Weeks, Feast of
See PENTECOST ¯T0002893.
the easternmost and the largest province of Asia Minor.
Christianity very early penetrated into this country (1 Pet.
1:1). On the day of Pentecost there were Cappadocians at
Jerusalem (Acts 2:9).
Tongues, Gift of
granted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), in fulfilment of a
promise Christ had made to his disciples (Mark 16:17). What this
gift actually was has been a subject of much discussion. Some
have argued that it was merely an outward sign of the presence
of the Holy Spirit among the disciples, typifying his manifold
gifts, and showing that salvation was to be extended to all
nations. But the words of Luke (Acts 2:9) clearly show that the
various peoples in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost did really
hear themselves addressed in their own special language with
which they were naturally acquainted (comp. Joel 2:28, 29).
Among the gifts of the Spirit the apostle enumerates in 1 Cor.
12:10-14:30, "divers kinds of tongues" and the "interpretation
of tongues." This "gift" was a different manifestation of the
Spirit from that on Pentecost, although it resembled it in many
particulars. Tongues were to be "a sign to them that believe
were present in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2:9). Parthia lay
on the east of Media and south of Hyrcania, which separated it
from the Caspian Sea. It corresponded with the western half of
the modern Khorasan, and now forms a part of Persia.
Paul and his company, loosing from Paphos, sailed north-west and
came to Perga, the capital of Pamphylia (Acts 13:13, 14), a
province about the middle of the southern sea-board of Asia
Minor. It lay between Lycia on the west and Cilicia on the east.
There were strangers from Pamphylia at Jerusalem on the day of
a province of Asia Minor, stretching along the southern coast of
the Euxine Sea, corresponding nearly to the modern province of
Trebizond. In the time of the apostles it was a Roman province.
Strangers from this province were at Jerusalem at Pentecost
(Acts 2:9), and to "strangers scattered throughout Pontus,"
among others, Peter addresses his first epistle (1 Pet. 1:1). It
was evidently the resort of many Jews of the Dispersion. Aquila
was a native of Pontus (Acts 18:2).
parts of peace-offerings were so called, because they were waved
by the priests (Ex. 29:24, 26, 27; Lev. 7:20-34; 8:27; 9:21;
10:14, 15, etc.), in token of a solemn special presentation to
God. They then became the property of the priests. The
first-fruits, a sheaf of barley, offered at the feast of
Pentecost (Lev. 23:17-20), and wheat-bread, the first-fruits of
the second harvest, offered at the Passover (10-14), were
i.e., "fiftieth", found only in the New Testament (Acts 2:1;
20:16; 1 Cor. 16:8). The festival so named is first spoken of in
Ex. 23:16 as "the feast of harvest," and again in Ex. 34:22 as
"the day of the firstfruits" (Num. 28:26). From the sixteenth of
the month of Nisan (the second day of the Passover), seven
complete weeks, i.e., forty-nine days, were to be reckoned, and
this feast was held on the fiftieth day. The manner in which it
was to be kept is described in Lev. 23:15-19; Num. 28:27-29.
Besides the sacrifices prescribed for the occasion, every one
was to bring to the Lord his "tribute of a free-will offering"
(Deut. 16:9-11). The purpose of this feast was to commemorate
the completion of the grain harvest. Its distinguishing feature
was the offering of "two leavened loaves" made from the new corn
of the completed harvest, which, with two lambs, were waved
before the Lord as a thank offering.
The day of Pentecost is noted in the Christian Church as the
day on which the Spirit descended upon the apostles, and on
which, under Peter's preaching, so many thousands were converted
in Jerusalem (Acts 2).
a meeting of a religious character as distinguished from
congregation, which was more general, dealing with political and
legal matters. Hence it is called an "holy convocation." Such
convocations were the Sabbaths (Lev. 23:2, 3), the Passover (Ex.
12:16; Lev. 23:7, 8; Num. 28:25), Pentecost (Lev. 23:21), the
feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1), the feast of Weeks
(Num. 28:26), and the feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:35, 36). The
great fast, the annual day of atonement, was "the holy
convocation" (Lev. 23:27; Num. 29:7).
now called Candia, one of the largest islands in the
Meditterranean, about 140 miles long and 35 broad. It was at one
time a very prosperous and populous island, having a "hundred
cities." The character of the people is described in Paul's
quotation from "one of their own poets" (Epimenides) in his
epistle to Titus: "The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts,
slow bellies" (Titus 1:12). Jews from Crete were in Jerusalem on
the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). The island was visited by Paul
on his voyage to Rome (Acts 27). Here Paul subsequently left
Titus (1:5) "to ordain elders." Some have supposed that it was
the original home of the Caphtorim (q.v.) or Philistines.
(Gr. charismata), gifts supernaturally bestowed on the early
Christians, each having his own proper gift or gifts for the
edification of the body of Christ. These were the result of the
extraordinary operation of the Spirit, as on the day of
Pentecost. They were the gifts of speaking with tongues, casting
out devils, healing, etc. (Mark 16:17, 18), usually communicated
by the medium of the laying on of the hands of the apostles
(Acts 8:17; 19:6; 1 Tim. 4:14). These charismata were enjoyed
only for a time. They could not continue always in the Church.
They were suited to its infancy and to the necessities of those
the season for gathering grain or fruit. On the 16th day of Abib
(or April) a handful of ripe ears of corn was offered as a
first-fruit before the Lord, and immediately after this the
harvest commenced (Lev. 23:9-14; 2 Sam. 21:9, 10; Ruth 2:23). It
began with the feast of Passover and ended with Pentecost, thus
lasting for seven weeks (Ex. 23:16). The harvest was a season of
joy (Ps. 126:1-6; Isa. 9:3). This word is used figuratively
Matt. 9:37; 13:30; Luke 10:2; John 4:35. (See AGRICULTURE
a city (now Tripoli) in Upper Libya, North Africa, founded by a
colony of Greeks (B.C. 630). It contained latterly a large
number of Jews, who were introduced into the city by Ptolemy,
the son of Lagus, because he thought they would contribute to
the security of the place. They increased in number and
influence; and we are thus prepared for the frequent references
to them in connection with the early history of Christianity.
