the name of one of the gates of the temple (Acts 3:2). It is
supposed to have been the door which led from the court of the
Gentiles to the court of the women. It was of massive structure,
and covered with plates of Corinthian brass.
Desire of all nations
(Hag. 2:7), usually interpreted as a title of the Messiah. The
Revised Version, however, more correctly renders "the desirable
things of all nations;" i.e., the choicest treasures of the
Gentiles shall be consecrated to the Lord.
of the Gentiles (Isa. 60:5, 11; R.V., "the wealth of the
nations") denotes the wealth of the heathen. The whole passage
means that the wealth of the Gentile world should be consecrated
to the service of the church.
Harosheth of the Gentiles
(Judg. 4:2) or nations, a city near Hazor in Galilee of the
Gentiles, or Upper Galilee, in the north of Israel. It was
here that Jabin's great army was marshalled before it went forth
into the great battlefield of Esdraelon to encounter the army of
Israel, by which it was routed and put to flight (Judg. 4). It
was situated "at the entrance of the pass to Esdraelon from the
plain of Acre" at the base of Carmel. The name in the Hebrew is
_Harosheth ha Gojim_, i.e., "the smithy of the nations;"
probably, as is supposed, so called because here Jabin's iron
war-chariots, armed with scythes, were made. It is identified
(Heb., usually in plural, goyim), meaning in general all nations
except the Jews. In course of time, as the Jews began more and
more to pride themselves on their peculiar privileges, it
acquired unpleasant associations, and was used as a term of
In the New Testament the Greek word Hellenes, meaning
literally Greek (as in Acts 16:1, 3; 18:17; Rom. 1:14),
generally denotes any non-Jewish nation.
(Heb. 'i, "dry land," as opposed to water) occurs in its usual
signification (Isa. 42:4, 10, 12, 15, comp. Jer. 47:4), but more
frequently simply denotes a maritime region or sea-coast (Isa.
20:6, R.V.," coastland;" 23:2, 6; Jer. 2:10; Ezek. 27:6, 7).
(See CHITTIM ¯T0000811.) The shores of the Mediterranean are
called the "islands of the sea" (Isa. 11:11), or the "isles of
the Gentiles" (Gen. 10:5), and sometimes simply "isles" (Ps.
72:10); Ezek. 26:15, 18; 27:3, 35; Dan. 11:18).
the calling of the Gentiles into the Christian Church, so
designated (Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:8-11; Col. 1:25-27); a truth
undiscoverable except by revelation, long hid, now made
manifest. The resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:51), and other
doctrines which need to be explained but which cannot be fully
understood by finite intelligence (Matt. 13:11; Rom. 11:25; 1
Cor. 13:2); the union between Christ and his people symbolized
by the marriage union (Eph. 5:31, 32; comp. 6:19); the seven
stars and the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:20); and the woman
clothed in scarlet (17:7), are also in this sense mysteries. The
anti-Christian power working in his day is called by the apostle
(2 Thess. 2:7) the "mystery of iniquity."
one of the seven deacons, who became a preacher of the gospel.
He was the first Christian martyr. His personal character and
history are recorded in Acts 6. "He fell asleep" with a prayer
for his persecutors on his lips (7:60). Devout men carried him
to his grave (8:2).
It was at the feet of the young Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, that
those who stoned him laid their clothes (comp. Deut. 17:5-7)
before they began their cruel work. The scene which Saul then
witnessed and the words he heard appear to have made a deep and
lasting impression on his mind (Acts 22:19, 20).
The speech of Stephen before the Jewish ruler is the first
apology for the universalism of the gospel as a message to the
Gentiles as well as the Jews. It is the longest speech contained
in the Acts, a place of prominence being given to it as a
son of consolation, the surname of Joses, a Levite (Acts 4:36).
His name stands first on the list of prophets and teachers of
the church at Antioch (13:1). Luke speaks of him as a "good man"
(11:24). He was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He
was a native of Cyprus, where he had a possession of land (Acts
4:36, 37), which he sold. His personal appearance is supposed to
have been dignified and commanding (Acts 14:11, 12). When Paul
returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him
and introduced him to the apostles (9:27). They had probably
been companions as students in the school of Gamaliel.
The prosperity of the church at Antioch led the apostles and
brethren at Jerusalem to send Barnabas thither to superintend
the movement. He found the work so extensive and weighty that he
went to Tarsus in search of Saul to assist him. Saul returned
with him to Antioch and laboured with him for a whole year (Acts
11:25, 26). The two were at the end of this period sent up to
Jerusalem with the contributions the church at Antioch had made
for the poorer brethren there (11:28-30). Shortly after they
returned, bringing John Mark with them, they were appointed as
missionaries to the heathen world, and in this capacity visited
Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Asia Minor (Acts
13:14). Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch,
they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church
there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Acts
15:2: Gal. 2:1). This matter having been settled, they returned
again to Antioch, bringing the decree of the council as the rule
by which Gentiles were to be admitted into the church.
When about to set forth on a second missionary journey, a
dispute arose between Saul and Barnabas as to the propriety of
taking John Mark with them again. The dispute ended by Saul and
Barnabas taking separate routes. Saul took Silas as his
companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while
Barnabas took his nephew John Mark, and visited Cyprus (Acts
15:36-41). Barnabas is not again mentioned by Luke in the Acts.
(1.) To cry for help, hence to pray (Gen. 4:26). Thus men are
said to "call upon the name of the Lord" (Acts 2:21; 7:59; 9:14;
Rom. 10:12; 1 Cor. 1:2).
(2.) God calls with respect to men when he designates them to
some special office (Ex. 31:2; Isa. 22:20; Acts 13:2), and when
he invites them to accept his offered grace (Matt. 9:13; 11:28;
In the message of the gospel his call is addressed to all men,
to Jews and Gentiles alike (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Rom. 9:24,
25). But this universal call is not inseparably connected with
salvation, although it leaves all to whom it comes inexcusable
if they reject it (John 3:14-19; Matt. 22:14).
An effectual call is something more than the outward message
of the Word of God to men. It is internal, and is the result of
the enlightening and sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit
(John 16:14; Acts 26: 18; John 6:44), effectually drawing men to
Christ, and disposing and enabling them to receive the truth
(John 6:45; Acts 16:14; Eph. 1:17).
honourable, was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and
accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem (Gal. 2:1-3; Acts
15:2), although his name nowhere occurs in the Acts of the
Apostles. He appears to have been a Gentile, and to have been
chiefly engaged in ministering to Gentiles; for Paul sternly
refused to have him circumcised, inasmuch as in his case the
cause of gospel liberty was at stake. We find him, at a later
period, with Paul and Timothy at Ephesus, whence he was sent by
Paul to Corinth for the purpose of getting the contributions of
the church there in behalf of the poor saints at Jerusalem sent
forward (2 Cor. 8:6; 12:18). He rejoined the apostle when he was
in Macedonia, and cheered him with the tidings he brought from
Corinth (7:6-15). After this his name is not mentioned till
after Paul's first imprisonment, when we find him engaged in the
organization of the church in Crete, where the apostle had left
him for this purpose (Titus 1:5). The last notice of him is in 2
Tim. 4:10, where we find him with Paul at Rome during his second
imprisonment. From Rome he was sent into Dalmatia, no doubt on
some important missionary errand. We have no record of his
death. He is not mentioned in the Acts.
Romans, Epistle to the
This epistle was probably written at Corinth. Phoebe (Rom. 16:1)
of Cenchrea conveyed it to Rome, and Gaius of Corinth
entertained the apostle at the time of his writing it (16:23; 1
Cor. 1:14), and Erastus was chamberlain of the city, i.e., of
Corinth (2 Tim. 4:20).
The precise time at which it was written is not mentioned in
the epistle, but it was obviously written when the apostle was
about to "go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints", i.e.,
at the close of his second visit to Greece, during the winter
preceding his last visit to that city (Rom. 15:25; comp. Acts
19:21; 20:2, 3, 16; 1 Cor. 16:1-4), early in A.D. 58.
It is highly probable that Christianity was planted in Rome by
some of those who had been at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost
(Acts 2:10). At this time the Jews were very numerous in Rome,
and their synagogues were probably resorted to by Romans also,
who in this way became acquainted with the great facts regarding
Jesus as these were reported among the Jews. Thus a church
composed of both Jews and Gentiles was formed at Rome. Many of
the brethren went out to meet Paul on his approach to Rome.
There are evidences that Christians were then in Rome in
considerable numbers, and had probably more than one place of
meeting (Rom. 16:14, 15).
The object of the apostle in writing to this church was to
explain to them the great doctrines of the gospel. His epistle
was a "word in season." Himself deeply impressed with a sense of
the value of the doctrines of salvation, he opens up in a clear
and connected form the whole system of the gospel in its
relation both to Jew and Gentile. This epistle is peculiar in
this, that it is a systematic exposition of the gospel of
universal application. The subject is here treated
argumentatively, and is a plea for Gentiles addressed to Jews.
In the Epistle to the Galatians, the same subject is discussed,
but there the apostle pleads his own authority, because the
church in Galatia had been founded by him.
After the introduction (1:1-15), the apostle presents in it
divers aspects and relations the doctrine of justification by
faith (1:16-11:36) on the ground of the imputed righteousness of
Christ. He shows that salvation is all of grace, and only of
grace. This main section of his letter is followed by various
practical exhortations (12:1-15:13), which are followed by a
conclusion containing personal explanations and salutations,
which contain the names of twenty-four Christians at Rome, a
benediction, and a doxology (Rom. 15:14-ch. 16).
The temple erected by the exiles on their return from Babylon
had stood for about five hundred years, when Herod the Great
became king of Judea. The building had suffered considerably
from natural decay as well as from the assaults of hostile
armies, and Herod, desirous of gaining the favour of the Jews,
proposed to rebuild it. This offer was accepted, and the work
was begun (B.C. 18), and carried out at great labour and
expense, and on a scale of surpassing splendour. The main part
of the building was completed in ten years, but the erection of
the outer courts and the embellishment of the whole were carried
on during the entire period of our Lord's life on earth (John
2:16, 19-21), and the temple was completed only A.D. 65. But it
was not long permitted to exist. Within forty years after our
Lord's crucifixion, his prediction of its overthrow was
accomplished (Luke 19: 41-44). The Roman legions took the city
of Jerusalem by storm, and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts
Titus made to preserve the temple, his soldiers set fire to it
in several places, and it was utterly destroyed (A.D. 70), and
was never rebuilt.
Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent
explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one
intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer
court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use
of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by
a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with
thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at
regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an
inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of
death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the
Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle
of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871,
built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek
capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and
enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be
responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue."
There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one
of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated
the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks.
It is of importance to notice that the word rendered
"sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of
the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word
rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28, 29. When Paul
speaks of the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), he probably
makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall
stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the
women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher
than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the
priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8
feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the
The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now
occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure."
This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a
breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35
acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform,
16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone
slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet
es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar.
This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre
of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part
of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above
the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over
this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the
threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on
this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been
yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple
covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition
enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The
temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern
portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than
900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a
square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."
(1.) In Syria, on the river Orontes, about 16 miles from the
Mediterranean, and some 300 miles north of Jerusalem. It was the
metropolis of Syria, and afterwards became the capital of the
Roman province in Asia. It ranked third, after Rome and
Alexandria, in point of importance, of the cities of the Roman
empire. It was called the "first city of the East." Christianity
was early introduced into it (Acts 11:19, 21, 24), and the name
"Christian" was first applied here to its professors (Acts
11:26). It is intimately connected with the early history of the
gospel (Acts 6:5; 11:19, 27, 28, 30; 12:25; 15:22-35; Gal. 2:11,
12). It was the great central point whence missionaries to the
Gentiles were sent forth. It was the birth-place of the famous
Christian father Chrysostom, who died A.D. 407. It bears the
modern name of Antakia, and is now a miserable, decaying Turkish
town. Like Philippi, it was raised to the rank of a Roman
colony. Such colonies were ruled by "praetors" (R.V. marg., Acts
(2.) In the extreme north of Pisidia; was visited by Paul and
Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:14). Here they
found a synagogue and many proselytes. They met with great
success in preaching the gospel, but the Jews stirred up a
violent opposition against them, and they were obliged to leave
the place. On his return, Paul again visited Antioch for the
purpose of confirming the disciples (Acts 14:21). It has been
identified with the modern Yalobatch, lying to the east of
(Palestinae), a city on the shore of the Mediterranean, on the
great road from Tyre to Egypt, about 70 miles northwest of
Jerusalem, at the northern extremity of the plain of Sharon. It
was built by Herod the Great (B.C. 10), who named it after
Caesar Augustus, hence called Caesarea Sebaste (Gr. Sebastos =
"Augustus"), on the site of an old town called "Strato's Tower."
It was the capital of the Roman province of Judaea, the seat of
the governors or procurators, and the headquarters of the Roman
troops. It was the great Gentile city of Israel, with a
spacious artificial harbour. It was adorned with many buildings
of great splendour, after the manner of the Roman cities of the
West. Here Cornelius the centurion was converted through the
instrumentality of Peter (Acts 10:1, 24), and thus for the first
time the door of faith was opened to the Gentiles. Philip the
evangelist resided here with his four daughters (21:8). From
this place Saul sailed for his native Tarsus when forced to flee
from Jerusalem (9:30), and here he landed when returning from
his second missionary journey (18:22). He remained as a prisoner
here for two years before his voyage to Rome (Acts 24:27; 25:1,
4, 6, 13). Here on a "set day," when games were celebrated in
the theatre in honour of the emperor Claudius, Herod Agrippa I.
appeared among the people in great pomp, and in the midst of the
idolatrous homage paid to him was suddenly smitten by an angel,
and carried out a dying man. He was "eaten of worms" (12:19-23),
thus perishing by the same loathsome disease as his granfather,
Herod the Great. It still retains its ancient name Kaiseriyeh,
but is now desolate. "The present inhabitants of the ruins are
snakes, scorpions, lizards, wild boars, and jackals." It is
described as the most desolate city of all Israel.
Entertainments, "feasts," were sometimes connected with a public
festival (Deut. 16:11, 14), and accompanied by offerings (1 Sam.
9:13), in token of alliances (Gen. 26:30); sometimes in
connection with domestic or social events, as at the weaning of
children (Gen. 21:8), at weddings (Gen. 29:22; John 2:1), on
birth-days (Matt. 14:6), at the time of sheep-shearing (2 Sam.
13:23), and of vintage (Judg. 9:27), and at funerals (2 Sam.
3:35; Jer. 16:7).
The guests were invited by servants (Prov. 9:3; Matt. 22:3),
who assigned them their respective places (1 Sam. 9:22; Luke
14:8; Mark 12:39). Like portions were sent by the master to each
guest (1 Sam. 1:4; 2 Sam. 6:19), except when special honour was
intended, when the portion was increased (Gen. 43:34).
The Israelites were forbidden to attend heathenish sacrificial
entertainments (Ex. 34:15), because these were in honour of
false gods, and because at such feast they would be liable to
partake of unclean flesh (1 Cor. 10:28).
In the entertainments common in apostolic times among the
Gentiles were frequent "revellings," against which Christians
were warned (Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1 Pet. 4:3). (See BANQUET
the Greek form of the Hebrew "Jezreel," the name of the great
plain (called by the natives Merj Ibn Amer; i.e., "the meadow of
the son of Amer") which stretches across Central Israel from
the Jordan to the Mediterraanean, separating the mountain ranges
of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee, extending about 14
miles from north to south, and 9 miles from east to west. It is
drained by "that ancient river" the Kishon, which flows westward
to the Mediterranean. From the foot of Mount Tabor it branches
out into three valleys, that on the north passing between Tabor
and Little Hermon (Judg. 4:14); that on the south between Mount
Gilboa and En-gannim (2 Kings 9:27); while the central portion,
the "valley of Jezreel" proper, runs into the Jordan valley
(which is about 1,000 feet lower than Esdraelon) by Bethshean.
Here Gideon gained his great victory over the Midianites (Judg.
7:1-25). Here also Barak defeated Sisera, and Saul's army was
defeated by the Philistines, and king Josiah, while fighting in
disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, was slain (2 Chr.
35:20-27; 2 Kings 23-29). This plain has been well called the
"battle-field of Israel." "It has been a chosen place for
encampment in every contest carried on in this country, from the
days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, in the history of
whose wars with Arphaxad it is mentioned as the Great Plain of
Esdraelon, until the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from
Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Crusaders,
Frenchmen, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs,
warriors out of every nation which is under heaven, have pitched
their tents in the plain, and have beheld the various banners of
their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon" (Dr.
(1.) Heb. zonah (Gen. 34:31; 38:15). In verses 21, 22 the Hebrew
word used in _kedeshah_, i.e., a woman consecrated or devoted to
prostitution in connection with the abominable worship of
Asherah or Astarte, the Syrian Venus. This word is also used in
Deut. 23:17; Hos. 4:14. Thus Tamar sat by the wayside as a
It has been attempted to show that Rahab, usually called a
"harlot" (Josh. 2:1; 6:17; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25), was only an
innkeeper. This interpretation, however, cannot be maintained.
Jephthah's mother is called a "strange woman" (Judg. 11:2).
This, however, merely denotes that she was of foreign
In the time of Solomon harlots appeared openly in the streets,
and he solemnly warns against association with them (Prov. 7:12;
9:14. See also Jer. 3:2; Ezek. 16:24, 25, 31). The Revised
Version, following the LXX., has "and the harlots washed," etc.,
instead of the rendering of the Authorized Version, "now they
washed," of 1 Kings 22:38.
To commit fornication is metaphorically used for to practice
idolatry (Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:15; Hos. throughout); hence
Jerusalem is spoken of as a harlot (Isa. 1:21).
(2.) Heb. nokriyah, the "strange woman" (1 Kings 11:1; Prov.
5:20; 7:5; 23:27). Those so designated were Canaanites and other
Gentiles (Josh. 23:13). To the same class belonged the
"foolish", i.e., the sinful, "woman."
In the New Testament the Greek pornai, plural, "harlots,"
occurs in Matt. 21:31,32, where they are classed with publicans;
Luke 15:30; 1 Cor. 6:15,16; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25. It is used
symbolically in Rev. 17:1, 5, 15, 16; 19:2.
(1.) The son of Zebedee and Salome; an elder brother of John the
apostle. He was one of the twelve. He was by trade a fisherman,
in partnership with Peter (Matt. 20:20; 27:56). With John and
Peter he was present at the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1; Mark
9:2), at the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37-43), and in
the garden with our Lord (14:33). Because, probably, of their
boldness and energy, he and John were called Boanerges, i.e.,
"sons of thunder." He was the first martyr among the apostles,
having been beheaded by King Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:1, 2), A.D.
44. (Comp. Matt. 4:21; 20:20-23).
(2.) The son of Alphaeus, or Cleopas, "the brother" or near
kinsman or cousin of our Lord (Gal. 1:18, 19), called James "the
Less," or "the Little," probably because he was of low stature.
He is mentioned along with the other apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mark
3:18; Luke 6:15). He had a separate interview with our Lord
after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7), and is mentioned as one of
the apostles of the circumcision (Acts 1:13). He appears to have
occupied the position of head of the Church at Jerusalem, where
he presided at the council held to consider the case of the
Gentiles (Acts 12:17; 15:13-29: 21:18-24). This James was the
author of the epistle which bears his name.
the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one
belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of
Judah (2 Kings 16:6; 25:25; Jer. 32:12; 38:19; 40:11; 41:3), in
contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten
tribes, who were called Israelites.
During the Captivity, and after the Restoration, the name,
however, was extended to all the Hebrew nation without
distinction (Esther 3:6, 10; Dan. 3:8, 12; Ezra 4:12; 5:1, 5).
Originally this people were called Hebrews (Gen. 39:14; 40:15;
Ex. 2:7; 3:18; 5:3; 1 Sam. 4:6, 9, etc.), but after the Exile
this name fell into disuse. But Paul was styled a Hebrew (2 Cor.
11:22; Phil. 3:5).
The history of the Jewish nation is interwoven with the
history of Israel and with the narratives of the lives of
their rulers and chief men. They are now  dispersed over
all lands, and to this day remain a separate people, "without a
king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without
an image [R.V. 'pillar,' marg. 'obelisk'], and without an ephod,
and without teraphim" (Hos. 3:4). Till about the beginning of
the present century  they were everywhere greatly
oppressed, and often cruelly persecuted; but now their condition
is greatly improved, and they are admitted in most European
countries to all the rights of free citizens. In 1860 the
"Jewish disabilities" were removed, and they were admitted to a
seat in the British Parliament. Their number in all is estimated
at about six millions, about four millions being in Europe.
