Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "Later New Testament Epistles"
Notes on: THE EPISTLES OF PAUL
AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM IMPRISONMENT

 

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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1968

EPISTLES OF PAUL AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM IMPRISONMENT
Arthur S. Way in The Letters of St. Paul

For the events of the life of Paul after the close of the narrative of the Acts, our only direct source of information is his own letters. It is the unanimous tradition of the Church that he was tried at Rome and acquitted, and that for some two years he was a free man. As to his movements during that time there is no certainty and little agreement. He may possibly have carried out his intention, expressed in the letter to the Romans, of carrying the glad-tidings to Spain; but there is no trace of such a journey to be found in the letters which follow. He probably fulfilled his promise of visiting Philemon at Colossae; he speaks of leaving Ephesus for Macedonia; he refers to going with Titus to Crete, and to leaving him there on his departure. It may well be that he went around to all the churches he could visit in the time. We find him asking Titus to join him at Nicopolis, a flourishing seaport in Epirus on the East Coast of the Adriatic. Here it was, perhaps, that he was re-arrested, and sent to Rome to stand a second trial, with far less chance of acquittal. During his absence the great fire of Rome had occurred. Nero, charged with having caused it for his own amusement, was glad to shift the blame onto the shoulders of the Christians, whom (no doubt from their lack of sympathy with the heathen festivities which played so large a part in social life) popular prejudice had come to regard as "the enemies of the human race." The tolerance or favor with which the government may have been inclined at first to regard them had given place to ruthless hostility, and the "ringleader of the sect" had small chance of escape.



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