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Quarantine Lessons IV: Prisoner of Christ Jesus

March 31, 2020 Quarantine day 13

As most of the known world is currently in some form of ‘quarantine’, ‘shelter in place’ and ‘physical distancing’ (I resist the term ‘social distancing’, prefer ‘physical distancing but social connecting’… !), the Lord led me to look at the life of St Paul and his repeated involuntary quarantine via incarceration.

‘Shelter in place’ feels like prison, no?

Here is a time-line:

St Paul was imprisoned between 4 to 5 years of his ministry life.


51 AD, arrested and short imprisonment in Cesera Philippi when they cast a demon out of a slave girl. (Acts 16:16-40)

53 AD, there appears to be an arrest and imprisonment in Ephesus It’s not recorded in Acts, and details are historically slim,  but alluded to in 1 Corinthians 15:32 and 2 Cor 11:23.

57 AD, arrested and held in Jerusalem (Acts 21)

59 AD before Festus, Agrippa, appeals to Cesar as Roman citizen, bound for Rome (Acts 25:1-12)

60-62 AD, 2 yrs in Rome, rented house, preached freely. Last mention in New Testament of Paul historically (see Acts 28:30-31). He received and influenced dozens of Christian leaders who went on to explode the known world. As well, he wrote, wrote, wrote! For sure, the book of Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon.

After the accounting in Acts, it is generally accepted info from various historical sources, including St Jerome:

-mid 62 AD, Paul released, conducted a tour of visits to the churches, wrote 2Tim and Titus.

-mid 64, fire of Rome, Nero as Roman emperor, blamed fire on Christians and began bloody purge of Christians in empire.

-mid 66, Paul’s second imprisonment under Nero, reported to have been beheaded (execution for a Roman citizen ordered to die) late 66 AD. Execution not recorded Scripture, recording by early historian Eusebius), buried outside Rome with marker, later burial site found with inscription.

Also recorded by Eusebius that Peter, a non-Roman citizen, was crucified in this same time-period. Paul was spared crucifixion due to his citizenship.

Total time of St. Paul in some form of captivity: 4-5 years.



As I dug into this study (one of the best plans when stuck at home: dig into the Word of God!), the Holy Ghost highlighted ‘Healthy Keys to Being A Prisoner of Christ’.

Stay tuned.


In Roman times, and for Roman citizens awaiting appeal to Cesar over an issue, the ‘prisoner’ was allowed to be housed in the community, and didn’t have to be locked away in a stench prison.

They did have to wear shackles (the ancient version of an ankle GPS), and they had to pay out-of-pocket for their rent and food… hence, the financial assistance Paul is thankful for (see Phil 1) was practical, since it paid his bills.

Oh, yeah, there was a Roman military guard. Right there. One wrong move, you were dead. However, you could entertain house-guests; hence the list of people we see in Scripture during that season. The Roman guard heard everything… I’ll bet a few got saved…

Sort-of ‘COVID19 shelter-at-home… lite, no?

written by crisbaj

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