There are three names used in the New Testament to designate
this people, (1.) Jews, as regards their nationality, to
distinguish them from Gentiles. (2.) Hebrews, with regard to
their language and education, to distinguish them from
Hellenists, i.e., Jews who spoke the Greek language. (3.)
Israelites, as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen
people of God. "To other races we owe the splendid inheritance
of modern civilization and secular culture; but the religious
education of mankind has been the gift of the Jew alone."
Naphtali, Tribe of
On this tribe Jacob pronounced the patriarchal blessing,
"Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words" (Gen.
49:21). It was intended thus to set forth under poetic imagery
the future character and history of the tribe.
At the time of the Exodus this tribe numbered 53,400 adult
males (Num. 1:43), but at the close of the wanderings they
numbered only 45,400 (26:48-50). Along with Dan and Asher they
formed "the camp of Dan," under a common standard (2:25-31),
occupying a place during the march on the north side of the
The possession assigned to this tribe is set forth in Josh.
19:32-39. It lay in the north-eastern corner of the land,
bounded on the east by the Jordan and the lakes of Merom and
Galilee, and on the north it extended far into Coele-Syria, the
valley between the two Lebanon ranges. It comprehended a greater
variety of rich and beautiful scenery and of soil and climate
than fell to the lot of any other tribe. The territory of
Naphtali extended to about 800 square miles, being the double of
that of Issachar. The region around Kedesh, one of its towns,
was originally called Galil, a name afterwards given to the
whole northern division of Canaan. A large number of foreigners
settled here among the mountains, and hence it was called
"Galilee of the Gentiles" (q.v.), Matt. 4:15, 16. The southern
portion of Naphtali has been called the "Garden of Israel."
It was of unrivalled fertility. It was the principal scene of
our Lord's public ministry. Here most of his parables were
spoken and his miracles wrought.
This tribe was the first to suffer from the invasion of
Benhadad, king of Syria, in the reigns of Baasha, king of
Israel, and Asa, king of Judah (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chr. 16:4). In
the reign of Pekah, king of Israel, the Assyrians under
Tiglath-pileser swept over the whole north of Israel, and
carried the people into captivity (2 Kings 15:29). Thus the
kingdom of Israel came to an end (B.C. 722).
Naphtali is now almost wholly a desert, the towns of Tiberias,
on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and Safed being the only
places in it of any importance.
is frequently mentioned in Scripture. The dove from the ark
brought an olive-branch to Noah (Gen. 8:11). It is mentioned
among the most notable trees of Israel, where it was
cultivated long before the time of the Hebrews (Deut. 6:11;
8:8). It is mentioned in the first Old Testament parable, that
of Jotham (Judg. 9:9), and is named among the blessings of the
"good land," and is at the present day the one characteristic
tree of Israel. The oldest olive-trees in the country are
those which are enclosed in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is
referred to as an emblem of prosperity and beauty and religious
privilege (Ps. 52:8; Jer. 11:16; Hos. 14:6). The two "witnesses"
mentioned in Rev. 11:4 are spoken of as "two olive trees
standing before the God of the earth." (Comp. Zech. 4:3, 11-14.)
The "olive-tree, wild by nature" (Rom. 11:24), is the shoot or
cutting of the good olive-tree which, left ungrafted, grows up
to be a "wild olive." In Rom. 11:17 Paul refers to the practice
of grafting shoots of the wild olive into a "good" olive which
has become unfruitful. By such a process the sap of the good
olive, by pervading the branch which is "graffed in," makes it a
good branch, bearing good olives. Thus the Gentiles, being a
"wild olive," but now "graffed in," yield fruit, but only
through the sap of the tree into which they have been graffed.
This is a process "contrary to nature" (11:24).
circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered
him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of
Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it
"the land of Cabul" (q.v.). The Jews called it Galil. It
continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and
hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15),
and also "Upper Galilee," to distinguish it from the extensive
addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was
usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee
embraced more than one-third of Western Israel, extending
"from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the
ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan
valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel
and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west."
Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and
Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the
country (Acts 9:31), and was the largest of the three.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of
Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at
least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are
chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this
province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy
associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two
beautiful parables, no less than ninteen were spoken in Galilee.
And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three
great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His
first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and
his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea.
In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the
discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on
'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first
disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the
Transfiguration" (Porter's Through Samaria).
When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for
the condemnation of our Lord (John 7:45-52), Nicodemus
interposed in his behalf. (Comp. Deut. 1:16,17; 17:8.) They
replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth
no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true,
for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of
Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of
Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for
Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy" (Alford,
The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being
broader and more guttural (Mark 14:70).
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; comp. 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, comp. 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.
a person sent by another; a messenger; envoy. This word is once
used as a descriptive designation of Jesus Christ, the Sent of
the Father (Heb. 3:1; John 20:21). It is, however, generally
used as designating the body of disciples to whom he intrusted
the organization of his church and the dissemination of his
gospel, "the twelve," as they are called (Matt. 10:1-5; Mark
3:14; 6:7; Luke 6:13; 9:1). We have four lists of the apostles,
one by each of the synoptic evangelists (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark
3:16; Luke 6:14), and one in the Acts (1:13). No two of these
lists, however, perfectly coincide.
Our Lord gave them the "keys of the kingdom," and by the gift
of his Spirit fitted them to be the founders and governors of
his church (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-15). To them, as
representing his church, he gave the commission to "preach the
gospel to every creature" (Matt. 28:18-20). After his ascension
he communicated to them, according to his promise, supernatural
gifts to qualify them for the discharge of their duties (Acts
2:4; 1 Cor. 2:16; 2:7, 10, 13; 2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Cor. 11:2). Judas
Iscariot, one of "the twelve," fell by transgression, and
Matthias was substituted in his place (Acts 1:21). Saul of
Tarsus was afterwards added to their number (Acts 9:3-20; 20:4;
26:15-18; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).
Luke has given some account of Peter, John, and the two
Jameses (Acts 12:2, 17; 15:13; 21:18), but beyond this we know
nothing from authentic history of the rest of the original
twelve. After the martyrdom of James the Greater (Acts 12:2),
James the Less usually resided at Jerusalem, while Paul, "the
apostle of the uncircumcision," usually travelled as a
missionary among the Gentiles (Gal. 2:8). It was characteristic
of the apostles and necessary (1) that they should have seen the
Lord, and been able to testify of him and of his resurrection
from personal knowledge (John 15:27; Acts 1:21, 22; 1 Cor. 9:1;
Acts 22:14, 15). (2.) They must have been immediately called to
that office by Christ (Luke 6:13; Gal. 1:1). (3.) It was
essential that they should be infallibly inspired, and thus
secured against all error and mistake in their public teaching,
whether by word or by writing (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Thess.
(4.) Another qualification was the power of working miracles
(Mark 16:20; Acts 2:43; 1 Cor. 12:8-11). The apostles therefore
could have had no successors. They are the only authoritative
teachers of the Christian doctrines. The office of an apostle
ceased with its first holders.
