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The Apostle Paul Knew His Friends and Kept Them Closer Than His Enemies

Mrs. Fox, aka cmoneyspinner, former civil servant, now self-employed; engaged in multiple online endeavors, including freelance writing.

Paul's Company

If you were studying about the spread of Christianity, the missionary journeys and writings of Paul the Apostle would comprise most of the major stepping stones. In penning many of the Epistles, he often mentioned – by name - many of his fellow laborers who worked with him or substantially supported his efforts to carry the gospel message to the known world at the time. Five of those names are: Barnabas, Luke, Timothy, Titus and Clement.

Luke used an expression, when speaking of those who actively ministered with the Apostle.

He called them "Paul's company".

Apostles Paul and Barnabas Preaching Christianity at Antioch

Apostles Paul and Barnabas Preaching Christianity at Antioch

* Antioch in Syria *

Antioch was founded in 300 B.C. By Seleucus I Nicator, King of Syria, a general in the army of Alexander the Great and one of his three successors. It was once a thriving center of commerce; a chief city, the capital of Syria, and in fact, the third largest city on the Roman Empire. It was racillay diverse, so it is not surprisingly, the disciples of Christ were comprised of both Jewish and Gentile converts. Today this city is known as Antakya, in modern-day Turkey.


Barnabas was Paul's champion. While others may have doubted the sincerity of the Apostle's conversion, Barnabas sought Paul out. When he found him in Tarsus, he encouraged him to become a fellow laborer and convinced others that he could be an invaluable help with the missionary efforts.

The disciples were called Christians* first in Antioch.” (Acts 11: 26) Barnabas and Paul traveled together to Antioch in Syria to strengthen the community of believers already there. The zealous teamwork of these two men proved very successful. Though the Church began, A.D. 33, in Jerusalem, from Antioch the “good news” would spread to all the major cities in the Roman Empire, including Rome.

Before becoming a Christian, Barnabas was a Jew; a Levite from the island of Cyprus, whose name was Joseph (Joses). He was called “son of consolation (or son of encouragement)” by the disciples because he had a gift for motivating those who were discouraged to remain focused, steadfast, and faithful. So committed was he that he sold his property and donated the proceeds to help the poor and needy. His act of generosity spurred others on to perform similar good works.

* Greek: Christianoi: “devotees of the Anointed One.

From Jerusalem to Antioch: The Gospel Across Cultures

From Jerusalem to Antioch: The Gospel Across Cultures

Luke (or Lucas)

The name Luke or Lucas means “light-giving”; which is very appropriate since he authored a two-part work – the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles – both written to shed light on the life of Christ and the establishment of His Church.

His first appearance, historically, is in Troas. Details about his conversion are unknown. Details regarding his faithfulness are made plain in the New Testament scriptures. Luke traveled with the Apostle during his second (from Troas to Philippi), third (from Philippi to Jerusalem) and final (from Jerusalem to Rome) missionary journeys. In addition, during one of Paul's imprisonments, Luke dutifully remained close by. Luke was an educated man; a writer, historian, and physician by profession. Paul speaks of him with great affection as the “beloved physician”.


Titus was a Grecian convert. Luke does not mention him by name in the Book of Acts, but Paul confirms him as a “partner and fellow helper”. Titus accompanied Paul and Barnabas on a trip to Jerusalem. Unable to go for himself, Paul sent Titus to work with the congregation in Corinth, and then bring back news about their well-being and spiritual health. He brought back a good report and refreshed the weary Apostle's spirit. Several years later, Paul would leave Titus behind in Crete to build up the Church there.

The relationship between Paul and Titus was much like his association with Timothy. The two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus have been grouped together and referred to as Pastoral Epistles. Both men were directed to ordain elders to oversee the flock of God, warned about false teachers, told to maintain good works, the purity of the Church, and especially ensure their own personal morality and blameless reputation as godly men.

The last mention of Titus is by Paul in a letter to Timothy (whom he had left in Ephesus) that he was headed to Dalmatia (Roman district in A.D. 12; today a region of Croatia, Yugoslavia).

Timothy (or Timotheus)

Timothy's mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois) were devout Jews, who taught him the Jewish scriptures from a child. All three of them were converted to Christianity. This young man traveled with Paul or to places where he was sent by Paul – such as, Berea, Macedonia, Thessalonica, Corinth, and Philippi – to evangelize, preach, teach, comfort and assure the believers to press on and not falter. Paul was retracing his steps and revisiting Lystra in Lycaonia, when he and Timothy crossed paths. The first time he was in this small city was with Barnabas. On this second trip, Timothy joined Paul's company.

Paul commended his young companion as follows (paraphrased):

“We have the same mind. He does not seek his own. He has served with me in the gospel and has the same boldness to as I do to defend the faith. His love and care for all the churches is genuine.”

