QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT
- PEOPLE, PLACES, DEFINITIONS
Part 2 of 2
back to Part 1 of 2, A-J
K - Kingdom of Heaven
L - Lamb of God - Lamb, Passover - "Law and Prophets" - Law, the - Lazarus - Leprosy - Levi - Levites - Linus - Lord's Prayer - Lucius - Luke - Lydia - Lysanias - LXX
M - Magdala, Mary of - Magdalene, Mary - Magnificat, the - Manaen - Man, Son of - Marcion Canon - Mark - Mark, mother of - Mary - Masoretic text - Matthew the apostle - Matthias the "13th" apostle - Melchizedek - Myrrh
N - Nathanael - Nazarene - Nero - New Testament, Books of - Nicolas - Nunc Dimittis, the
O - Onesimus - Onesiphorus - Our Father, the
P - Pagans - Papyri - Palestine - Passover - Passover lamb - Patriarch - Patriarchs, the - Paulus, Sergius - Paul of Tarsus - Pentecost - Peter the apostle - Pharisees - Philemon - Philip - Philip (Herod) - Philippi - Philip the apostle - Philip the evangelist - Philip the tetrarch - Phoebe - Pilate, Pontius - Place of the Skull - Pontius Pilate - Porcius Festus - Prisca - Priscilla - Prodigal - Pudens
Q - Quirinius
R - Rahab - Roman citizens - Rome, Emperor's of - Roman Empire - Rome, the Christians of - Rufus - Ruth - Rylands papyri
S - Sadducees - Salome - Salvation - Samaritan - Santification - Satan - Saul of Tarsus - Scribes - Scripture - Secundus - Septuagint (LXX) - Sergius Paulus - Silas - Silvanus - Simeon - Simon - Simon Peter the apostle - Simon the apostle - Simon the tanner - Simon the Zealot - Skull, Place of - Slaves - Son of Man - Sopater - Sosipater - Sosthenes - Stephanas - Stephen - Syntache - Syriac - Syrian Antioch
T - Tabernacle - Talents - Tamar - Tarsus - Tax collectors - Temple - Tenth-part - Tertius - Tetrarch - Thaddaeus - Thessalonica - Thomas the apostle - Tiberius - Timothy - Tithe - Titius Justus - Titus - Trophimus - Tychicus
V - Vow - Vulgate
W - Wormwood - "Writings"
Z - Zealot - Zebedee, sons of - Zebulun and Naphtali - Zion
Kingdom of Heaven (or God) (Matt 3) - A New Testament phrase for Heaven and the reign of God, whether within the Christian believer or in the wider world. A description used throughout the Gospels by Jesus, and also by the writers of Acts and the Letters.
Lamb of God (John 1) - One of the titles of Jesus, found twice in John's Gospel, but as the "Lamb" only through much of the Book of Revelations. The lamb was a sacrificial animal commonly used in the Jerusalem Temple, and in the annual celebration of Passover
Lamb, Passover - see Passover Lamb
"Law and Prophets" - The "Law", or Jewish Torah, or five Books of Moses, or Pentateuch - the Old Testament Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The "Prophets" are the Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets from Hosea to Malachi.
Law, The (Matt 5) - From the Old Norse "lie", "lay". The Laws of God as set down by Moses in the first five books or Pentateuch of the Old Testament - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Also their detailed oral interpretation as it developed over the pre-Christian centuries
Lazarus (Luke 16) - This is the only time a character in a parable is named. Interestingly, it is the same name as the friend Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:1-44)
Leprosy (Matt 8) - From the Greek "scaly". The word covers a variety of skin diseases, some infectious, of which leprosy was only one -
Levi (Mark 2) - Otherwise Matthew (Hebrew, Mattathias) according to most commentators. He was possibly a brother of the apostle James, also son of an Alphaeus. See also Matthew the apostle
Levites (John 1) - A Hebrew word for descendants of Levi. A member of the tribe of Levi, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, especially those who were assistants to the priests of the Jewish Temple
Linus - see Pudens, Claudia & Linus
'Our Heavenly Father, may your name be honoured;
May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day the bread we need,
Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us.
Keep us clear of temptation, and save us from evil'." (Matt 6)
'Father, may your name be honoured -
may your kingdom come!
Give us each day the bread we need,
and forgive us our sins, for we forgive anyone who owes anything to us;
and keep us clear of temptation.'" (Luke 11)
Lucius (Acts 13) - Two men with this name appear in the New Testament. Here, in Acts in c AD46, as a leader of the church in Antioch, who came from Cyrene in North Africa. Then a decade later, in Romans 16:21, Paul lists a Lucius who sends greetings from Corinth to the church in Rome. These could be the same man
Luke (Colossians 4) - The first of only three times Luke's name is mentioned in the New Testament. Yet according to tradition, he wrote the Gospel of Luke, the Acts of the Apostles, and is the eyewitness in the four "we" and "us" sections of Acts summarised below:
(1) Acts 16:10-17 - In c AD50 during the Second Missionary Journey, Luke met Paul at Troas, and after Paul's vision of the man in Macedonia, sailed with him, Silas and Timothy across to Europe - to Neapolis and on to Philippi. He was then present at the conversion of Lydia, and certainly saw the girl with the clairvoyant spirit. However, Luke was not there in person when Paul drove out the spirit from the girl, and therefore escaped Paul and Silas' fate of a beating and imprisonment;
(2) Acts 20:5-15 - In c AD58, towards the end of Paul's Third Journey, Luke sailed from Philippi (where he might have stayed on with Lydia), to meet Paul's party at Troas. He was present when the sleepy young Eutychus fell from the window. Sailing to Assos, they met Paul, and reached Miletus where Paul addressed the elders of Ephesus;
(3) Acts 21:1-18 - From Miletus, Paul, Luke and the other companions journeyed on to Jerusalem and a warm welcome;
(4) Acts 27:1-28:16 - Luke was probably in Jerusalem when Paul was arrested, and followed him to Caesarea, possibly even writing his Gospel and drafting much of Acts there. Certainly two years later, Luke sailed with Paul on the voyage, via shipwreck in Malta, to Rome, arriving c AD61. Luke then remained with the imprisoned Paul for at least some of the time. Hence Luke's greetings from Rome to the Christians of Colossae (here in Colossians 4:14) and to Philemon (verse 24), in c AD 61-63.