In 2 Cor. 8:23 and Phil. 2:25 the word "messenger" is the
rendering of the same Greek word, elsewhere rendered "apostle."
Bible, the English form of the Greek name _Biblia_, meaning
"books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given
to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine
Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came
gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists
of sixty-six different books, composed by many different
writers, in three different languages, under different
circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen
and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests,
tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and
Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at
various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet,
after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in
its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's
It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine
books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The
names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the
scriptures" (Matt. 21:42), "scripture" (2 Pet. 1:20), "the holy
scriptures" (Rom. 1:2), "the law" (John 12:34), "the law of
Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44), "the law and
the prophets" (Matt. 5:17), "the old covenant" (2 Cor. 3:14,
R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament
and the New. (See APOCRYPHA ¯T0000263.)
The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law
(Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua,
Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the
latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or
holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were
ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job,
distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial
letters of these books, _emeth_, meaning truth. (2) Canticles,
Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five
rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate
rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to
the revelation God had already given. The period of New
Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the
appearance of John the Baptist.
The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz.,
the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and
(3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is
altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference
to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain
sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later
period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern
system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced
by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he
died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was
introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although
neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the
Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it
is very useful. (See VERSION ¯T0003768.)
cutting around. This rite, practised before, as some think, by
divers races, was appointed by God to be the special badge of
his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him.
It was established as a national ordinance (Gen. 17:10, 11). In
compliance with the divine command, Abraham, though ninety-nine
years of age, was circumcised on the same day with Ishmael, who
was thirteen years old (17:24-27). Slaves, whether home-born or
purchased, were circumcised (17:12, 13); and all foreigners must
have their males circumcised before they could enjoy the
privileges of Jewish citizenship (Ex. 12:48). During the journey
through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into
disuse, but was resumed by the command of Joshua before they
entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:2-9). It was observed always
afterwards among the tribes of israel, although it is not
expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan
till the time of Christ, about 1,450 years. The Jews prided
themselves in the possession of this covenant distinction (Judg.
14:3; 15:18; 1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26; 2 Sam. 1:20; Ezek. 31:18).
As a rite of the church it ceased when the New Testament times
began (Gal. 6:15; Col. 3:11). Some Jewish Christians sought to
impose it, however, on the Gentile converts; but this the
apostles resolutely resisted (Acts 15:1; Gal. 6:12). Our Lord
was circumcised, for it "became him to fulfil all
righteousness," as of the seed of Abraham, according to the
flesh; and Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:3), to
avoid giving offence to the Jews. It would render Timothy's
labours more acceptable to the Jews. But Paul would by no means
consent to the demand that Titus should be circumcised (Gal.
2:3-5). The great point for which he contended was the free
admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church. He
contended successfully in behalf of Titus, even in Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament a spiritual idea is attached to
circumcision. It was the symbol of purity (Isa. 52:1). We read
of uncircumcised lips (Ex. 6:12, 30), ears (Jer. 6:10), hearts
(Lev. 26:41). The fruit of a tree that is unclean is spoken of
as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23).
It was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace as well as of
the national covenant between God and the Hebrews. (1.) It
sealed the promises made to Abraham, which related to the
commonwealth of Israel, national promises. (2.) But the promises
made to Abraham included the promise of redemption (Gal. 3:14),
a promise which has come upon us. The covenant with Abraham was
a dispensation or a specific form of the covenant of grace, and
circumcision was a sign and seal of that covenant. It had a
spiritual meaning. It signified purification of the heart,
inward circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6;
Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11). Circumcision as a
symbol shadowing forth sanctification by the Holy Spirit has now
given way to the symbol of baptism (q.v.). But the truth
embodied in both ordinances is ever the same, the removal of
sin, the sanctifying effects of grace in the heart.
Under the Jewish dispensation, church and state were
identical. No one could be a member of the one without also
being a member of the other. Circumcision was a sign and seal of
membership in both. Every circumcised person bore thereby
evidence that he was one of the chosen people, a member of the
church of God as it then existed, and consequently also a member
of the Jewish commonwealth.
separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew
_netser_, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the
name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill
behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Israel
is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew
_notserah_, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the
hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.
This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the
home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39), and here the angel
announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26-28). Here
Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he
began his public ministry in the synagogue (Matt. 13:54), at
which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him
down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Luke
4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16-29;
Matt. 13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he
did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt.
13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.
Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on
the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of
Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with
the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand
inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the
hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between
Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot
of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.
It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that
the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either
because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less
cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles
who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral
and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient
reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according
to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at
Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as
his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they
were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is
probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to
be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any
respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in
the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of
The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of
Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.
"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church,
which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the
hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the
northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the
middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the
traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no
authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now
en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer,
'a branch' (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Matt. 2:23),
Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."
Acts of the Apostles
the title now given to the fifth and last of the historical
books of the New Testament. The author styles it a "treatise"
(1:1). It was early called "The Acts," "The Gospel of the Holy
Ghost," and "The Gospel of the Resurrection." It contains
properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and
Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded
of James, the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is
properly therefore not the history of the "Acts of the
Apostles," a title which was given to the book at a later date,
but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly, of "Some Acts of
As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke,
the "beloved physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is
the uniform tradition of antiquity, although the writer nowhere
makes mention of himself by name. The style and idiom of the
Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the usage of words and
phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The writer
first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears
till Paul's return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and
Paul left that place together (20:6), and the two seem
henceforth to have been constant companions to the end. He was
certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14). Thus he wrote a
great portion of that history from personal observation. For
what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of
Paul. If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul's
second imprisonment at Rome, Luke was with him then as his
faithful companion to the last (2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent
history we have no certain information.
The design of Luke's Gospel was to give an exhibition of the
character and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was
taken up from his disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its
sequel, to give an illustration of the power and working of the
gospel when preached among all nations, "beginning at
Jerusalem." The opening sentences of the Acts are just an
expansion and an explanation of the closing words of the Gospel.
In this book we have just a continuation of the history of the
church after Christ's ascension. Luke here carries on the
history in the same spirit in which he had commenced it. It is
only a book of beginnings, a history of the founding of
churches, the initial steps in the formation of the Christian
society in the different places visited by the apostles. It
records a cycle of "representative events."
All through the narrative we see the ever-present,
all-controlling power of the ever-living Saviour. He worketh all
and in all in spreading abroad his truth among men by his Spirit
and through the instrumentality of his apostles.
The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from
the fact that the narrative extends down to the close of the
second year of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. It could not
therefore have been written earlier than A.D. 61 or 62, nor
later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was probably put to
death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or, as some
The place where the book was written was probably Rome, to
which Luke accompanied Paul.