Simon, who bore our Lord's cross, was a native of this place
(Matt. 27:32; Mark 15:21). Jews from Cyrene were in Jerusalem at
Pentecost (Acts 2:10); and Cyrenian Jews had a synagogue at
Jerusalem (6:9). Converts belonging to Cyrene contributed to the
formation of the first Gentile church at Antioch (11:20). Among
"the prophets and teachers" who "ministered to the Lord at
Antioch" was Lucius of Cyrene (13:1).
praise, the name given to the group of Psalms 113-118, which are
preeminently psalms of praise. It is called "The Egyptian
Hallel," because it was chanted in the temple whilst the
Passover lambs were being slain. It was chanted also on other
festival occasions, as at Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles,
and the feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the
altar, chanted it verse by verse, the people responding by
repeating the verses or by intoned hallelujahs. It was also
chanted in private families at the feast of Passover. This was
probably the hymn which our Saviour and his disciples sung at
the conclusion of the Passover supper kept by them in the upper
room at Jerusalem (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26).
There is also another group called "The Great Hallel,"
comprehending Psalms 118-136, which was recited on the first
evening at the Passover supper and on occasions of great joy.
one of the largest islands of the Mediterranean, about 148 miles
long and 40 broad. It is distant about 60 miles from the Syrian
coast. It was the "Chittim" of the Old Testament (Num. 24:24).
The Greek colonists gave it the name of Kypros, from the cyprus,
i.e., the henna (see CAMPHIRE ¯T0000701), which grew on this
island. It was originally inhabited by Phoenicians. In B.C. 477
it fell under the dominion of the Greeks; and became a Roman
province B.C. 58. In ancient times it was a centre of great
commercial activity. Corn and wine and oil were produced here in
the greatest perfection. It was rich also in timber and in
It is first mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 4:36) as the
native place of Barnabas. It was the scene of Paul's first
missionary labours (13:4-13), when he and Barnabas and John Mark
were sent forth by the church of Antioch. It was afterwards
visited by Barnabas and Mark alone (15:39). Mnason, an "old
disciple," probaly one of the converts of the day of Pentecost
belonging to this island, is mentioned (21:16). It is also
mentioned in connection with the voyages of Paul (Acts 21:3;
27:4). After being under the Turks for three hundred years, it
was given up to the British Government in 1878.
The first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the
first-born of man and animals.
The law required, (1.) That on the morrow after the Passover
Sabbath a sheaf of new corn should be waved by the priest before
the altar (Lev. 23:5, 6, 10, 12; 2:12).
(2.) That at the feast of Pentecost two loaves of leavened
bread, made from the new flour, were to be waved in like manner
(Lev. 23:15, 17; Num. 28:26).
(3.) The feast of Tabernacles was an acknowledgement that the
fruits of the harvest were from the Lord (Ex. 23:16; 34:22).
(4.) Every individual, besides, was required to consecrate to
God a portion of the first-fruits of the land (Ex. 22:29; 23:19;
34:26; Num. 15:20, 21).
(5.) The law enjoined that no fruit was to be gathered from
newly-planted fruit-trees for the first three years, and that
the first-fruits of the fourth year were to be consecrated to
the Lord (Lev. 19:23-25). Jeremiah (2:3) alludes to the
ordinance of "first-fruits," and hence he must have been
acquainted with the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers,
where the laws regarding it are recorded.
(1.) Heb. kebes, a male lamb from the first to the third year.
Offered daily at the morning and the evening sacrifice (Ex.
29:38-42), on the Sabbath day (Num. 28:9), at the feast of the
New Moon (28:11), of Trumpets (29:2), of Tabernacles (13-40), of
Pentecost (Lev. 23:18-20), and of the Passover (Ex. 12:5), and
on many other occasions (1 Chr. 29:21; 2 Chr. 29:21; Lev. 9:3;
(2.) Heb. taleh, a young sucking lamb (1 Sam. 7:9; Isa.
65:25). In the symbolical language of Scripture the lamb is the
type of meekness and innocence (Isa. 11:6; 65:25; Luke 10:3;
The lamb was a symbol of Christ (Gen. 4:4; Ex. 12:3; 29:38;
Isa. 16:1; 53:7; John 1:36; Rev. 13:8).
Christ is called the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36), as the great
sacrifice of which the former sacrifices were only types (Num.
6:12; Lev. 14:12-17; Isa. 53:7; 1 Cor. 5:7).
There were daily (Lev. 23), weekly, monthly, and yearly
festivals, and great stress was laid on the regular observance
of them in every particular (Num. 28:1-8; Ex. 29:38-42; Lev.
6:8-23; Ex. 30:7-9; 27:20).
(1.) The septenary festivals were,
(a) The weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:1-3; Ex. 19:3-30; 20:8-11;
(b) The seventh new moon, or the feast of Trumpets (Num.
(c) The Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:10, 11; Lev. 25:2-7).
(d) The year of jubilee (Lev. 23-35; 25: 8-16; 27:16-25).
(2.) The great feasts were,
(a) The Passover. (b) The feast of Pentecost, or of weeks. (c)
The feast of Tabernacles, or of ingathering.
On each of these occasions every male Israelite was commanded
"to appear before the Lord" (Deut. 27:7; Neh. 8:9-12). The
attendance of women was voluntary. (Comp. Luke 2:41; 1 Sam. 1:7;
2:19.) The promise that God would protect their homes (Ex.
