While being held in custody in Caesarea, Paul appealed to have his court case heard by Caesar himself, as was his right as a Roman citizen (Acts 25:12). Then, on his way to Rome, an angel said to Paul

Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you. (Acts 27:24)

So we know Paul must have stood before Caesar, although the actual record of it is not found in the Bible.

It was prophesied that he would preach “before the Gentiles and kings” (Acts 9:15), and so his appearance before Caesar was a fulfilment of this prophecy.

Later, when writing to the Philippians from Rome, Paul wrote “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household” (Phil 4:22). So it seems he had made friends with those in the household of Caesar while waiting for his case to be heard.

The emperor at the time was the tyrannical Nero, although he was actually relatively sane at this stage of his reign. The empress Poppaea may have influenced him as, according to Josephus, she was “a worshipper of the true God” and probably favourably disposed to Christians.

About 200 years later, Eusebius recorded that “after defending himself successfully, it is currently reported that the Apostle again went forth to proclaim the Gospel, and afterwards came to Rome a second time, and was martyred under Nero.” (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, 2.22). There are also many other early church writings which say he was released and embarked on new missionary journals (notably to Spain — see Meinardus (1978)).

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4 Responses to Did Paul stand before Caesar?

  1. Ben Bush says:

    Great post, Rob, thanks!

  2. C. Michael Pilato says:

    The Euseblus document also notes the words of Paul found in 2 Timothy 4:16: “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” I must assume that “everyone” includes the author of Acts of the Apostles, from whose first-person point of view the bulk of the testimony of Paul’s journey toward Rome was recorded. That might explain why we have no record of Paul’s hearing with Caesar in that selfsame book.

  3. Nampy says:

    I Salut the church and bredren in other parts of the world by God’s grace, it is my prayer and supplication that God’s word should run without any hindrance, as we are patiently waiting for our soon coming king Jesus Christ the righteous.

  4. White, Kenneth says:

    It is of my belief it was Paul’s desire to appeal to Caesar. It was God’s plan to have a platform for Paul to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles in the greatest and safest city at that time.

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