Finally, Luke is again with Paul in Rome in c AD67, apparently the only person left by his side (2 Timothy 4:11)
Lydia (Acts 16) - Her home-town of Thyatira in the province of Asia is one of the seven churches John later wrote to in Revelations 2:18-29. As a dealer in purple-dyed cloth - the dye, Tyrian purple, came from a rare sea-shell and the expensive cloth was only worn by the wealthy - she must have been a successful business-woman. Also, as a woman, she is the first named convert in Europe, and as there was no synagogue, and of course, no churches, her home may have served as the first church in Philippi, and thus Europe. Luke also appears to have stayed there during his time in Philippi. Unfortunately, this is the first and almost the last time we hear of her
Lysanias (Luke 3) - Lysanias was ruler of Abilene at this time. In AD53 his territory was handed over to Agrippa II.
Magdala, Mary of - see Mary
Magdalene, Mary - see Mary
Magnificat, The (Luke 1) - "My heart is overflowing with praise of my Lord, my soul is full of joy in God my Saviour. For he has deigned to notice me, his humble servant and, after this, all the people who ever shall be will call me the happiest of women! The one who can do all things has done great things for me - oh, holy is his Name! Truly, his mercy rests on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has swept away the high and mighty. He has set kings down from their thrones and lifted up the humble. He has satisfied the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands. Yes, he has helped Israel, his child: he has remembered the mercy that he promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and his sons for evermore!" (Luke 1:46b-55, a canticle, or song using Biblical text, known as "The Magnificat" in Christian prayer-books. The full title in Latin is "Magnificat anima mea Dominum" - "My soul magnifies the Lord".)
Manaen (Acts 13) - As a foster-brother, he would have been brought up with Herod - the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who was banished in AD39. Luke's Gospel also reports that Jesus' women followers included a member of this same Herod's household - Joanna the wife of Chuza, his agent (Luke 8:3).
Man, Son of - see Son of Man
Marcion Canon - The first New Testament canon was probably drawn up by Marcion in c 150. He only included Luke's Gospel and ten of Paul's letters, heavily edited to remove Jewish influence. In reaction to Marcion's heresy, and to control the growing number of New Testament apocrypha, an accepted and authoritative canon became necessary. This happened gradually as it came to meet the needs of the universal Church and its members.
Mark - see John Mark
Mark, mother of - see Mary
Mary (Hebrew, Miriam) (Luke 8) - Six or seven Mary's appear in the New Testament:
In the Gospels:
(1) Mary, the mother of Jesus;
(2) Mary (Luke 8) known as Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala;
(3) Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus who lived at Bethany. It was she who probably anointed the feet of Jesus during his last week in Jerusalem;
(4) and (5) Mary, mother of the apostle James the Less and Joseph; and Mary, wife of Clopas both of whom were present at the crucifixion. They may be the same person;
In the Acts of the Apostles:
(6) Mary, mother of John Mark, the author of Mark's Gospel, who lived in Jerusalem; and
In the Letter to the Romans:
(7) Mary, included in Paul's greetings in his Letter
Masoretic text - The authoritative Hebrew Bible produced by Jewish scholars between the 5th and 10th centuries
Matthew the apostle - Also Levi, tax-collector or "publican". Nothing definite is known of Matthew's career. After preaching in Judea, different traditions place his missionary work and possible martyrdom in Ethiopia or Persia. The first Gospel of the New Testament has from the earliest times been attributed to Matthew. This is now disputed by many scholars.
Matthias the "13th" apostle - As a disciple from the time of Jesus' baptism through to his death and resurrection, and possibly one of the 72 sent out to preach and heal, Matthias was chosen by prayer and the drawing of lots to replace Judas Iscariot as the twelfth apostle, Acts 1:15-26. No more is heard of him in the New Testament, and the various traditions are made more confusing because of the similarity of his name to Matthew's. He may have preached and been martyred in Ethiopia, Other traditions place him in Judea, and later Cappadocia (eastern Turkey) and the Caspian Sea area.
Melchizedek (Hebrews 4) - The mysterious priest-king of Salem (Jerusalem), and priest of God Most High. In Genesis 14, after Abraham had rescued his kidnapped nephew Lot, Melchizedek brought out bread and wine, and blessed Abraham. In return, Abraham gave him a tenth, or tithe, of all he had.