34:23, 24) while all the males were absent in Jerusalem at these
feasts was always fulfilled. "During the whole period between
Moses and Christ we never read of an enemy invading the land at
the time of the three festivals. The first instance on record is
thirty-three years after they had withdrawn from themselves the
divine protection by imbruing their hands in the Saviour's
blood, when Cestius, the Roman general, slew fifty of the people
of Lydda while all the rest had gone up to the feast of
Tabernacles, A.D. 66."
These festivals, besides their religious purpose, had an
important bearing on the maintenance among the people of the
feeling of a national unity. The times fixed for their
observance were arranged so as to interfere as little as
possible with the industry of the people. The Passover was kept
just before the harvest commenced, Pentecost at the conclusion
of the corn harvest and before the vintage, the feast of
Tabernacles after all the fruits of the ground had been gathered
(3.) The Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month
(Lev. 16:1, 34; 23:26-32; Num. 29:7-11). (See ATONEMENT, DAY OF
Of the post-Exilian festivals reference is made to the feast
of Dedication (John 10:22). This feast was appointed by Judas
Maccabaeus in commemoration of the purification of the temple
after it had been polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes. The "feast of
Purim" (q.v.), Esther 9:24-32, was also instituted after the
Exile. (Cf. John 5:1.)
the capital of proconsular Asia, which was the western part of
Asia Minor. It was colonized principally from Athens. In the
time of the Romans it bore the title of "the first and greatest
metropolis of Asia." It was distinguished for the Temple of
Diana (q.v.), who there had her chief shrine; and for its
theatre, which was the largest in the world, capable of
containing 50,000 spectators. It was, like all ancient theatres,
open to the sky. Here were exhibited the fights of wild beasts
and of men with beasts. (Comp. 1 Cor. 4:9; 9:24, 25; 15:32.)
Many Jews took up their residence in this city, and here the
seeds of the gospel were sown immediately after Pentecost (Acts
2:9; 6:9). At the close of his second missionary journey (about
A.D. 51), when Paul was returning from Greece to Syria
(18:18-21), he first visited this city. He remained, however,
for only a short time, as he was hastening to keep the feast,
probably of Pentecost, at Jerusalem; but he left Aquila and
Priscilla behind him to carry on the work of spreading the
During his third missionary journey Paul reached Ephesus from
the "upper coasts" (Acts 19:1), i.e., from the inland parts of
Asia Minor, and tarried here for about three years; and so
successful and abundant were his labours that "all they which
dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and
Greeks" (19:10). Probably during this period the seven churches
of the Apocalypse were founded, not by Paul's personal labours,
but by missionaries whom he may have sent out from Ephesus, and
by the influence of converts returning to their homes.
On his return from his journey, Paul touched at Miletus, some
30 miles south of Ephesus (Acts 20:15), and sending for the
presbyters of Ephesus to meet him there, he delivered to them
that touching farewell charge which is recorded in Acts
20:18-35. Ephesus is not again mentioned till near the close of
Paul's life, when he writes to Timothy exhorting him to "abide
still at Ephesus" (1 Tim. 1:3).
Two of Paul's companions, Trophimus and Tychicus, were
probably natives of Ephesus (Acts 20:4; 21:29; 2 Tim. 4:12). In
his second epistle to Timothy, Paul speaks of Onesiphorus as
having served him in many things at Ephesus (2 Tim. 1:18). He
also "sent Tychicus to Ephesus" (4:12), probably to attend to
the interests of the church there. Ephesus is twice mentioned in
the Apocalypse (1:11; 2:1).
The apostle John, according to tradition, spent many years in
Ephesus, where he died and was buried.
A part of the site of this once famous city is now occupied by
a small Turkish village, Ayasaluk, which is regarded as a
corruption of the two Greek words, hagios theologos; i.e., "the
Hebrew _olah_; i.e., "ascending," the whole being consumed by
fire, and regarded as ascending to God while being consumed.
Part of every offering was burnt in the sacred fire, but this
was wholly burnt, a "whole burnt offering." It was the most
frequent form of sacrifice, and apparently the only one
mentioned in the book of Genesis. Such were the sacrifices
offered by Abel (Gen. 4:3, 4, here called _minhah_; i.e., "a
gift"), Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (Gen. 22:2, 7, 8, 13), and by
the Hebrews in Egypt (Ex. 10:25).
The law of Moses afterwards prescribed the occasions and the
manner in which burnt sacrifices were to be offered. There were
"the continual burnt offering" (Ex. 29:38-42; Lev. 6:9-13), "the
burnt offering of every sabbath," which was double the daily one
(Num. 28:9, 10), "the burnt offering of every month" (28:11-15),
the offerings at the Passover (19-23), at Pentecost (Lev.
23:16), the feast of Trumpets (23:23-25), and on the day of
Atonement (Lev. 16).
On other occasions special sacrifices were offered, as at the
consecration of Aaron (Ex. 29) and the dedication of the temple
(1 Kings 8:5, 62-64).
Free-will burnt offerings were also permitted (Lev. 1:13), and
were offered at the accession of Solomon to the throne (1 Chr.
29:21), and at the reformation brought about by Hezekiah (2 Chr.
These offerings signified the complete dedication of the
offerers unto God. This is referred to in Rom. 12:1. (See ALTAR
¯T0000185, SACRIFICE ¯T0003179.)
the most celebrated city in the world at the time of Christ. It
is said to have been founded B.C. 753. When the New Testament
was written, Rome was enriched and adorned with the spoils of
the world, and contained a population estimated at 1,200,000, of
which the half were slaves, and including representatives of
nearly every nation then known. It was distinguished for its
wealth and luxury and profligacy. The empire of which it was the
capital had then reached its greatest prosperity.
