Ser'gius Paulus (Graecized Σέργιος Παῦλος, a Latin name), a Roman proconsul in command at Cyprus who was converted by the preaching of Paul and Barnabas (Ac 13:7). A.D. 44. Sergius is described by the evangelist as a" discreet" or" intelligent" man; by which we are probably to understand that he was a man of large and liberal views, and of an inquiring turn of mind. Hence he had entertained Elymas, and hence also he became curious to hear the new doctrine which the apostle brought to the island. The strongest minds at that period were drawn with a singular fascination to the occult studies of the East; and the ascendency which Luke represents the "sorcerer" as having gained over Sergius illustrates a characteristic feature of the times. For other examples of a similar character, see Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1, 177 sq. But Sergius was not effectually or long deceived by the arts of the impostor; for, on becoming acquainted with the apostle, he examined at once the claims of the Gospel, and yielded his mind to the evidence of its truth. Nothing of his history subsequent to his conversion is known from Scripture. There is no reason to suppose that he abandoned his post as governor of Cyprus; but the legends assert that he did so, and followed Paul; and that eventually he went with the apostle into Spain, and was left by him at Narbonne, in France, of which he became the bishop, and died there.
The title (inaccurately rendered "deputy" [q.v.]) given to this functionary exhibits one of those minute accuracies which, apart from their inspiration, would substantiate the sacred book as a genuine and contemporary record. Cyprus was originally a proetorian province (στρατηγική), and not proconsular; but it was left by Augustus under the senate, and hence was governed by a proconsul (ἀνθύπατος), as stated by the evangelist (Ac 13:6,8,12; see Dion Cass. 54, 523; Kuinol, on Acts 13:7. For the value of this attestation to Luke's accuracy, see Lardner, Credibility of the Gospel Narrative, 1, 32 sq.). Coins, too, are still extant on which this very title, ascribed in the Acts to Sergius Paulus, occurs as the title of the Roman governors of Cyprus (see Akerman, Numismatic Illustrations, p. 41; Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of St. Paul, 1, 176, 187). SEE CYPRUS.