The key to the contents of the book is in 1:8, "Ye shall be
witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." After
referring to what had been recorded in a "former treatise" of
the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before his ascension, the
author proceeds to give an account of the circumstances
connected with that event, and then records the leading facts
with reference to the spread and triumphs of Christianity over
the world during a period of about thirty years. The record
begins with Pentecost (A.D. 33) and ends with Paul's first
imprisonment (A.D. 63 or 64). The whole contents of the book may
be divided into these three parts:
(1.) Chaps. 1-12, describing the first twelve years of the
Christian church. This section has been entitled "From Jerusalem
to Antioch." It contains the history of the planting and
extension of the church among the Jews by the ministry of Peter.
(2.) Chaps. 13-21, Paul's missionary journeys, giving the
history of the extension and planting of the church among the
(3.) Chaps. 21-28, Paul at Rome, and the events which led to
this. Chaps. 13-28 have been entitled "From Antioch to Rome."
In this book it is worthy of note that no mention is made of
the writing by Paul of any of his epistles. This may be
accounted for by the fact that the writer confined himself to a
history of the planting of the church, and not to that of its
training or edification. The relation, however, between this
history and the epistles of Paul is of such a kind, i.e., brings
to light so many undesigned coincidences, as to prove the
genuineness and authenticity of both, as is so ably shown by
Paley in his _Horae Paulinae_. "No ancient work affords so many
tests of veracity; for no other has such numerous points of
contact in all directions with contemporary history, politics,
and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman." Lightfoot.
(See PAUL ¯T0002871.)
=Saul (q.v.) was born about the same time as our Lord. His
circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also
given to him in infancy "for use in the Gentile world," as
"Saul" would be his Hebrew home-name. He was a native of Tarsus,
the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of
Asia Minor. That city stood on the banks of the river Cydnus,
which was navigable thus far; hence it became a centre of
extensive commercial traffic with many countries along the
shores of the Mediterranean, as well as with the countries of
central Asia Minor. It thus became a city distinguished for the
wealth of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was also the seat of a famous university, higher in
reputation even than the universities of Athens and Alexandria,
the only others that then existed. Here Saul was born, and here
he spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his
native city could afford. His father was of the straitest sect
of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and
unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). We learn nothing
regarding his mother; but there is reason to conclude that she
was a pious woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she
exercised all a mother influence in moulding the character of
her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being,
from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the
law, blameless" (Phil. 3:6).
We read of his sister and his sister's son (Acts 23:16), and
of other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11, 12). Though a Jew, his father
was a Roman citizen. How he obtained this privilege we are not
informed. "It might be bought, or won by distinguished service
to the state, or acquired in several other ways; at all events,
his son was freeborn. It was a valuable privilege, and one that
was to prove of great use to Paul, although not in the way in
which his father might have been expected to desire him to make
use of it." Perhaps the most natural career for the youth to
follow was that of a merchant. "But it was decided that...he
should go to college and become a rabbi, that is, a minister, a
teacher, and a lawyer all in one."
According to Jewish custom, however, he learned a trade before
entering on the more direct preparation for the sacred
profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents from
goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in
His preliminary education having been completed, Saul was
sent, when about thirteen years of age probably, to the great
Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem as a student of
the law. Here he became a pupil of the celebrated rabbi
Gamaliel, and here he spent many years in an elaborate study of
the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with
which the rabbis exercised themselves. During these years of
diligent study he lived "in all good conscience," unstained by
the vices of that great city.
After the period of his student-life expired, he probably left
Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have been engaged in
connection with some synagogue for some years. But we find him
back again at Jerusalem very soon after the death of our Lord.
Here he now learned the particulars regarding the crucifixion,
and the rise of the new sect of the "Nazarenes."
For some two years after Pentecost, Christianity was quietly
spreading its influence in Jerusalem. At length Stephen, one of
the seven deacons, gave forth more public and aggressive
testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, and this led to much
excitement among the Jews and much disputation in their
synagogues. Persecution arose against Stephen and the followers
of Christ generally, in which Saul of Tarsus took a prominent
part. He was at this time probably a member of the great
Sanhedrin, and became the active leader in the furious
persecution by which the rulers then sought to exterminate
But the object of this persecution also failed. "They that
were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." The
anger of the persecutor was thereby kindled into a fiercer
flame. Hearing that fugitives had taken refuge in Damascus, he
obtained from the chief priest letters authorizing him to
proceed thither on his persecuting career. This was a long
journey of about 130 miles, which would occupy perhaps six days,
during which, with his few attendants, he steadily went onward,
"breathing out threatenings and slaughter." But the crisis of
his life was at hand. He had reached the last stage of his
journey, and was within sight of Damascus. As he and his
companions rode on, suddenly at mid-day a brilliant light shone
round them, and Saul was laid prostrate in terror on the ground,
a voice sounding in his ears, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?" The risen Saviour was there, clothed in the vesture of his
glorified humanity. In answer to the anxious inquiry of the
stricken persecutor, "Who art thou, Lord?" he said, "I am Jesus
whom thou persecutest" (Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15).
This was the moment of his conversion, the most solemn in all
his life. Blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8), his
companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep
thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).
Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, was informed by a vision
of the change that had happened to Saul, and was sent to him to
open his eyes and admit him by baptism into the Christian church
(9:11-16). The whole purpose of his life was now permanently
Immediately after his conversion he retired into the solitudes
of Arabia (Gal. 1:17), perhaps of "Sinai in Arabia," for the
purpose, probably, of devout study and meditation on the
marvellous revelation that had been made to him. "A veil of
thick darkness hangs over this visit to Arabia. Of the scenes
among which he moved, of the thoughts and occupations which
engaged him while there, of all the circumstances of a crisis
which must have shaped the whole tenor of his after-life,
absolutely nothing is known. 'Immediately,' says St. Paul, 'I
went away into Arabia.' The historian passes over the incident
[comp. Acts 9:23 and 1 Kings 11:38, 39]. It is a mysterious
pause, a moment of suspense, in the apostle's history, a
breathless calm, which ushers in the tumultuous storm of his
active missionary life." Coming back, after three years, to
Damascus, he began to preach the gospel "boldly in the name of
Jesus" (Acts 9:27), but was soon obliged to flee (9:25; 2 Cor.
11:33) from the Jews and betake himself to Jerusalem. Here he
tarried for three weeks, but was again forced to flee (Acts
9:28, 29) from persecution. He now returned to his native Tarsus
(Gal. 1:21), where, for probably about three years, we lose
sight of him. The time had not yet come for his entering on his
great life-work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
At length the city of Antioch, the capital of Syria, became
the scene of great Christian activity. There the gospel gained a
firm footing, and the cause of Christ prospered. Barnabas
(q.v.), who had been sent from Jerusalem to superintend the work
at Antioch, found it too much for him, and remembering Saul, he
set out to Tarsus to seek for him. He readily responded to the
call thus addressed to him, and came down to Antioch, which for
"a whole year" became the scene of his labours, which were
crowned with great success. The disciples now, for the first
time, were called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
The church at Antioch now proposed to send out missionaries to
the Gentiles, and Saul and Barnabas, with John Mark as their
attendant, were chosen for this work. This was a great epoch in
the history of the church. Now the disciples began to give
effect to the Master's command: "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature."