On the day of Pentecost there were in Jerusalem "strangers
from Rome," who doubtless carried with them back to Rome tidings
of that great day, and were instrumental in founding the church
there. Paul was brought to this city a prisoner, where he
remained for two years (Acts 28:30, 31) "in his own hired
house." While here, Paul wrote his epistles to the Philippians,
to the Ephesians, to the Colossians, to Philemon, and probably
also to the Hebrews. He had during these years for companions
Luke and Aristarchus (Acts 27:2), Timothy (Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1),
Tychicus (Eph. 6: 21), Epaphroditus (Phil. 4:18), and John Mark
(Col. 4:10). (See PAUL ¯T0002871.)
Beneath this city are extensive galleries, called "catacombs,"
which were used from about the time of the apostles (one of the
inscriptions found in them bears the date A.D. 71) for some
three hundred years as places of refuge in the time of
persecution, and also of worship and burial. About four thousand
inscriptions have been found in the catacombs. These give an
interesting insight into the history of the church at Rome down
to the time of Constantine.
arid, an extensive region in the south-west of Asia. It is
bounded on the west by the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea, on
the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the east by the Persian
Gulf and the Euphrates. It extends far into the north in barren
deserts, meeting those of Syria and Mesopotamia. It is one of
the few countries of the world from which the original
inhabitants have never been expelled.
It was anciently divided into three parts:, (1.) Arabia Felix
(Happy Arabia), so called from its fertility. It embraced a
large portion of the country now known by the name of Arabia.
The Arabs call it Yemen. It lies between the Red Sea and the
Persian Gulf. (2.) Arabia Deserta, the el-Badieh or "Great
Wilderness" of the Arabs. From this name is derived that which
is usually given to the nomadic tribes which wander over this
region, the "Bedaween," or, more generally, "Bedouin," (3.)
Arabia Petraea, i.e., the Rocky Arabia, so called from its rocky
mountains and stony plains. It comprehended all the north-west
portion of the country, and is much better known to travellers
than any other portion. This country is, however, divided by
modern geographers into (1) Arabia Proper, or the Arabian
Peninsula; (2) Northern Arabia, or the Arabian Desert; and (3)
Western Arabia, which includes the peninsula of Sinai and the
Desert of Petra, originally inhabited by the Horites (Gen. 14:6,
etc.), but in later times by the descendants of Esau, and known
as the Land of Edom or Idumea, also as the Desert of Seir or
The whole land appears (Gen. 10) to have been inhabited by a
variety of tribes of different lineage, Ishmaelites, Arabians,
Idumeans, Horites, and Edomites; but at length becoming
amalgamated, they came to be known by the general designation of
Arabs. The modern nation of Arabs is predominantly Ishmaelite.
Their language is the most developed and the richest of all the
Semitic languages, and is of great value to the student of
The Israelites wandered for forty years in Arabia. In the days
of Solomon, and subsequently, commercial intercourse was to a
considerable extent kept up with this country (1 Kings 10:15; 2
Chr. 9:14; 17:11). Arabians were present in Jerusalem at
Pentecost (Acts 2:11). Paul retired for a season into Arabia
after his conversion (Gal. 1:17). This country is frequently
referred to by the prophets (Isa. 21:11; 42:11; Jer. 25:24,
This word is derived from a Hebrew and Greek word denoting a
reed or cane. Hence it means something straight, or something to
keep straight; and hence also a rule, or something ruled or
measured. It came to be applied to the Scriptures, to denote
that they contained the authoritative rule of faith and
practice, the standard of doctrine and duty. A book is said to
be of canonical authority when it has a right to take a place
with the other books which contain a revelation of the Divine
will. Such a right does not arise from any ecclesiastical
authority, but from the evidence of the inspired authorship of
the book. The canonical (i.e., the inspired) books of the Old
and New Testaments, are a complete rule, and the only rule, of
faith and practice. They contain the whole supernatural
revelation of God to men. The New Testament Canon was formed
gradually under divine guidance. The different books as they
were written came into the possession of the Christian
associations which began to be formed soon after the day of
Pentecost; and thus slowly the canon increased till all the
books were gathered together into one collection containing the
whole of the twenty-seven New Testament inspired books.
Historical evidence shows that from about the middle of the
second century this New Testament collection was substantially
such as we now possess. Each book contained in it is proved to
have, on its own ground, a right to its place; and thus the
whole is of divine authority.
The Old Testament Canon is witnessed to by the New Testament
writers. Their evidence is conclusive. The quotations in the New
from the Old are very numerous, and the references are much more
numerous. These quotations and references by our Lord and the
apostles most clearly imply the existence at that time of a
well-known and publicly acknowledged collection of Hebrew
writings under the designation of "The Scriptures;" "The Law and
the Prophets and the Psalms;" "Moses and the Prophets," etc. The
appeals to these books, moreover, show that they were regarded
as of divine authority, finally deciding all questions of which
they treat; and that the whole collection so recognized
consisted only of the thirty-nine books which we now posses.
Thus they endorse as genuine and authentic the canon of the
Jewish Scriptures. The Septuagint Version (q.v.) also contained
every book we now have in the Old Testament Scriptures. As to
the time at which the Old Testament canon was closed, there are
many considerations which point to that of Ezra and Nehemiah,
immediately after the return from Babylonian exile. (See BIBLE
¯T0000580, EZRA ¯T0001294, QUOTATIONS ¯T0003039.)
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).
(Heb. form Nazirite), the name of such Israelites as took on
them the vow prescribed in Num. 6:2-21. The word denotes
generally one who is separated from others and consecrated to
God. Although there is no mention of any Nazarite before Samson,
yet it is evident that they existed before the time of Moses.
The vow of a Nazarite involved these three things, (1)
abstinence from wine and strong drink, (2) refraining from
cutting the hair off the head during the whole period of the
continuance of the vow, and (3) the avoidance of contact with
When the period of the continuance of the vow came to an end,
the Nazarite had to present himself at the door of the sanctuary
with (1) a he lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, (2) a
ewe lamb of the first year for a sin-offering, and (3) a ram for
a peace-offering. After these sacrifices were offered by the
priest, the Nazarite cut off his hair at the door and threw it
into the fire under the peace-offering.
