Acts 18:2, The Jews Are Expelled From Rome

There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.

//Sometimes it’s interesting to tie scripture to history, just to put Biblical events in historical context. In today’s verse, the writer of Acts tells of Paul meeting up with a couple of Christians who had been ordered to leave Rome.

This order by Emperor Claudius came in the year 49 CE, as reported by Roman historian Suetonius. All Jews had to leave Rome. Jewish Christians, of course, would have also been expelled. The order was rescinded in 54, when a number of Jews began to return home. Christian communities that were for many years completely Gentile would thus once again mix with Jews.

But how would the returning Jews fit back in? Would any that once held positions of leadership in the church (however informal such positions were) be reestablished? Would they feel like outsiders, or be treated like outsiders?

Such was the atmosphere when Paul penned his letter to the Romans. So what did he write? He emphasized his indebtedness to both non-Greeks and Greeks (meaning, both Jews and Gentiles), and reminded the Christians there of “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). Open your doors to the returning Jews, you Roman Christians!

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2 Comments

  1. For a great fictional depiction of that which you have described, you might be interested in The Flames of Rome
    Maier, Paul L.

  2. Lee Harmon

    Had never heard of it! Thanks, John.

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