The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary
tour. They sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, across
to Cyprus, some 80 miles to the south-west. Here at Paphos,
Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted, and now Saul
took the lead, and was ever afterwards called Paul. The
missionaries now crossed to the mainland, and then proceeded 6
or 7 miles up the river Cestrus to Perga (Acts 13:13), where
John Mark deserted the work and returned to Jerusalem. The two
then proceeded about 100 miles inland, passing through
Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. The towns mentioned in this
tour are the Pisidian Antioch, where Paul delivered his first
address of which we have any record (13:16-51; comp. 10:30-43),
Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They returned by the same route to
see and encourage the converts they had made, and ordain elders
in every city to watch over the churches which had been
gathered. From Perga they sailed direct for Antioch, from which
they had set out.
After remaining "a long time", probably till A.D. 50 or 51, in
Antioch, a great controversy broke out in the church there
regarding the relation of the Gentiles to the Mosaic law. For
the purpose of obtaining a settlement of this question, Paul and
Barnabas were sent as deputies to consult the church at
Jerusalem. The council or synod which was there held (Acts 15)
decided against the Judaizing party; and the deputies,
accompanied by Judas and Silas, returned to Antioch, bringing
with them the decree of the council.
After a short rest at Antioch, Paul said to Barnabas: "Let us
go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have
preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." Mark
proposed again to accompany them; but Paul refused to allow him
to go. Barnabas was resolved to take Mark, and thus he and Paul
had a sharp contention. They separated, and never again met.
Paul, however, afterwards speaks with honour of Barnabas, and
sends for Mark to come to him at Rome (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11).
Paul took with him Silas, instead of Barnabas, and began his
second missionary journey about A.D. 51. This time he went by
land, revisiting the churches he had already founded in Asia.
But he longed to enter into "regions beyond," and still went
forward through Phrygia and Galatia (16:6). Contrary to his
intention, he was constrained to linger in Galatia (q.v.), on
account of some bodily affliction (Gal. 4:13, 14). Bithynia, a
populous province on the shore of the Black Sea, lay now before
him, and he wished to enter it; but the way was shut, the Spirit
in some manner guiding him in another direction, till he came
down to the shores of the AEgean and arrived at Troas, on the
north-western coast of Asia Minor (Acts 16:8). Of this long
journey from Antioch to Troas we have no account except some
references to it in his Epistle to the Galatians (4:13).
As he waited at Troas for indications of the will of God as to
his future movements, he saw, in the vision of the night, a man
from the opposite shores of Macedonia standing before him, and
heard him cry, "Come over, and help us" (Acts 16:9). Paul
recognized in this vision a message from the Lord, and the very
next day set sail across the Hellespont, which separated him
from Europe, and carried the tidings of the gospel into the
Western world. In Macedonia, churches were planted in Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea. Leaving this province, Paul passed into
Achaia, "the paradise of genius and renown." He reached Athens,
but quitted it after, probably, a brief sojourn (17:17-31). The
Athenians had received him with cold disdain, and he never
visited that city again. He passed over to Corinth, the seat of
the Roman government of Achaia, and remained there a year and a
half, labouring with much success. While at Corinth, he wrote
his two epistles to the church of Thessalonica, his earliest
apostolic letters, and then sailed for Syria, that he might be
in time to keep the feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem. He was
accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left at Ephesus, at
which he touched, after a voyage of thirteen or fifteen days. He
landed at Caesarea, and went up to Jerusalem, and having
"saluted the church" there, and kept the feast, he left for
Antioch, where he abode "some time" (Acts 18:20-23).
He then began his third missionary tour. He journeyed by land
in the "upper coasts" (the more eastern parts) of Asia Minor,
and at length made his way to Ephesus, where he tarried for no
less than three years, engaged in ceaseless Christian labour.
"This city was at the time the Liverpool of the Mediterranean.
It possessed a splendid harbour, in which was concentrated the
traffic of the sea which was then the highway of the nations;
and as Liverpool has behind her the great towns of Lancashire,
so had Ephesus behind and around her such cities as those
mentioned along with her in the epistles to the churches in the
book of Revelation, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was a city of vast wealth, and it
was given over to every kind of pleasure, the fame of its
theatres and race-course being world-wide" (Stalker's Life of
St. Paul). Here a "great door and effectual" was opened to the
apostle. His fellow-labourers aided him in his work, carrying
the gospel to Colosse and Laodicea and other places which they
Very shortly before his departure from Ephesus, the apostle
wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians (q.v.). The
silversmiths, whose traffic in the little images which they made
was in danger (see DEMETRIUS ¯T0001013), organized a riot
against Paul, and he left the city, and proceeded to Troas (2
Cor. 2:12), whence after some time he went to meet Titus in
Macedonia. Here, in consequence of the report Titus brought from
Corinth, he wrote his second epistle to that church. Having
spent probably most of the summer and autumn in Macedonia,
visiting the churches there, specially the churches of Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea, probably penetrating into the interior,
to the shores of the Adriatic (Rom. 15:19), he then came into
Greece, where he abode three month, spending probably the
greater part of this time in Corinth (Acts 20:2). During his
stay in this city he wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, and
also the great Epistle to the Romans. At the end of the three
months he left Achaia for Macedonia, thence crossed into Asia
Minor, and touching at Miletus, there addressed the Ephesian
presbyters, whom he had sent for to meet him (Acts 20:17), and
then sailed for Tyre, finally reaching Jerusalem, probably in
the spring of A.D. 58.
While at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, he was almost
murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple. (See TEMPLE, HEROD'S
¯T0003611.) Rescued from their violence by the Roman commandant,
he was conveyed as a prisoner to Caesarea, where, from various
causes, he was detained a prisoner for two years in Herod's
praetorium (Acts 23:35). "Paul was not kept in close
confinement; he had at least the range of the barracks in which
he was detained. There we can imagine him pacing the ramparts on
the edge of the Mediterranean, and gazing wistfully across the
blue waters in the direction of Macedonia, Achaia, and Ephesus,
where his spiritual children were pining for him, or perhaps
encountering dangers in which they sorely needed his presence.
It was a mysterious providence which thus arrested his energies
and condemned the ardent worker to inactivity; yet we can now
see the reason for it. Paul was needing rest. After twenty years
of incessant evangelization, he required leisure to garner the
harvest of experience...During these two years he wrote nothing;
it was a time of internal mental activity and silent progress"
(Stalker's Life of St. Paul).
At the end of these two years Felix (q.v.) was succeeded in
the governorship of Israel by Porcius Festus, before whom the
apostle was again heard. But judging it right at this crisis to
claim the privilege of a Roman citizen, he appealed to the
emperor (Acts 25:11). Such an appeal could not be disregarded,
and Paul was at once sent on to Rome under the charge of one
Julius, a centurion of the "Augustan cohort." After a long and
perilous voyage, he at length reached the imperial city in the
early spring, probably, of A.D. 61. Here he was permitted to
occupy his own hired house, under constant military custody.
