The Lukan narrative: ΠΡΑΞΕΙΣ ΤΩΝ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΩΝ 13:4-13. 1550 Stephanus New Testament

© 2012 Simon Peter Sutherland

4 ουτοι μεν ουν εκπεμφθεντες υπο του πνευματος του αγιου κατηλθον εις την σελευκειαν εκειθεν τε απεπλευσαν εις την κυπρον

5 και γενομενοι εν σαλαμινι κατηγγελλον τον λογον του θεου εν ταις συναγωγαις των ιουδαιων ειχον δε και ιωαννην υπηρετην

6 διελθοντες δε την νησον αχρι παφου ευρον τινα μαγον ψευδοπροφητην ιουδαιον ω ονομα βαριησους

7 ος ην συν τω ανθυπατω σεργιω παυλω ανδρι συνετω ουτος προσκαλεσαμενος βαρναβαν και σαυλον επεζητησεν ακουσαι τον λογον του θεου

8 ανθιστατο δε αυτοις ελυμας ο μαγος ουτως γαρ μεθερμηνευεται το ονομα αυτου ζητων διαστρεψαι τον ανθυπατον απο της πιστεως

9 σαυλος δε ο και παυλος πλησθεις πνευματος αγιου και ατενισας εις αυτον

10 ειπεν ω πληρης παντος δολου και πασης ραδιουργιας υιε διαβολου εχθρε πασης δικαιοσυνης ου παυση διαστρεφων τας οδους κυριου τας ευθειας

11 και νυν ιδου χειρ του κυριου επι σε και εση τυφλος μη βλεπων τον ηλιον αχρι καιρου παραχρημα δε επεπεσεν επ αυτον αχλυς και σκοτος και περιαγων εζητει χειραγωγους

12 τοτε ιδων ο ανθυπατος το γεγονος επιστευσεν εκπλησσομενος επι τη διδαχη του κυριου

13 αναχθεντες δε απο της παφου οι περι τον παυλον ηλθον εις περγην της παμφυλιας ιωαννης δε αποχωρησας απ αυτων υπεστρεψεν εις ιεροσολυμα

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The Lukan narrative: The Deeds of the Apostles 13: 4-13 Wycliffe New Testament

“But they were sent of the Holy Ghost and went forth to Seleucia, and from thence they went by boat to Cyprus. And when they came to Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of Jews, and they had also John in ministry. And when they had walked by all the isle to Paphos, they found a man, a witch, a false prophet, a Jew, to whom the name was Barjesus, that was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus, a prudent man.

This called Barnabas and Paul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the witch withstood them; for his name is expounded so; and he sought to turn away the proconsul from belief. But Saul, which is said also Paul, was filled with the Holy Ghost and beheld into him, and said, Ah, thou full of all guile, and all falseness! Thou son of the devil, thou enemy of all rightwiseness, thou leavest not to turn upside-down the rightful ways of the Lord. And now lo, the hand of the Lord is on thee, and thou shalt be blind, and not seeing the sun into a time. And anon, mist and darkness felled down on him, and he went about, and sought him that should give hand to him. Then the proconsul, when he had seen the deed, believed, wondering on the teaching of the Lord.

And when from Paphos Paul had gone by boat, and they that were with him, they came to Perga of Pamphylia; but John departed from them, and turned again to Jerusalem”

Paphos Harbour and Acts 13: 13

Paphos Harbour

According to Acts 13: 13, Paul and his company, which included Barnabus and the gospel writer Mark, who, once they had finished somewhat their work on the island, set sail from Paphos to head for Perga in Pamphylia and John Mark departed from them and went to Jerusalem.

The original harbour from the time of the Apostles still remains and can be seen and explored even today.

It was this harbour where they set sail from. And although the harbour has changed since the 1st century, the remains of the original Roman harbour can be seen from the coastline and with more detail by snorkellers.

© 2012 Simon Peter Sutherland

The Villa of Theseus, Paphos

The Villa of Theseus, reception hall

The house of Theseus or the Governors Palace, as it is also known was discovered in the 1960’s.

In 1965 the Polish Archaeological Mission from the university of Warsaw excavated at Pahpos and found an excellent amount of remains from ancient Paphos (A guide to Biblical sites in Greece and Turkey. Fant/Reddish. Page 354. Oxford University press. Note: This book actually claims the date of 1966, but Cyprus officials claim the date to be 1965).

