St Publius by ydislins

noprem's picture

Here's what the KJV has to say:
"In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously. And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed: Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded [us] with such things as were necessary."
There were no Christians on the island at that time, which almost all commentators take to be Malta. Even today those islanders are known for their hospitality.
As to the "bishop" business, there was a tendency of early writers to assign offices to almost anyone mentioned in the NT. A look through the Catholic Encyclopedia of about 100 years ago (at ) will show you this. (BTW that site doesn't have an entry for Publius.) When Luke calls him the "the chief man of the island" he means a chief or secular leader or local king of some kind.
His father's disease was probably dysentery, which often proved fatal in those pre-antibiotic days, so Paul's cure was no trivial thing.
Finally, here's what one of our Jehovah's Witness publications has to say:
"(Pub′li·us) [from Lat., meaning “Popular”].
A wealthy land-owning resident of Malta who kindly entertained Paul and those with him for three days after their shipwreck on the island. Paul, in turn, healed Publius’ father of fever and dysentery.—Ac 28:7, 8.
Publius was “the principal man of the island.” In this instance such a designation appears to denote an official title comparable to governor, probably denoting the leading Roman officer on the island.
" -From Insight on the Scriptures, vol. 2, p. 714

noprem's picture

Add Publius:

I just found this, in the Encyclopedia I mentioned: It sounds like the source of the information you mentioned.
"The Church in Malta was founded by St. Paul, and St. Publius, whose name is mentioned in the Acts, was its first bishop. After ruling the Maltese Church for thirty-one years he was, we are told, transferred in A.D. 90 to the See of Athens, where he was martyred in 125."
"St. Publius, whose name is mentioned in the Acts, was its first bishop" is tradition, not scripture, as seen by another comment: "Though a complete list of bishops from the days of St. Paul to Constantine has been made out, its authenticity is more than doubtful."
Then: "Still there seems no reason to suppose that, during the early days of persecution, the flock was long without a shepherd." In fact, it was a few centuries at least before we find a clear reference to the 'one city, one bishop' favored by Catholics and others.
Next, the time lapse until a more certain record is long: "In 451 there was an Acacius, Melitenus Episcopus, [Acacius, Bishop of Melita] whose name is subscribed to the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon."