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Paul The Roman Citizen
by Wayne Blank
"Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman"
Paul (see Paul's Ministry) was legally a Roman citizen (apart from his nationality of Benjamin and Judah - see the Fact Finder question below) because he happened to be born in the Roman province (see also Province) of Cilicia (located in what is today southern Turkey). Paul made use of his rights as a Roman citizen when it benefited the Gospel - not having a prominent apostle killed before his allotted work was completed was most certainly a benefit to the Gospel and to the Bible record. Paul went on to write much of what became the New Testament after this incident in Acts in which he was nearly killed by some unbelievers among his own people of Judah.
"And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live."
Paul was rescued from the murderous mob by 200 infantry, 70 cavalry and 200 spearmen of the Roman military. Unfortunately, the rescue became little more that the classic "out of the frying pan, into the fire" predicament for the apostle. The Roman commander sent Paul to stand trial before the Roman governor.
"And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night; And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor."
Fact Finder: How is it that Paul was both a Benjamite and a Jew?