Myrrh (Matt 2) - see Gold, Incense, Myrrh
Nathanael - see Bartholomew the apostle
Nazarene (Luke 4) - An inhabitant of Nazareth; an insulting name for early Christians. Not to be confused with Nazarite - people dedicated to sacred service, such as Samson in the Old Testament
Nero - see Rome, Emperor's of
New Testament, Books of the - Some scholars date some books of the New Testament to c AD150. In this 50 to 100 year period, the 27 books of the New Testament were written, completed and preserved: Four Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; One Acts - the Acts of the Apostles; 21 Letters or Epistles - 13 from Paul, one to the Hebrews, one from James, two from Peter, three from John, and one from Jude; One Apocalypse - Book of Revelation.
Nicolas (Acts 6: or Nicola) - Nothing more is heard of Nicolas. There is little reason to associate him with the "hated" Nicolaitans of the cities of Ephesus and Pergamum in Revelation chapter 2
Nunc Dimittis, The (Luke 2) - "At last, Lord, you can dismiss your servant in peace, as you promised! For with my own eyes I have seen your salvation which you have made ready for every people - a light to show truth to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32, a canticle known as the "Nunc Dimittis" - "now let depart").
Onesimus (Colossians 4) - A slave who had run away from his master Philemon in Colossae, reached Rome and become a Christian through Paul's teaching. He is now returning to the city of Colossae with Tychicus, a brave decision for a likely thief and escaped slave. The short Letter from Paul to Philemon which follows, is in effect a "covering letter", asking him to take back and forgive Onesimus.
Onesiphorus (2 Timothy 1) - Paul remembers Onesiphorus and his household with great affection from his time in Ephesus. He is also grateful for the effort Onesiphorus made to find him in his Roman prison. The implication of these verses and the closing greeting (2 Timothy 4:19) is that Onesiphorus is now dead.
Our Father, The - see Lord's Prayer
Pagans (or Heathens) (Matt 6) - "Pagan", Latin for a "peasant", "villager"; "Heathen" from the Old English. Anyone not belonging to the Jewish religion; later applied to those who did not belong to the Christian Church, a non-Christian.
Papyri (plural) - A document written on papyrus. See also Rylands papyri; Bodmer papyri; Chester Beatty papyri.
Palestine - A small but varied land, often harsh in character and with a long and complicated history. Understanding something of its physical and political geography helps to explain the volatile situation into which Jesus came and preached, and the terrain over which he travelled.
When Israel in the north ceased to exist in c 721BC, part of the area later became a territory known as Samaria. Most of Judah in the south, defeated in c 587BC, was later referred to as Judea. By the time of Jesus, Palestine comprised various territories. From north to south these were:
Chalcis and Abilene in the Roman province of Syria, north of ancient Iturea;
Iturea, including Panias and Ulatha, and Trachonitis with Batanaea, Gaulanitis (the modern Golan Heights) and Auranitis, all in south eastern Syria. They are referred to as Iturea and Trachonitis;
Galilee with the Sea of Galilee in modern northern Israel, which played an important part in the recorded life and ministry of Jesus;
Samaria, Judea and Idumea, that is much of modern central Israel plus the west bank of the River Jordan.
The chief city of the Roman rulers was Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast of Samaria. The Jewish capital was Jerusalem in Judea, where Jesus came a number of times, finally to be arrested, tried and crucified by the Jewish and Roman authorities.
The semi-independent Decapolis in modern northern Jordan, was a roughly defined area that included within its boundaries, most of the federated "Ten Cities" established by Alexander the Great.
One such city was Philadelphia - modern Amman, capital of Jordan. Other cities, one of which was Damascus, capital of modern Syria, were outside the boundaries;
Perea included much of the present east bank of the Jordan.
During New Testament times, these territories were ruled, at various dates in a variety of ways: (1) Direct from Rome through Roman province administrators or governors known as procurators; (2) Through the Roman governor of Syria, such as The Decapolis; and (3) By Roman-appointed Jewish kings, ethnarchs or rulers, and tetrarchs or rulers of a fourth part of a province.
Passover (Luke 2) - To pass over without touching. The Jewish Spring festival commemorating the Exodus, or escape of the Israelites under Moses from Egyptian slavery
Passover lamb (Luke 22) - At the climax of the power-struggles between Moses and the Egyptian Pharaoh leading to the Exodus (Exodus 7-12), a Passover lamb without defect was sacrificed. It's blood was used to mark the houses "passed over", or spared the death of their first-born - both human or animals
Patriarch (Acts 2) - "Family ruler" in Greek. Fathers of the human race, and of the Jewish nation, including Abraham, his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob, later called Israel, and the twelve sons of Israel.
Patriarchs, The (Matt 1) - Including Abraham (c 1,800BC, originally "Abram", a man of great faith, and father of nations, Genesis chapters 11-25), Isaac (Genesis 17-35), Jacob (later "Israel" and father of the 12 tribes, Genesis 25-50), Judah (father of the royal tribe of Israel, Genesis 29-50).
