea via Samothrace, and Neapolis.
(c) Philippi: the Conversion of Lydia; Imprisonment of Paul and Silas on account of the "Python"; Conversion of the jailor; The value of Roman citizenship : xvi. 12-40.
(d) Thessalonica: Jewish Opposition; Riot at the house of Jason; Trial of Jason: xvii. 1-9.
Further trouble from the Jews; Paul Athens: xvii. 10-14.
sent by sea to (f) Athens Speech in the midst of the Areopagus ; Conversion of Dionysius and Damaris: xvii. 15-34. (g) Corinth Aquila and Priscilla; Separation from the Synagogue; Conversion of Justus and Crispus; Paul's vision; The Jews indict Paul before Gallio: xviii. 1-7.
(h) Return to Syria by sea: Aquila and Priscilla left at Ephesus; Landing at Cæsarea; Visit to Jerusalem; Return to Antioch: xviii. 18-22.
MISSIONARY JOURNEY (xviii. 23
Out, overland as on the second journey through the Cilician and Galatian Churches; but from Phrygia Galatica St. Paul takes the direct road to Ephesus "through the upper country"; thence by sea to Troas. Across to Macedonia to visit the Churches and thence to Achaia.
Home by sea to Philippi, across to Troas, then by sea to Cæsarea, and so to Jerusalem.
i. The Visitation of the Churches of Galatia (xviii. 23).
The Work of Apollos at Ephesus. This is inserted to connect the work at Ephesus with St. Paul's first visit (xviii. 24-28).