For some reason, probably in the midst of his work at Corinth,
Paul took on himself the Nazarite vow. This could only be
terminated by his going up to Jerusalem to offer up the hair
which till then was to be left uncut. But it seems to have been
allowable for persons at a distance to cut the hair, which was
to be brought up to Jerusalem, where the ceremony was completed.
This Paul did at Cenchrea just before setting out on his voyage
into Syria (Acts 18:18).
On another occasion (Acts 21:23-26), at the feast of
Pentecost, Paul took on himself again the Nazarite vow. "The
ceremonies involved took a longer time than Paul had at his
disposal, but the law permitted a man to share the vow if he
could find companions who had gone through the prescribed
ceremonies, and who permitted him to join their company. This
permission was commonly granted if the new comer paid all the
fees required from the whole company (fee to the Levite for
cutting the hair and fees for sacrifices), and finished the vow
along with the others. Four Jewish Christians were performing
the vow, and would admit Paul to their company, provided he paid
their expenses. Paul consented, paid the charges, and when the
last seven days of the vow began he went with them to live in
the temple, giving the usual notice to the priests that he had
joined in regular fashion, was a sharer with the four men, and
that his vow would end with theirs. Nazarites retired to the
temple during the last period of seven days, because they could
be secure there against any accidental defilement" (Lindsay's
As to the duration of a Nazarite's vow, every one was left at
liberty to fix his own time. There is mention made in Scripture
of only three who were Nazarites for life, Samson, Samuel, and
John the Baptist (Judg. 13:4, 5; 1 Sam. 1:11; Luke 1:15). In its
ordinary form, however, the Nazarite's vow lasted only thirty,
and at most one hundred, days. (See RECHABITES ¯T0003080.)
This institution was a symbol of a life devoted to God and
separated from all sin, a holy life.
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.)
Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., "the Lord's
house"), which was used by ancient authors for the place of
In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word
ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew _kahal_ of the Old
Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character
of which can only be known from the connection in which the word
is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a
place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times
it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to
denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same
profession, as when we say the "Church of England," the "Church
of Scotland," etc.
We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the
New Testament: (1.) It is translated "assembly" in the ordinary
classical sense (Acts 19:32, 39, 41).
(2.) It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom
the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic church
(Eph. 5:23, 25, 27, 29; Heb. 12:23).
(3.) A few Christians associated together in observing the
ordinances of the gospel are an ecclesia (Rom. 16:5; Col. 4:15).
(4.) All the Christians in a particular city, whether they
assembled together in one place or in several places for
religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in
Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church (Acts
13:1); so also we read of the "church of God at Corinth" (1 Cor.
1:2), "the church at Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1), "the church of
Ephesus" (Rev. 2:1), etc.
(5.) The whole body of professing Christians throughout the
world (1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Matt. 16:18) are the church of
The church visible "consists of all those throughout the world
that profess the true religion, together with their children."
It is called "visible" because its members are known and its
assemblies are public. Here there is a mixture of "wheat and
chaff," of saints and sinners. "God has commanded his people to
organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical
communities, with constitutions, laws, and officers, badges,
ordinances, and discipline, for the great purpose of giving
visibility to his kingdom, of making known the gospel of that
kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of
these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the
great King is an integral part of the visible church, and all
together constitute the catholic or universal visible church." A
credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person a
member of this church. This is "the kingdom of heaven," whose
character and progress are set forth in the parables recorded in
The children of all who thus profess the true religion are
members of the visible church along with their parents. Children
are included in every covenant God ever made with man. They go
along with their parents (Gen. 9:9-17; 12:1-3; 17:7; Ex. 20:5;
Deut. 29:10-13). Peter, on the day of Pentecost, at the
beginning of the New Testament dispensation, announces the same
great principle. "The promise [just as to Abraham and his seed
the promises were made] is unto you, and to your children" (Acts
2:38, 39). The children of believing parents are "holy", i.e.,
are "saints", a title which designates the members of the
Christian church (1 Cor. 7:14). (See BAPTISM ¯T0000435.)
The church invisible "consists of the whole number of the
elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under
Christ, the head thereof." This is a pure society, the church in
which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. it is called
"invisible" because the greater part of those who constitute it
are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its
members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The
qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden.
It is unseen except by Him who "searches the heart." "The Lord
knoweth them that are his" (2 Tim. 2:19).
The church to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises
appertaining to Christ's kingdom belong, is a spiritual body
consisting of all true believers, i.e., the church invisible.
(1.) Its unity. God has ever had only one church on earth. We
sometimes speak of the Old Testament Church and of the New
Testament church, but they are one and the same. The Old
Testament church was not to be changed but enlarged (Isa.
49:13-23; 60:1-14). When the Jews are at length restored, they
will not enter a new church, but will be grafted again into
"their own olive tree" (Rom. 11:18-24; comp. Eph. 2:11-22). The
apostles did not set up a new organization. Under their ministry
disciples were "added" to the "church" already existing (Acts
(2.) Its universality. It is the "catholic" church; not
confined to any particular country or outward organization, but
comprehending all believers throughout the whole world.
(3.) Its perpetuity. It will continue through all ages to the
end of the world. It can never be destroyed. It is an
(Heb. verb shabbath, meaning "to rest from labour"), the day of
rest. It is first mentioned as having been instituted in
Paradise, when man was in innocence (Gen. 2:2). "The sabbath was
made for man," as a day of rest and refreshment for the body and
of blessing to the soul.
It is next referred to in connection with the gift of manna to
the children of Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 16:23); and
afterwards, when the law was given from Sinai (20:11), the
people were solemnly charged to "remember the sabbath day, to
keep it holy." Thus it is spoken of as an institution already
In the Mosaic law strict regulations were laid down regarding
its observance (Ex. 35:2, 3; Lev. 23:3; 26:34). These were
peculiar to that dispensation.