Paulus, Sergius - see Sergius Paulus
Paul the Apostle - Paul figures prominently in the Acts of the Apostles and his letters are a large part of the Letters of the New Testament. He also played a vital role in taking the Gospel to Gentiles and in developing a theology of Christianity proving it be a new religion and not a Jewish cult. Over the centuries, he has therefore been described by some commentators as the "inventor" of Christianity. But to place Paul into perspective within the Christian story, as important, as brilliant, as brave, as loyal to Christ as he was, a number of points should be borne in mind:
(1) It was Jesus during his ministry on earth, who preached the Gospel in Judea and beyond - and not only to Jews (for example Matthew 8:5-13 and 15:21-28, Luke 17:11-19);
(2) Of the apostles, it was Peter who first brought Gentiles into the Christian fold (Acts 10), and other Jews who converted many Gentiles in Syrian Antioch (Acts 11:19) before Paul's arrival there;
(3) The church in Rome was already established by the time Paul wrote his letter to the Romans;
(4) The areas evangelized by Paul - Cyprus, the the south and western half of Asia Minor, and Greece - cover only a part of the locations traditionally visited by the original apostles.
Paul (or Saul) of Tarsus travelled widely, made at least three major missionary journeys, wrote many letters of which thirteen still exist (some scholars dispute three of them), and his life and work is touched upon in a variety of ways in his letters. On returning to Jerusalem after his third journey, he was arrested and during his subsequent trials, as a Roman citizen "appealed to Caesar" for judgement - all covered by Acts 21-26. Chapters 27 and 28 then describe Paul's voyage and journey to Rome in fascinating nautical detail. Thereafter his life, and death is a matter of conjecture and tradition.
For some two years after his arrival in Rome, he was under house-arrest, before possibly being executed in the persecutions of Emperor Nero that followed the burning of Rome in AD64. If so, Paul's authorship of the three "Pastoral Letters" - 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus - can be open to doubt.
However, there are strong traditions that on appeal to the Emperor on what was a Jewish religious charge, he was acquitted. He remained free for perhaps three years, revisiting Ephesus and other churches, and even going as far as Spain, before being re-arrested and sentenced to death. In his cell, he wrote his last letter - the Second Letter to Timothy - before execution around the year AD67.
Tradition is he was beheaded at a place now called Tre Fontane in Rome, and that the church of St. Paul stands over his grave. The apocryphal "Acts of Paul" comes from the second century. They describe Paul as "a man small of stature, with a bald head and crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting and nose somewhat hooked, full of friendliness; for now he appeared like a man, and now he had the face of an angel!"
Pentecost (Acts 2) - The "birthday" of the Church. Greek for the "fiftieth", or 50 days after Easter. On this first occasion, it was held around the time of the Jewish Festival of Weeks, the annual Spring thanksgiving for the first grain harvest
Peter the apostle - Given the name Peter or Cephas, the "Rock", a fisherman. Peter worked among the Jews before he eventually reached Rome, where he was traditionally the first bishop. Along with the Apostle Paul, he may have been executed around AD64 during the persecutions of Emperor Nero, or later in AD67. Apparently he was crucified, head-down, at his own request. Later traditions claim that St. Peter's in Rome was built over his grave. Mark's Gospel is based on Peter's teaching, and Peter wrote The First Letter of Peter. Scholars still question the authenticity of the Second Letter of Peter. Apocryphal works associated with his name, but dating from the 2nd century and later include the Gospel of St. Peter and the Apocalypse or Revelation of St. Peter.
Apart from his journeys with Jesus, and the visit with the apostle John to Samaria after the work of Philip the Evangelist, Peter can be linked to three other locations:
(1) According to Galatians 2:11, he visited Syrian Antioch;
(2) He may have visited Corinth according to 1 Corinthians 1:12 as he was certainly known there;
(3) Traditionally he lived in Rome, and was martyred there in c AD64 or 67
Pharisees (Matt 3) - Hebrew for "Separated". Members of the conservative Jewish religious party - not a political party. They conformed to the written Law of Moses in the first five books of the Old Testament, and the traditional oral interpretation of them
Philemon & Apphia (Philemon) - Philemon, a man of property and affluence is probably married to Apphia. They are also the parents of Archippus, all of them living in Colossae. In his Letter to the Colossians (4:17), Paul encourages Archippus to continue with his Christian work
Philip (Acts 1; Greek Philippus) - Three Philips appear in the New Testament:
In the Gospels:
(1) Philip the apostle in Acts 1. See also Philip the apostle following;
(2) Philip, tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis 4BC-34AD; and
In the Acts of the Apostles:
(3) Philip the Evangelist, one of the first "deacons". See also Philip the evanghelist following;
A fourth Philip appears in other contemporary accounts:
(4) Philip, the member of the Herod family originally married to Herodias. Their daughter was Salome
Philip the apostle - Philip preached the Gospel in Phrygia (west central Turkey) before dying or being martyred there at Hieropolis. The apostle should be distinguished from Philip the "deacon" or Evangelist, who preached to the people of Samaria and baptised the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:4-8,26-39.