The recently excavated area known as the Archaeological site at Paphos, is near the harbour. It contains many distinct links to the Biblical Narrative of Acts 13: and primarily the spot which, I think, was the actual site where Paul stood before the one Sergius Paulus, the proconsul and Roman official. Cyprus had been made a Roman province in 58 BC and in 27 BC it became a Senatorial province and by the time Paul, Barnabus and Mark visited the island, it was governed by the Proconsul (Acts 13: 7)

Until 1966 archaeologists and historians claimed their was no evidence for Sergius Paulus, or a proconsul at Cyprus but when the seat of the Proconsul was found during excavations, it proved that Luke was right after all. The Bible has a habit of vindicating itself against historical objections made by archaeologists and historians. Such was the case with this find in 1965. Today however, there remains little or no mention of the connection between what is called “The house of Theseus” and Acts 13. In fact, an authority at this site during my first visit to Paphos made it clear to me the site had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with St Paul or the New Testament? I respectfully disagreed.

The fact remains that the area what could be known as the governors palace is said to date back to the 2nd century AD and some towards the 4-5th centuries AD, in their present revealed form. However, if foundational remains do in fact date to the 2nd century AD, this does not exclude this site as being the actual place or area of Paul’s encounter with Sergius Paulus, in fact, we could conclude that if the site is 2nd century AD as suggested, then it is more than possible that the Roman official built this villa upon earlier houses of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. However. The evidence only suggests a date of mid 2nd century AD, but such conclusions are only drawn from what we know at present and are not absolute. However, more evidence may appear at a later date which if so, should offer us more insight into an absolute accurate date? However, I am certain that the evidence more than suggests that this was the spot, if not the actual villa at which the events of Acts 13: took place. It is probable that Paul stood before Sergius Paulus in the area which is known as the Double room or at least in a hall such as this.

The distinct importance of this area historically, is that it does not even remotely contradict the Biblical Narrative and it is likely that after this event at this spot, that Paul, the Saul referred to himself by his Roman name of ‘Paul’. I say this because prior to Acts 13: 9 Paul is referred to as “Saul” whereas from the moment the Roman Proconsul, who’s name is remarkably similar, “Sergius Paulus” was converted, Paul is referred to by Luke as “Paul”. This means that Paul connected his Roman name to that of ‘Sergius Paulus’ and it was from the port at Paphos where Paul is first referred to as “Paul” (Acts 13: 13)

This event is one of the most significant events of Cypriot history and this is due to the conversion of the Roman Official and King Official Sergius Paulus. This was Christianity’s first penetration into the Roman Empire and no doubt led to a significant amount of Roman persecution upon Christians by Roman Emperors in the years to come.

© 2012 Simon Peter Sutherland

St Paul’s Pillar, Paphos

St Pauls Pillar, Paphos

Local legend at Paphos lays claim to a Column known as St Paul’s Pillar upon which it is said that Paul was tied and given the forty lashes minus one by the Jews, in other words he was scourged with 39 lashes, according to the Judaic system.

There is no actual historical evidence for this claim and it is one of those historical legends which could be true, or could be false. However, we do have a reference to Paul being beaten and given the forty lashes minus one for a total of 5 times, according to the composition date of that letter which is believed to have been written sometime around 53-57 AD we could conclude that Paul is referring to this event and since Acts of the Apostles which concludes around the year AD 60 and was most likely written around 60-61 AD, mentions not the events written in 2 Corinthians 11: 24 in AD 53-57, we can conclude that the book of Acts does not contain everything that happened during this period but contains a brief or record of important events that took place. Thus, it is possible that the events Paul writes about 2 Corinthians 11: 24 may include the scourging event at Paphos?

However, which columns or columns that Paul was tied upon, is subject to debate, if it matters, which I think it does from a historical perspective. The problem is that H V. Morton in his 1936 book ‘In the steps of St Paul’ Page 140, records that he visited Paphos and refers to this area where the Column now stands and concludes the area to be what must have been either a Roman Temple or a market place and refers to the “Two granite columns” and also “a broken Roman pillar surrounded by a whitewashed wall and covered with iron bands to prevent people from chipping off fragments as a cure for malaria. This is called St. Paul’s pillar”. The point being that he adds a photograph in the book of the two larger granite columns and labels them, “St Paul’s Pillars”.

I wonder if they too are also connected?

© 2012 Simon Peter Sutherland

The Lukan narrative: Acts 13: 4-13 King James Version

© 2012 Simon Peter Sutherland

“So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister. And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”

Acts 13: 4-13