While in prison in Rome, awaiting execution, the Apostle wrote to Timothy instructing him to take heart, persevere and continue the Lord's work without him.

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Limited biographical data for the first four men is contained in the New Testament. But the fifth person, Clement? Many believe that he is the same person referred to as Clement of Rome, in post-apostolic writings. While others think that to link the individual mentioned only in Philippians 4: 3, to a person by the same name associated only with the city of Rome, would result in a case of mistaken identity.

To debate this man's identity is fruitless (my opinion). He existed! He worked with the Apostle at Philippi; was esteemed highly by him and counted as a faithful follower. Also, his name means “kind” or “merciful”.

Paul knew him. Paul names him. That's that!


My Son in the Faith

Sometimes Christians Disagree

Poll Answer Key

  • Question 1: I Tim 1: 2; Tit 1: 4
  • Question 2: Acts 15: 37 - 39

© 2013 Treathyl FOX


Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on September 28, 2013:

@RonElFran - Thanks for stopping by. Sorry I'm late getting back to you with a response. Blessings!

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on September 17, 2013:

What a great topic! Paul is one of my favorite people in Scripture. He made it a point to cultivate close, personal relationships with the people he ministered with and to: a great role model. I enjoyed reading this.

EphremHagos from Addis Ababa on July 24, 2013:


Thanks for the rebuttal! All the signs are there; but the choice is entirely yours. Only the Holy Spirit can walk you through the way to the "holy cross" of Christ, a.k.a., the "tree of life".

Hope to see you there!

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on July 24, 2013:

@EphremHagos - OK. You can go there. But I won't be following you.

I can't spend any more time going back and forth with you because we're not going in the same direction. I said what I wanted to say in the article and you are saying what you want to say via the Comments module.

You can leave whatever comment you like at any of my HUBs. They will all be approved and published. Your comments are your own and do not reflect the views of the HUB writer. Thanks for the feedback! :)

EphremHagos from Addis Ababa on July 23, 2013:


In answer to your question, this discussion is taking us BACK TO THE EMMAUS ROAD where the backsliding Apostles are reconnected for good with the Cause of Jesus Christ as pioneered by Moses, the Psalmist and the prophets. (Luke 24: 13 ff.)

The burning passion of Paul and his friends was the reopening of "the way and the gate to life", a.k.a., Paradise, on the very day Christ died on the cross whose power, however, has been predictably robbed by contemporary Christianity. (Matt. 7: 13-14)

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on July 23, 2013:

@EphremHagos -

INTRO = The Rock (that Moses was told to speak to);

PROMISE = The Holy Spirit (the Comforter Jesus sent);

FINALE = Gabriel's horn (when you hear it, it will too late to run)

Since I'm sure you already read the Book of Revelation, you know the tree of life is is in heaven. God removed it from Eden. He didn't destroy it.

Where are we going with this discussion?

EphremHagos from Addis Ababa on July 23, 2013:

@cmoneyspinner1tf, I am glad to have aroused your curiosity. God bless you.

The best I can do is to whet your interests for exclusive quenching by the "Good News from the glorious and blessed God", viz.: Christ's perpetual and personal self-revelations faithfully witnessed over time as follows:

# INTRODUCTION: "the tree of life" (Gen. 2: 7-9),

# PROMISE: the burning bush, a.k.a., "self-sufficient fire" (Ex. 3: 1-15) and

# FINALE: Christ's death on the cross, a.k.a., "source of life" (Matt. 26:64; 27: 50-56; John 19: 30-37)

Christianity, as brainchild of "the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad", a.k.a., man's thoughts in theology, is a direct contradiction to knowledge of God. (2 Cor. 10: 4-6)

Treathyl FOX (author) from Austin, Texas on July 22, 2013:

@rodric20 - Glad you read the HUB. Glad you noted Poll vs Quiz. Appreciate you leaving a a constructive comment. For display purposes I like polls.

@EphremHagos - I have no idea what you said. Feel free to clarify.

EphremHagos from Addis Ababa on July 22, 2013:

As correctly predicted in the Parable of the Weeds, chronology continues to act as dimmer switch device for decreasing over time the light's brightness, a.k.a., the personal visions of Christ's perpetual self-revelations, based on “the kind of death Jesus suffered”, viz.: Spirit-active, perfect and diacritical.

Evangelism and missions today have regressed from the Apostles' hard-won passionate acknowledgement of Christ’s litmus test of immortality to another gospel of wholly ineffectual hearsay.

(Matt. 13: 24-30)

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on July 21, 2013:

I enjoyed reading this hub. I know that you wanted to make a quiz with those questions instead of a poll, but I answered them anyway. The information was great and I like how you put it in order for us to understand thanks for sharing about Paul.

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