Philip the evangelist (Acts 6) - After the death of Stephen, Philip, known as the Evangelist, successfully preached the Gospel in Samaria (Acts 8:5), and shortly after, baptised the Ethiopian eunuch on the road to Gaza (Acts 8:26). He then went on to Caesarea, where we meet him some 25 years later, when Paul and Luke, the author of Acts, stay with Philip (Acts 21:8) on the last leg of their journey to Jerusalem and Paul's arrest
Philippi (Acts 16) - The ruins of Philippi are near modern Kavalla in northern Greece. It was then a city of Macedonia founded by Philip, the father of Alexander the Great. A Roman colony and military centre, governed directly from Rome, Philippi was situated on the Via Egnatian, the highway running east and west linking Rome to Byzantium (Istanbul)
Philip (Herod) - see Herod Family
Philip the tetrarch - see Herod Family
Phoebe (Romans 16) - An important woman in the life of the early Church. A deaconess and contributor to the church, she probably carried this Letter to the Romans, one of the most valuable ever written (according to Martin Luther and many other Christians) the 800 miles by sea to Rome
Pilate, Pontius - see Judea, Governor's of
Place of the Skull (Matt 27) - "Golgotha" in Aramaic and Hebrew. "Calvary" = Calvaria, or "skull" in Latin
Pontius Pilate (Luke 3) - see Judea, Governor's of
Porcius Festus - see Judea, Governor's of
Prisca - see Aquila & PriscillaPriscilla - see Aquila & Priscilla
Prodigal (Luke 15) - A squanderer, lavish waster
Pudens, Claudia & Linus (2 Timothy 4) - Pudens and Claudia were probably husband and wife, and Linus their son, who was traditionally bishop of Rome after the apostle Peter.
Quirinius - see Cyrenius
Rahab (Matt 1) - Listed in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 as one of the four female ancestors of Jesus, a Canaanite and a prostitute, she is also referred to in James 2. She lived in Jericho, and helped Joshua's spies before the attack on the city in c 1,200BC (Joshua 2 and 6) at the start of his campaign to conquer "the promised land" of Canaan.
Roman citizens (Acts 16) - They were only a small proportion of the total population, say 5 million in an Empire of 50-100 million - the rest being either free men or slaves. Citizenship offered special privileges, and was only granted to Italians, important or valued people from the provinces, inhabitants of Roman colonial towns such as Pisidian Antioch, Philippi and Corinth, and soldiers enrolled in the legions. They were subject to Roman Law and not to that of the provinces. To be born a citizen, Paul must have come from a highly privileged family
Rome, Emperor's of (Luke 3) :
27BC-AD14 - Augustus, during the birth and childhood of Jesus;
AD14-37 - Tiberius (Luke 3), during the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus;
AD37-41 - Caligula, in the early days when the Church existed mainly in Judea;
AD41-54 - Claudius, at the time of the apostle Paul's First and Second Missionary Journeys;
AD54-68 - Nero, during Paul's Third Journey, his arrest and voyage to Rome. Nero was also responsible for the first Roman persecution of Christians, including the deaths of the apostle's Peter and Paul
Roman Empire - By the birth of Jesus, Rome controlled most present-day countries bordering the Mediterranean basin including North Africa, was still expanding. Territories remaining to be conquered before the Empire of Rome reached its greatest extent under Trajan (emperor AD98-117) included: Mauretania - present day Morocco and parts of Algeria, Britannia - Britain, Dacia - Rumania and part of Hungary, Armenia, Mesopotamia and Assyria - which includes present day Iraq, Arabia - modern Jordan. The works of Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were widely circulated, and the people of the Roman Empire worshipped a variety of gods. Mithraism - a version of Zoroastrianism - became widespread for a time.
Roman Empire at its height
Provinces conquered after the birth of Jesus include the approximate date of conquest e.g. AD43.
The black area is the part of Germania lost by Rome in AD9
Rome, The Christians of - see Christians of Rome
Rufus (Romans 16) - This Rufus may be the same Rufus as the son of Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross of Jesus to Calvary some 25 years earlier (Mark 15:21)
Ruth (Matt 1) - From Moab, who schemed more subtly than Tamar, and married Boaz.
Rylands papyri (P52) - early 2nd cen, fragments of John's Gospel verses 18:31-33,37-38. Found in Egypt c 1920. Now in John Rylands Library, Manchester, England.
Sadducees (Matt 3) - A Hebrew word probably associated with descendants of "Zadok" the priest - 2 Samuel 8:17. Members of the aristocratic Jewish religious and political party that only accepted the written Law of Moses. They did not observe the oral interpretation, and denied the resurrection of the dead and the existence of spirits
Salome - see Herod Family
Salvation - Preserved from evil; the saving of man from the power and penalty of sin; the granting of eternal happiness.
Samaritan (Luke 17) - Of Samaria; a native of Samaria; survivors of the original northern kingdom of Israel who intermarried with other peoples; followers of the Samaritan religion that only accepted the Samaritan version of the Pentateuch Bible. Their hostility with the Jews was mainly for historical, and not religious reasons. Small numbers of Samaritans still live today in modern Israel.
Santification - Made, declared, regarded as, shown to be sacred or holy; free from sin or evil; set apart to sacred use.
Satan - see Devil, The
Saul of Tarsus - see Paul of Tarsus
Scribes (Matt 2) - From the Latin "to write". Professional scholars, interpreters and teachers of the Jewish Law; theologians and jurists. Both scribes and chief priests are often linked with elders in the New Testament. Elders from the Old English, "old". A title used throughout the Old Testament, and in the New Testament Gospels and Acts for Jewish religious officials and leaders. Later in the New Testament, in the Acts of the Apostles, and some of the Letters, "elders" refers to leaders in the early Christian Church
Scripture (Matt 4) - From the Latin "to write". The books of the Old Testament, and later, for Christians, also the New Testament
Secundus (Acts 20) - Linked with Aristarchus, who had already been introduced. Secundus, also from Thessalonica is not heard of again in the New Testament.
