New Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me
PAUL’S LAST YEARS AND BEYOND (Acts 28:29-31, Rom.-Jude)
By Wayne S. Walker
After the Jews in Rome who had come to hear Paul had departed amidst great disputation among themselves, the book of Acts leaves Paul dwelling for two whole years in his own rented home. We might say that he was under “house arrest.” During this time he was preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ without hindrance to everyone he could. Paul had already written several letters, most likely Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. While imprisoned at Rome, he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
Fairly reliable historical tradition says that Paul was released from his imprisonment and spent a couple of years travelling and preaching, perhaps as far as Spain (Romans 15:28). During this time he stationed Timothy at Ephesus and wrote 1 Timothy to him, and also stationed Titus on Crete and wrote Titus to him. The tradition then states that Paul was rearrested, taken to Rome, and imprisoned a second time. While there, he wrote 2 Timothy shortly before his death, which is generally thought to have been at Rome around A. D. 66 by beheading at the command of Nero.
Other inspired apostles and prophets were also writing letters to Christians in the latter part of the first century. No one knows exactly who penned the book of Hebrews, but if Paul wrote it, as many believe, it most likely was during his last days of freedom before his second imprisonment. A man named James, believed to have been the Lord’s brother (cf. Galatians 1:19), wrote an epistle, the apostle Peter penned two, the apostle John provided three, and Jude, also thought to be a brother to Christ, did one. These letters by Paul and the others, along with the four gospel accounts of Jesus’s life, the church history in Acts, and the final book of Revelation which we shall notice in the next two articles, make up the New Testament.
- How long did Paul dwell in his own rented home at Rome?
- How many letters did Paul write while imprisoned?
- What does tradition say happened to Paul after this first imprisonment?
- Where did he station Timothy?
- Where did he station Titus?
- Who are letter writers James and Jude generally believed to have been?
- What “office” did letter writers Peter and John occupy?
- What do we call the document beginning with the gospels and ending with Revelation?