Publius (Graecized Πόπλιος), the chief manprobably the governor of Melita, or Malta, who received and lodged Paul and his companions on the occasion of their being shipwrecked off that island (Ac 28:7) A.D. 55. It soon appeared that he was entertaining an angel unawares, for Paul gave proof of his divine commission by miraculously healing the father of Publius of a fever, and afterwards working other cures on the sick who were brought to him. Publius possessed property in Melita: the distinctive title given to him is "the first (πρῶτος) of the island;" and two inscriptions — one in Greek, the other in Latin — have been found at Civita Vecchia, in which that apparently official title occurs. An inscription found in Malta designates the governor of the island by the same title. (See Lewin's St. Paul, ii, 209, where the originals are given, showing this to be the only natural interpretation.) Publius may perhaps have been the delegate of the Roman praetor of Sicily, to whose jurisdiction Melita, or Malta, belonged. The Roman martyrologies assert that he was the first bishop of the island, and that he was afterwards appointed to succeed Dionysius as bishop of Athens. Jerome records a tradition that he was crowned with martyrdom (De Viris Illust. xix; Baron, Annal. 1, 554). See Walch, De Publio πρώτῳ Melitensium (Jen. 1755).

Bible concordance for PUBLIUS.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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