Septuagint (LXX) - From Latin for "seventy". A Greek translation of the Jewish Bible and Apocrypha made for the growing number of Greek-speaking Jews scattered throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East area. The work started in c 250BC in Alexandria, Egypt with the translation of "The Law", traditionally made by 72 (or 70 = LXX) Jewish scholars.
Sergius Paulus (Acts 13) - Roman governor of the island province of Cyprus at the time of Paul's first missionary journey. An inscription with his name was found in Cyprus thus confirming his governorship. The writings of Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman naturalist and scholar, also describe Paulus as "an intelligent man"
Silas (or Silvanus) (Acts 15) - Like Barnabas, Silas had an important role in the early life of the Church. By c AD49 he must have held a position of some authority in Jerusalem, before travelling to Syrian Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. According to some early manuscripts he then stayed, and did not return to Jerusalem with Judas Barsabbas (Acts 15:34).
After Paul's dispute with Barnabas about John Mark's "desertion", he selected Silas as his companion on the Second Missionary Journey (Acts 15:40). Later joined by Timothy, Silas shared much of Paul's experiences, including beatings and imprisonment in Philippi (Acts 16:22), opposition in Thessalonica (Acts 17:1), and some success in Berea (Acts 17:10). When Paul is forced to go on to Athens, Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. They later rejoined Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:5).
When Paul writes his First and Second Letters to Thessalonica from Corinth in c AD52, he includes Silvanus (Silas) in his opening greetings (verses 1:1). Then in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, c AD57, Paul refers to the work of Silas and Timothy during their stay in Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:19).
We last hear of Silas, probably in Rome c AD64, as secretary to the apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:12).
Silvanus - see Silas
Simeon - Three Simeons appear in the New Testament:
(1) Simeon (Luke 2) who blesses the infant Jesus;
(2) The apostle Simon Peter is sometimes called Simeon; and
(3) Simeon surnamed Niger, a leader of the church in Syrian Antioch 50 years later, when the apostle Paul sets out on his First Missionary Journey. Nothing more is heard of this Simeon after his mention in Acts 13
Simon - Nine Simons:
(1) The apostle Simon Peter;
(2) The apostle Simon the Patriot, or the Zealot;
(3) Simon, the father of Judas Iscariot;
(4) Simon the Pharisee in whose house the feet of Jesus were anointed by "a bad woman";
(5) Simon (Matt 13), brother of Jesus;
(6) Simon the leper in whose house in Bethany Jesus was anointed in a separate incident from the one involving Simon the Pharisee. The woman in this case was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus;
(7) Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross of Jesus to his place of execution on Calvary; and
In the Acts of the Apostles:
(8) Simon the magician baptised by Philip the Evangelist in Samaria; and
(9) Simon the tanner with whom the apostle Peter stayed in Joppa.
Simon Peter the apostle - see Peter the apostle
Simon the tanner (Acts 9) - The second Simon in Acts. The first was Simon the magician in Samaria (Acts 8:9)
Simon the Zealot, the apostle - Simon the Zealot or Patriot is referred to both as the "Cananaean" and the "Zealot". The titles may refer to him being "zealous", or to his membership of one of the Jewish revolutionary movements known as Zealots. Nothing else is known about him. One tradition is that he first preached in Egypt, before joining Jude and travelling to Persia, where both were martyred. Simon may have been crucified or hacked to death.
Skull, Place of the Skull - see Place of the Skull
Slaves (Philemon) - That Paul a Christian enjoying freedom in Christ, should not have condemned the slavery of Onesimus may seem strange. Yet slavery was for millennia an accepted practice in all societies. To overthrow, or even question it in an Empire whose economy depended on, and who even killed slaves for entertainment was out of the question 2,000 years ago. However in showing that Philemon, the rich master, and Onesimus the poor slave were truly brothers in Christ, Paul played his part in the long journey towards official abolition in the 18th and 19th centuries. Sadly, slavery in various forms still exists in many parts of the world today
Son of Man (John 1) - This title is found only a few times in the Old Testament, except in the case of the apocalyptic book of Ezekiel. In the New Testament, it is frequently used in the Gospels by Jesus to describe himself, and just once or twice each by the writers of Acts, Hebrews, and Revelations
Sopater (Acts 20) - Sopater may be the Jewish Christian Sosipater, included in Paul's greetings in his Letter to the Romans (16:21), especially as this Letter was probably sent from Corinth
Sosipater (Romans 16) - The third Jewish Christian listed after Lucius and Jason. He was probably from Corinth. Shortly, in Acts 20:4, a Sopater of Berea is one of Paul's companions on his return journey from Greece (Corinth) to Jerusalem. Sosipater and Sopater may be the same man
Sosthenes (Acts 18) - The only other Sosthenes is found in the First Letter to the Corinthians 1:1, written from Ephesus back to Corinth some 5 years later. Here Paul refers to a Christian brother of this name. It is quite possible that only a few years after being one of those accusing Paul of "perverting men's minds", and being beaten for his efforts, Sosthenes the synagogue-leader had become a follower of Christ, and secretary to Paul
Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1) - He was a founder-member of the Corinthian church in c AD52, and Fortunatus & Achaicus (introduced later in 1 Corinthians 16:17) may have been part of his household. These three have travelled to Ephesus, possibly carrying with them a letter from the church in Corinth, to which Paul is now replying. The manner in which Paul suddenly remembers he baptised Stephanas' family 5 years earlier, suggests Stephanas was present during Paul's dictation, and jogged his memory - "don't forget my family!".