This privilege was accorded to him, no doubt, because he was a
Roman citizen, and as such could not be put into prison without
a trial. The soldiers who kept guard over Paul were of course
changed at frequent intervals, and thus he had the opportunity
of preaching the gospel to many of them during these "two whole
years," and with the blessed result of spreading among the
imperial guards, and even in Caesar's household, an interest in
the truth (Phil. 1:13). His rooms were resorted to by many
anxious inquirers, both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23, 30, 31),
and thus his imprisonment "turned rather to the furtherance of
the gospel," and his "hired house" became the centre of a
gracious influence which spread over the whole city. According
to a Jewish tradition, it was situated on the borders of the
modern Ghetto, which has been the Jewish quarters in Rome from
the time of Pompey to the present day. During this period the
apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians,
Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews.
This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having
been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against
him. Once more he set out on his missionary labours, probably
visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this
period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his
Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the
burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the
Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the
Christians. Paul was siezed, and once more conveyed to Rome a
prisoner. During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second
Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little
doubt that he appered again at Nero's bar, and this time the
charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more
startling illustration of the irony of human life than this
scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in
the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained
the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a
man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so
steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and
soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a
compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the
best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for
the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was
condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out
of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The
fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the
headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the
apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D.
66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.
Ephesians, Epistle to
was written by Paul at Rome about the same time as that to the
Colossians, which in many points it resembles.
Contents of. The Epistle to the Colossians is mainly
polemical, designed to refute certain theosophic errors that had
crept into the church there. That to the Ephesians does not seem
to have originated in any special circumstances, but is simply a
letter springing from Paul's love to the church there, and
indicative of his earnest desire that they should be fully
instructed in the profound doctrines of the gospel. It contains
(1) the salutation (1:1, 2); (2) a general description of the
blessings the gospel reveals, as to their source, means by which
they are attained, purpose for which they are bestowed, and
their final result, with a fervent prayer for the further
spiritual enrichment of the Ephesians (1:3-2:10); (3) "a record
of that marked change in spiritual position which the Gentile
believers now possessed, ending with an account of the writer's
selection to and qualification for the apostolate of heathendom,
a fact so considered as to keep them from being dispirited, and
to lead him to pray for enlarged spiritual benefactions on his
absent sympathizers" (2:12-3:21); (4) a chapter on unity as
undisturbed by diversity of gifts (4:1-16); (5) special
injunctions bearing on ordinary life (4:17-6:10); (6) the
imagery of a spiritual warfare, mission of Tychicus, and
valedictory blessing (6:11-24).
Planting of the church at Ephesus. Paul's first and hurried
visit for the space of three months to Ephesus is recorded in
Acts 18:19-21. The work he began on this occasion was carried
forward by Apollos (24-26) and Aquila and Priscilla. On his
second visit, early in the following year, he remained at
Ephesus "three years," for he found it was the key to the
western provinces of Asia Minor. Here "a great door and
effectual" was opened to him (1 Cor. 16:9), and the church was
established and strengthened by his assiduous labours there
(Acts 20:20, 31). From Ephesus as a centre the gospel spread
abroad "almost throughout all Asia" (19:26). The word "mightily
grew and prevailed" despite all the opposition and persecution
On his last journey to Jerusalem the apostle landed at
Miletus, and summoning together the elders of the church from
Ephesus, delivered to them his remarkable farewell charge (Acts
20:18-35), expecting to see them no more.
The following parallels between this epistle and the Milesian
charge may be traced:
(1.) Acts 20:19 = Eph. 4:2. The phrase "lowliness of mind"
occurs nowhere else.
(2.) Acts 20:27 = Eph. 1:11. The word "counsel," as denoting
the divine plan, occurs only here and Heb. 6:17.
(3.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 3:20. The divine ability.
(4.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 2:20. The building upon the foundation.
(5.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 1:14, 18. "The inheritance of the
Place and date of the writing of the letter. It was evidently
written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment (3:1; 4:1;
6:20), and probably soon after his arrival there, about the year
62, four years after he had parted with the Ephesian elders at
Miletus. The subscription of this epistle is correct.
There seems to have been no special occasion for the writing
of this letter, as already noted. Paul's object was plainly not
polemical. No errors had sprung up in the church which he sought
to point out and refute. The object of the apostle is "to set
forth the ground, the cause, and the aim and end of the church
of the faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type
or sample of the church universal." The church's foundations,
its course, and its end, are his theme. "Everywhere the
foundation of the church is the will of the Father; the course
of the church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the
church is the life in the Holy Spirit." In the Epistle to the
Romans, Paul writes from the point of view of justification by
the imputed righteousness of Christ; here he writes from the
point of view specially of union to the Redeemer, and hence of
the oneness of the true church of Christ. "This is perhaps the
profoundest book in existence." It is a book "which sounds the
lowest depths of Christian doctrine, and scales the loftiest
heights of Christian experience;" and the fact that the apostle
evidently expected the Ephesians to understand it is an evidence
of the "proficiency which Paul's converts had attained under his
preaching at Ephesus."
Relation between this epistle and that to the Colossians
(q.v.). "The letters of the apostle are the fervent outburst of
pastoral zeal and attachment, written without reserve and in
unaffected simplicity; sentiments come warm from the heart,
without the shaping out, pruning, and punctilious arrangement of
a formal discourse. There is such a fresh and familiar
transcription of feeling, so frequent an introduction of
coloquial idiom, and so much of conversational frankness and
vivacity, that the reader associates the image of the writer
with every paragraph, and the ear seems to catch and recognize
the very tones of living address." "Is it then any matter of
amazement that one letter should resemble another, or that two
written about the same time should have so much in common and so
much that is peculiar? The close relation as to style and
subject between the epistles to Colosse and Ephesus must strike
every reader. Their precise relation to each other has given
rise to much discussion. The great probability is that the
epistle to Colosse was first written; the parallel passages in
Ephesians, which amount to about forty-two in number, having the
appearance of being expansions from the epistle to Colosse.
Eph 1:7; Col 1:14
Eph 1:10; Col 1:20
Eph 3:2; Col 1:25
Eph 5:19; Col 3:16
Eph 6:22; Col 4:8
Eph 1:19-2:5; Col 2:12,13
Eph 4:2-4; Col 3:12-15
Eph 4:16; Col 2:19
Eph 4:32; Col 3:13
Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9,10
Eph 5:6-8; Col 3:6-8
Eph 5:15,16; Col 4:5
Eph 6:19,20; Col 4:3,4
Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1
"The style of this epistle is exceedingly animated, and
corresponds with the state of the apostle's mind at the time of
writing. Overjoyed with the account which their messenger had
brought him of their faith and holiness (Eph. 1:15), and
transported with the consideration of the unsearchable wisdom of
God displayed in the work of man's redemption, and of his
astonishing love towards the Gentiles in making them partakers
through faith of all the benefits of Christ's death, he soars
high in his sentiments on those grand subjects, and gives his
thoughts utterance in sublime and copious expression."