In the subsequent history of the Jews frequent references are
made to the sanctity of the Sabbath (Isa. 56:2, 4, 6, 7; 58:13,
14; Jer. 17:20-22; Neh. 13:19). In later times they perverted
the Sabbath by their traditions. Our Lord rescued it from their
perversions, and recalled to them its true nature and intent
(Matt. 12:10-13; Mark 2:27; Luke 13:10-17).
The Sabbath, originally instituted for man at his creation, is
of permanent and universal obligation. The physical necessities
of man require a Sabbath of rest. He is so constituted that his
bodily welfare needs at least one day in seven for rest from
ordinary labour. Experience also proves that the moral and
spiritual necessities of men also demand a Sabbath of rest. "I
am more and more sure by experience that the reason for the
observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting
necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the
blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a
day of spiritual rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do
feel by experience the eternal obligation, because of the
eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without it.
It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made
for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state
because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in
human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and
spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual,
would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser
than his Maker" (F. W. Robertson).
The ancient Babylonian calendar, as seen from recently
recovered inscriptions on the bricks among the ruins of the
royal palace, was based on the division of time into weeks of
seven days. The Sabbath is in these inscriptions designated
Sabattu, and defined as "a day of rest for the heart" and "a day
of completion of labour."
The change of the day. Originally at creation the seventh day
of the week was set apart and consecrated as the Sabbath. The
first day of the week is now observed as the Sabbath. Has God
authorized this change? There is an obvious distinction between
the Sabbath as an institution and the particular day set apart
for its observance. The question, therefore, as to the change of
the day in no way affects the perpetual obligation of the
Sabbath as an institution. Change of the day or no change, the
Sabbath remains as a sacred institution the same. It cannot be
If any change of the day has been made, it must have been by
Christ or by his authority. Christ has a right to make such a
change (Mark 2:23-28). As Creator, Christ was the original Lord
of the Sabbath (John 1:3; Heb. 1:10). It was originally a
memorial of creation. A work vastly greater than that of
creation has now been accomplished by him, the work of
redemption. We would naturally expect just such a change as
would make the Sabbath a memorial of that greater work.
True, we can give no text authorizing the change in so many
words. We have no express law declaring the change. But there
are evidences of another kind. We know for a fact that the first
day of the week has been observed from apostolic times, and the
necessary conclusion is, that it was observed by the apostles
and their immediate disciples. This, we may be sure, they never
would have done without the permission or the authority of their
After his resurrection, which took place on the first day of
the week (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), we never
find Christ meeting with his disciples on the seventh day. But
he specially honoured the first day by manifesting himself to
them on four separate occasions (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:34, 18-33;
John 20:19-23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus
appeared to his disciples (John 20:26).
Some have calculated that Christ's ascension took place on the
first day of the week. And there can be no doubt that the
descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was on that day (Acts
2:1). Thus Christ appears as instituting a new day to be
observed by his people as the Sabbath, a day to be henceforth
known amongst them as the "Lord's day." The observance of this
"Lord's day" as the Sabbath was the general custom of the
primitive churches, and must have had apostolic sanction (comp.
Acts 20:3-7; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2) and authority, and so the sanction
and authority of Jesus Christ.
The words "at her sabbaths" (Lam. 1:7, A.V.) ought probably to
be, as in the Revised Version, "at her desolations."
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.
=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.
Tilling the ground (Gen. 2:15; 4:2, 3, 12) and rearing cattle
were the chief employments in ancient times. The Egyptians
excelled in agriculture. And after the Israelites entered into
the possession of the Promised Land, their circumstances
favoured in the highest degree a remarkable development of this
art. Agriculture became indeed the basis of the Mosaic
The year in Israel was divided into six agricultural
I. SOWING TIME.
Tisri, latter half
(beginning about the autumnal equinox.)
Kisleu, former half.
Early rain due = first showers of autumn.
II. UNRIPE TIME.
Kisleu, latter half.
Sebat, former half.
III. COLD SEASON.
Sebat, latter half.
Nisan, former half.
Latter rain due (Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Hos. 6:3; Zech. 10:1;
James 5:7; Job 29:23).
IV. HARVEST TIME.
Nisan, latter half.
(Beginning about vernal equinox. Barley green. Passover.)
Sivan, former half., Wheat ripe. Pentecost.
V. SUMMER (total absence of rain)
Sivan, latter half.
Ab, former half.
VI. SULTRY SEASON
Ab, latter half.
Tisri, former half., Ingathering of fruits.
The six months from the middle of Tisri to the middle of Nisan
were occupied with the work of cultivation, and the rest of the
year mainly with the gathering in of the fruits. The extensive
and easily-arranged system of irrigation from the rills and
streams from the mountains made the soil in every part of
Israel richly productive (Ps. 1:3; 65:10; Prov. 21:1; Isa.
30:25; 32:2, 20; Hos. 12:11), and the appliances of careful
cultivation and of manure increased its fertility to such an
extent that in the days of Solomon, when there was an abundant
population, "20,000 measures of wheat year by year" were sent to
Hiram in exchange for timber (1 Kings 5:11), and in large
quantities also wheat was sent to the Tyrians for the
merchandise in which they traded (Ezek. 27:17). The wheat
sometimes produced an hundredfold (Gen. 26:12; Matt. 13:23).
Figs and pomegranates were very plentiful (Num. 13:23), and the
vine and the olive grew luxuriantly and produced abundant fruit
Lest the productiveness of the soil should be exhausted, it
was enjoined that the whole land should rest every seventh year,
when all agricultural labour would entirely cease (Lev. 25:1-7;
It was forbidden to sow a field with divers seeds (Deut.
22:9). A passer-by was at liberty to eat any quantity of corn or
grapes, but he was not permitted to carry away any (Deut. 23:24,
25; Matt. 12:1). The poor were permitted to claim the corners of
the fields and the gleanings. A forgotten sheaf in the field was
to be left also for the poor. (See Lev. 19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19.)
Agricultural implements and operations.
The sculptured monuments and painted tombs of Egypt and
Assyria throw much light on this subject, and on the general
operations of agriculture. Ploughs of a simple construction were
known in the time of Moses (Deut. 22:10; comp. Job 1:14). They
were very light, and required great attention to keep them in
the ground (Luke 9:62). They were drawn by oxen (Job 1:14), cows
(1 Sam. 6:7), and asses (Isa. 30:24); but an ox and an ass must
not be yoked together in the same plough (Deut. 22:10). Men
sometimes followed the plough with a hoe to break the clods
(Isa. 28:24). The oxen were urged on by a "goad," or long staff
pointed at the end, so that if occasion arose it could be used
as a spear also (Judg. 3:31; 1 Sam. 13:21).
When the soil was prepared, the seed was sown broadcast over
the field (Matt. 13:3-8). The "harrow" mentioned in Job 39:10
was not used to cover the seeds, but to break the clods, being
little more than a thick block of wood. In highly irrigated
spots the seed was trampled in by cattle (Isa. 32:20); but
doubtless there was some kind of harrow also for covering in the
seed scattered in the furrows of the field.
The reaping of the corn was performed either by pulling it up
by the roots, or cutting it with a species of sickle, according
to circumstances. The corn when cut was generally put up in
sheaves (Gen. 37:7; Lev. 23:10-15; Ruth 2:7, 15; Job 24:10; Jer.
9:22; Micah 4:12), which were afterwards gathered to the
threshing-floor or stored in barns (Matt. 6:26).
The process of threshing was performed generally by spreading
the sheaves on the threshing-floor and causing oxen and cattle
to tread repeatedly over them (Deut. 25:4; Isa. 28:28). On
occasions flails or sticks were used for this purpose (Ruth
2:17; Isa. 28:27). There was also a "threshing instrument" (Isa.
41:15; Amos 1:3) which was drawn over the corn. It was called by
the Hebrews a moreg, a threshing roller or sledge (2 Sam. 24:22;
1 Chr. 21:23; Isa. 3:15). It was somewhat like the Roman
tribulum, or threshing instrument.
When the grain was threshed, it was winnowed by being thrown
up against the wind (Jer. 4:11), and afterwards tossed with
wooden scoops (Isa. 30:24). The shovel and the fan for winnowing
are mentioned in Ps. 35:5, Job 21:18, Isa. 17:13. The refuse of
straw and chaff was burned (Isa. 5:24). Freed from impurities,
the grain was then laid up in granaries till used (Deut. 28:8;
Prov. 3:10; Matt. 6:26; 13:30; Luke 12:18).
an ordinance immediately instituted by Christ (Matt. 28:19, 20),
and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the
Supper, "till he come." The words "baptize" and "baptism" are
simply Greek words transferred into English. This was
necessarily done by the translators of the Scriptures, for no
literal translation could properly express all that is implied
The mode of baptism can in no way be determined from the Greek
word rendered "baptize." Baptists say that it means "to dip,"
and nothing else. That is an incorrect view of the meaning of
the word. It means both (1) to dip a thing into an element or
liquid, and (2) to put an element or liquid over or on it.
Nothing therefore as to the mode of baptism can be concluded
from the mere word used. The word has a wide latitude of
meaning, not only in the New Testament, but also in the LXX.
Version of the Old Testament, where it is used of the ablutions
and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by
immersion, and by affusion and sprinkling; and the same word,
"washings" (Heb. 9:10, 13, 19, 21) or "baptisms," designates
them all. In the New Testament there cannot be found a single
well-authenticated instance of the occurrence of the word where
it necessarily means immersion. Moreover, none of the instances
of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2:38-41;
8:26-39; 9:17, 18; 22:12-16; 10:44-48; 16:32-34) favours the
idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, or by
immersion, while in some of them such a mode was highly
The gospel and its ordinances are designed for the whole
world, and it cannot be supposed that a form for the
administration of baptism would have been prescribed which would
in any place (as in a tropical country or in polar regions) or
under any circumstances be inapplicable or injurious or
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the two symbolical
ordinances of the New Testament. The Supper represents the work
of Christ, and Baptism the work of the Spirit. As in the Supper
a small amount of bread and wine used in this ordinance exhibits
in symbol the great work of Christ, so in Baptism the work of
the Holy Spirit is fully seen in the water poured or sprinkled
on the person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
That which is essential in baptism is only "washing with water,"
no mode being specified and none being necessary or essential to
the symbolism of the ordinance.
The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Ghost
(Matt. 3:11) by his coming upon them (Acts 1:8). The fire also
with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary
event of Pentecost was explained by Peter as a fulfilment of the
ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last
days (2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression
shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (33). In
the Pentecostal baptism "the apostles were not dipped into the
Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed
forth, poured out, fell on them (11:15), came upon them, sat on
them." That was a real and true baptism. We are warranted from
such language to conclude that in like manner when water is
poured out, falls, comes upon or rests upon a person when this
ordinance is administered, that person is baptized. Baptism is
therefore, in view of all these arguments "rightly administered
by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person."
The subjects of baptism. This raises questions of greater
importance than those relating to its mode.
1. The controversy here is not about "believers' baptism," for
that is common to all parties. Believers were baptized in
apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all time by all
the branches of the church. It is altogether a misrepresentation
to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine
is "believers' baptism." Every instance of adult baptism, or of
"believers' baptism," recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2:41;
8:37; 9:17, 18; 10:47; 16:15; 19:5, etc.) is just such as would
be dealt with in precisely the same way by all branches of the
Protestant Church, a profession of faith or of their being
"believers" would be required from every one of them before
baptism. The point in dispute is not the baptism of believers,
but whether the infant children of believers, i.e., of members
of the church, ought to be baptized.
