- Is there any documentary evidence for what happened to Paul after his two years under house arrest?
The First letter of Clement written to the believers in Corinth around 95 AD contains a section where Clement refers to the Fate of the Apostles under which he lists Paul as being martyred for his faith. Being martyred in those times always included some form of torture, either being burned at the stake, crucified, stoned, beheaded, dismembered, fed to wild animals, or by some other means which inflicted the maximum pain.
Ignatius of Antioch in his writings recorded around 110 AD that Paul was martyred.
The Acts of Paul which is an apocryphal work written around 160 AD simply records that “Nero condemned Paul to death by decapitation.”
Dionysius of Corinth recorded in his writings somewhere between 166 and 174 AD that Paul and Peter were martyred in Italy.
“therefore you also have by such admonition joined in close union the churches that were planted by Peter and Paul, that of the Romans and that of the Corinthians: for both of them were to our Corinth, and taught us in the same way they taught you when they went to Italy; and having taught you, they suffered martyrdom at the same time.”
Eusebius also quotes this same excerpt from Dionysius.
Tertullian in his Prescription Against Heretics chapter 36 records – “How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth their doctrine along with their blood; where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s; where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s [the Baptist]; where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile.”
Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 325) was an early Christian author who became an advisor to the first Roman Emperor, Constantine. He wrote in 318 AD that Nero crucified Peter and slew Paul.
Eusebius of Caesarea in his account of Church History in 320 AD testified that Paul was beheaded in Rome and Peter crucified. He wrote that the tombs of these two apostles, with their inscriptions, were existent in his time but makes no reference as to where their remains were located.
Jerome stated in his work “On Illustrious Men” in 392 AD that Paul was beheaded in Rome.
John Chrysostom, the Archbishop of Constantinople and an early Church Father wrote that Nero knew Paul personally and had him killed.
Sulpicius Severus wrote in his work Chronica II in AD 403 that Nero killed Peter and Paul.
- Is there an epitaph somewhere for Paul?
In 2002, an 8 foot long marble sarcophagus, inscribed with the words “PAULO APOSTOLO MART” (“Paul apostle martyr”) was discovered during excavations around the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wallson the Via Ostiensis. Vatican archaeologists declared this to be the tomb of Paul the Apostle in 2005. In June 2009, Pope Benedict XVI announced excavation results concerning the tomb. The sarcophagus was not opened but was examined by means of a probe, which revealed pieces of incense, purple and blue linen, and small bone fragments. The bone was radiocarbon-dated to the 1st or 2nd century. According to the Vatican, these findings support the conclusion that the tomb is Paul’s.
If you want an epitaph for Paul, I think there is none better recorded than those from Paul himself:
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.2 Timothy 4:6-8
I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me.Philippians 1:23
- Did you figure out for yourself why Paul did not appear before Caesar?
By the time Paul was released from house arrest, Nero was crazed and embittered against the Christians whom he blamed for the burning of Rome. There would have been no hearing. Despite the fact that Nero knew Paul personally as Chrysostom recorded, that would not have saved Paul from Nero vindictive madness.
- Why doesn’t Luke give us an account of what happened to Paul?
Luke’s purpose was not to give us a potted history of Paul’s Journeyings. His purpose was not focused on Paul at all, despite spending so much time with him. We will look at the Luke’s purpose and the ending of Acts in the final Gem in this series next.
- Why does the story just stop where it does?
- It seems like it doesn’t have an end. Like it is an anti-climax. What is going on Ian?
What has God called you to do? Don’t wait until you’re successful… Start now by saying you are what you want to become.Bob Gass
Your greatest obstacle to personal growth isn’t ignorance; it’s the illusion of knowledge. It’s believing you’ve ‘arrived.’Bob Gass
Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.Anon
In three more sleeps you will be faced with another new year: Pay attention to Hudson Taylor’s perspective – There are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”Hudson Taylor
What are you going to accomplish for God in this coming year?Ian Vail