Stephen (Acts 6) - The Deacon. He is accused of blasphemy, and after defending himself before the Sanhedrin, is stoned to death. The future apostle Paul, at this time fully committed to Judaism and the destruction of the Jesus cult, looked on with approval. Stephen's death led to members of the Church being scattered throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, and thus to its rapid growth. Some 25 year later, in his own defence in Jerusalem, Paul describes the death of Stephen to the Jewish crowd (Acts 22:20)
Syntache - see Euodias (Euodia) & Syntache
Syriac - Aramaic language spoken in ancient Syria.
Syrian Antioch (Acts 11) - present day Antakya in southern Turkey. This Antioch was known as "Queen of the East", capital of the province of Syria, and the third largest city in the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria. With a population of over half a million people, it was located on the River Orontes, and a junction of trade routes between East and West. It should not to be confused with Pisidian Antioch, a Phrygian town in the Roman province of Galatia.
Tabernacle (Hebrews 8) - The original tabernacle was the place of worship built in the desert to God's detailed instructions (Exodus 25-27) given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Within the tabernacle courtyard was the altar where the Levite priests made the prescribed blood and other sacrifices. Beyond it was the "holy of holies" where God met with his people.
Talents (Matt 25) - In money value: 1 talent = 60 minas, 1 mina = 100 drachmas, and 1 drachma, the standard Greek silver coin = one Roman denarius, a day's pay. One talent was thus a considerable sum of money - 6,000 drachmas or 16 years pay!
Tamar (Matt 1) - Probably a Canaanite, an adulterous and scheming daughter-in-law of Judah
Tarsus (Acts 9) - Capital of Cilicia in Asia Minor, and Paul's home. A Greek-speaking, Roman province in south-eastern Asia Minor, an important city, and major centre of learning. Tarsus was on the highway linking Syrian Antioch and the rest of the Middle East, with the provinces of Galatia and Asia to the west
Tax collectors (Matt 9) - "Publicans" in Latin. Jewish or other local people who collected taxes for the Roman authorities. Jewish tax-collectors were thrice despised - they dealt with Gentiles, they were extortioners, and they collaborated with the occupying power
Temple (Matt 4) - From the Latin for an open or consecrated place, a place of worship. The three successive buildings of Jewish worship in Jerusalem. In Christian terms, the place where God lives, whether in our body or heart.
Tenth-part (or tithe; (Luke 18) - "Tithe", Old English for a tenth. Originally one tenth of the produce of land or labour given to God (Leviticus 27:30) to support the Temple and its priesthood (Numbers 18:21). Applied to Christians, it should mean returning one tenth of their time, possessions, money, to honour and further God's work on earth.
Tertius (Romans 16) - The scribe or secretary who wrote down Paul's dictation. Interesting research suggests the original manuscript scroll of Romans was 12 feet (3.6m) long, and took some 12 hours for Paul to dictate. In the unhurried case of the Letter to the Romans, this would have been over a period of days, with frequent interruptions and possibly suggestions and comments from some of those present
Tetrarch - Roman-appointed Jewish king or ruler of a "fourth" part of a province in Palestine. See also Palestine; ethnarch
Thaddaeus - see Jude the apostle
Thessalonica (Acts 17) - Modern Salonika or Thessalonika. A free city, capital of the Roman province of Macedonia in northern Greece. Thessalonica was a major port, and like Philippi, located on the east-west Egnatian highway, and thus an important centre of trade by land and by sea.
Thomas the apostle - Also Thomas Didymus, the "Doubting Thomas. He may have laboured for the Gospel in Parthia (including modern Iraq and Iran), but stronger traditions link him with southern India. Indian Christians from the west coast Kerala area claim they were evangelized by Thomas, who was later speared to death near Madras on the east coast. Mount St. Thomas, close to Madras is associated with his name. Apocryphal writings include the 3rd or 4th century Acts of Thomas, and the Gospel of Thomas.
Tiberius (Luke 3) - see Rome, Emperor's of
Timothy (Acts 15) - Over the next 18 years, Timothy is frequently found working alongside Paul. After joining him at Lystra at the start of the Second Journey, they travel to Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. There Paul is forced to leave and taken to Athens, while Timothy and Silas stay (Acts 17:14). They later join Paul, and from Athens, Timothy, and probably Silas are sent north again to Thessalonica to encourage the church (1 Thessalonians 3:1-2). Later, back with Paul who is now in Corinth (Acts 18:5), they give a favourable report (1 Thessalonians 3:6) and Paul writes his First, and later Second Letters to the Thessalonians, c AD52. Both Timothy and Silas are included in the opening greetings (verses 1:1).
During the Third Journey c AD53-58, we next meet Timothy at Ephesus, being sent by Paul to help the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17). The Corinthians are asked to support him on his arrival (1 Corinthians 16:10). Later, back in Ephesus, he and Erastus are sent on ahead of Paul to Macedonia (Acts 19:22).