2. In support of the doctrine of infant baptism, i.e., of the
baptism of the infants, or rather the "children," of believing
parents, the following considerations may be adduced:
The Church of Christ exists as a divinely organized community.
It is the "kingdom of God," one historic kingdom under all
dispensations. The commonwealth of Israel was the "church" (Acts
7:38; Rom. 9:4) under the Mosaic dispensation. The New Testament
church is not a new and different church, but one with that of
the Old Testament. The terms of admission into the church have
always been the same viz., a profession of faith and a promise
of subjection to the laws of the kingdom. Now it is a fact
beyond dispute that the children of God's people under the old
dispensation were recognized as members of the church.
Circumcision was the sign and seal of their membership. It was
not because of carnal descent from Abraham, but as being the
children of God's professing people, that this rite was
administered (Rom. 4:11). If children were members of the church
under the old dispensation, which they undoubtedly were, then
they are members of the church now by the same right, unless it
can be shown that they have been expressly excluded. Under the
Old Testament parents acted for their children and represented
them. (See Gen. 9:9; 17:10; Ex. 24:7, 8; Deut. 29:9-13.) When
parents entered into covenant with God, they brought their
children with them. This was a law in the Hebrew Church. When a
proselyte was received into membership, he could not enter
without bringing his children with him. The New Testament does
not exclude the children of believers from the church. It does
not deprive them of any privilege they enjoyed under the Old
Testament. There is no command or statement of any kind, that
can be interpreted as giving any countenance to such an idea,
anywhere to be found in the New Testament. The church membership
of infants has never been set aside. The ancient practice,
orginally appointed by God himself, must remain a law of his
kingdom till repealed by the same divine authority. There are
lambs in the fold of the Good Shepherd (John 21:15; comp. Luke
1:15; Matt. 19:14; 1 Cor. 7:14).
"In a company of converts applying for admission into Christ's
house there are likely to be some heads of families. How is
their case to be treated? How, for example, are Lydia and her
neighbour the keeper of the city prison to be treated? Both have
been converted. Both are heads of families. They desire to be
received into the infant church of Philippi. What is Christ's
direction to them? Shall we say that it is to this effect:
'Arise, and wash away your sins, and come into my house. But you
must come in by yourselves. These babes in your arms, you must
leave them outside. They cannot believe yet, and so they cannot
come in. Those other little ones by your side, their hearts may
perhaps have been touched with the love of God; still, they are
not old enough to make a personal profession, so they too must
be left outside...For the present you must leave them where they
are and come in by yourselves.' One may reasonably demand very
stringent proofs before accepting this as a fair representation
of the sort of welcome Christ offers to parents who come to his
door bringing their children with them. Surely it is more
consonant with all we know about him to suppose that his welcome
will be more ample in its scope, and will breathe a more
gracious tone. Surely it would be more like the Good Shepherd to
say, 'Come in, and bring your little ones along with you. The
youngest needs my salvation; and the youngest is accessible to
my salvation. You may be unable as yet to deal with them about
either sin or salvation, but my gracious power can find its way
into their hearts even now. I can impart to them pardon and a
new life. From Adam they have inherited sin and death; and I can
so unite them to myself that in me they shall be heirs of
righteousness and life. You may without misgiving bring them to
me. And the law of my house requires that the same day which
witnesses your reception into it by baptism must witness their
reception also'" (The Church, by Professor Binnie, D.D.).
Resurrection of Christ
one of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ
be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the
New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On
the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ's
resurrection from the prediction in Ps. 16 (Acts 2:24-28). In
his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his
resurrection (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John
The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts
connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their
public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different
appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament.
They may be arranged as follows:
(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is
recorded at length only by John (20:11-18), and alluded to by
(2.) To certain women, "the other Mary," Salome, Joanna, and
others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1-10)
alone gives an account of this. (Comp. Mark 16:1-8, and Luke
(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See
Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.)
(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of
the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13-35. Comp.
Mark 16:12, 13).
(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others
"with them," at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection
day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance,
(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at
Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:33-40; John 20:26-28. See also
1 Cor. 15:5).
(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of
this appearance also John (21:1-23) alone gives an account.
(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an
appointed place in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; comp. Matt. 28:16-20).
(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not
informed (1 Cor. 15:7).
(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They
accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they
saw him ascend "till a cloud received him out of their sight"
(Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-10).
It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on
most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the
amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He
conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matt. 28:9;
Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42,
43; John 21:12, 13).
(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of
Christ's manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who
speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Saviour (Acts 9:3-9,
17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).
It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may
have been other appearances of which we have no record.
The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father
(Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12;
Heb. 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3)
of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ's release
from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father's
acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death
and the grave for all his followers.
The importance of Christ's resurrection will be seen when we
consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not
it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest
that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured
by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from
the dead (Rom. 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a
full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as
a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for
sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection
of all believers (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47-49; Phil. 3:21;
1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.
It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it
authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). "If Christ did
not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all
the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for
time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and
order, are proved to be chimeras. 'But now is Christ risen from
the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.'
Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The
kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as
lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of
good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured."
With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were
bribed (Matt. 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ's
resurrection, "his disciples came by night and stole him away
while we slept," Matthew Henry in his "Commentary," under John
20:1-10, fittingly remarks, "The grave-clothes in which Christ
had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for
an evidence that his body was not 'stolen away while men slept.'
Robbers of tombs have been known to take away 'the clothes' and
leave the body; but none ever took away 'the body' and left the
clothes, especially when they were 'fine linen' and new (Mark
15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its
clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen
it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be
supposed they would find leisure to 'fold up the linen.'"