When Paul reaches Macedonia and writes his Second Letter to the Corinthians c AD57, Timothy is included in the opening greetings (1:1). He also refers to Timothy as one of those who preached the Gospel in Corinth five years earlier during the Second Journey (2 Corinthians 1:19).
As the Third Journey comes to a close, they arrive in Corinth from Macedonia, and when Paul writes his Letter to the Romans, Timothy is again listed in the greetings (Romans 16:21). Then as Paul returns to Jerusalem, Timothy is one of his travelling companions, c AD58 (Acts 20:4).
A few years later, c AD61-63, Timothy is staying in Rome with the imprisoned Paul, and included in the opening greetings of three Letters - to the Philippians, the Colossians, and to Philemon (all verses 1:1). The Letter to Philippi includes the hope that the much valued Timothy would pay them a visit (Philippians 2:19,22).
After Paul's presumed release, Paul writes his First Letter to Timothy (1:2,18; 6:20), perhaps from Macedonia. Then his Second Letter (1:2), but this time from prison in Rome just before his execution c AD67. Both Letters are sent to Ephesus where Timothy is a minister, to instruct, encourage and strengthen him.
Finally, the author of Hebrews (13:23) reports that "brother Timothy is now at liberty", but the circumstances are not known.
Tithe - see Tenth-part
Titius Justus - see Justus, Titius
Titus (2 Corinthians 2) - For some unknown reason, Titus is not mentioned by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. By contrast, Paul refers to him in three letters, and sends him the Letter of Titus, covering in total a period of more than twenty years.
In Galatians, possibly written from Macedonia, c AD56 or 57, Paul describes how 14 years earlier (c AD43 or 44), Titus joined him and Barnabas on a visit to Jerusalem (2:1). And how, as a Greek and early Gentile convert, he was not forced to be circumcised (2:3).
Now, in 2 Corinthians (c AD57), as Paul reports making his way from Ephesus across to Macedonia, he finds Titus is not waiting at Troas as he had hoped (2:13). By 2 Corinthians 7:6, Titus has arrived in Macedonia with joyful news about the positive turn of events in Corinth. Verses 7:13,14, 8:6,16, and 12:18 refer to Titus's two visits to Corinth (this and an earlier one), his love for the church there, his part in collecting gifts for the Jerusalem church, and how he will apparently be carrying this, Paul's Second Letter, to Corinth (8:17). Paul also uses the letter as an opportunity to describe Titus' value as a companion and fellow-worker (8:23).
Ten years later, the Letter to Titus (c AD66) is sent to Titus (1:4) in Crete (1:5) where he is now serving as a minister.
Finally, in c AD67, Paul, writing from prison to Timothy reports that Titus has now gone to Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10).
Trophimus (Acts 20) - On reaching Jerusalem, Trophimus is held partly responsible for the arrest of Paul. Recognized in the city with Paul, the assumption is made that Trophimus, a Gentile from Ephesus has entered the Temple area (Acts 21:29), an offence punishable by death. The only other mention of him is in the Second Letter to Timothy (4:20), when Paul writes that he left the sick Trophimus in Miletus. By tradition, Trophimus was martyred in Rome in c AD67 during the persecutions of Nero.
Tychicus (Acts 20) - Three years later, Paul is in prison in Rome, c AD61-63, and writes the Letters to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and to Philemon for delivery by Tychicus. In Ephesians 6:21 and Colossians 4:7, Paul commends him highly. In Colossians 4:9 we learn Tychicus is taking Onesimus the escaped slave, and subject of the Letter to Philemon back to Colossae.
By c AD66, Paul is planning to send Tychicus from Macedonia or Ephesus to join Titus in Crete (Titus 3:12). Then in c AD67 as Paul prepares to die in Rome, he sends Tychicus back to his home-town of Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:12).
Vow (Acts 18) - Probably a Nazarite vow taken by Jews to give thanks to God for his goodness. This is described in the Old Testament in Numbers 6:1-2.1. It involved not taking meat or wine for a period and letting the hair grow. Then an offering was made, and the hair shorn and burnt at the altar. Although a strictly Jewish custom, Paul does not appear to have persuaded any Jewish Christians to abandon their ancient practises. It would therefore be natural for him to show his gratitude to God in a time-honoured way.
Vulgate - From Latin "vulgata", "to make public" = in common use. Latin translation of the Christian Bible made in the 4th century by Jerome, much of it in Bethlehem. The Vulgate was in wide use until the Reformation, and is still the official text of the Catholic church.
Wormwood (Revelation 8) - A type of wood, "apsinthion" in Greek. A liqueur made from extract of wormwood is the French "absinthe". In Old Testament terms the bitterness of wormwood represents divine punishment.
"Writings" - The Jewish Bible and Old Testament Books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles.
Zealot (Matt 10) - Related to "zeal" from the Greek "to boil". Member of one of the Jewish partisan or terrorist groups dedicated to overthrowing Roman rule of Palestine.
Zebedee, sons of - see James the apostle; John the apostle
Zebulun and Naphtali (Matt 4) - Two of the twelve tribes of Israel whose original land coincided with part of the Galilee territory.
Zion (Matt 21) - Hebrew name for one of the hills of Jerusalem on which King David built his city. Also a collective name for the Jewish people or religion, and for the Christian Church. The city or Kingdom of God in Heaven.
to Part 2 Contents List
back to Part 1 of 2 - A-J OR back to New Testament Questions