The name Augustus, like Caesar, was usually used in the book of Acts and in Paul's writings as a synonym for Emperor Nero. The emperor ruled the vast Roman Empire from 54 to 68 A.D.
The one exception to the above rule is Acts 27:1's use of the name Augustus. This verse mentions a Julius who was a Roman centurion serving in the Augustus band of the army. This band was named in honor of the first emperor who ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.
Bar-jesus was a Jewish false prophet who had attached himself to Sergius Paulus, the Roman governor of the island of Cyprus. He initially tried to convince Paulus not to believe in the gospel preached by Paul and Barnabas who were evangelizing the island. Paul confronted the false teacher and miraculously caused him to be blind "for a season" (Acts 13:11).
See our article on Paul's first missionary journey for more information about Bar-jesus.
Barnabas' name means "son of consolation." He was a Levite from Cyprus who was one of the most generous, faithful and loving Christians in the early church.
Barnabas is the first person to vouch for Saul's (Paul's) Christian character when the Jerusalem church was suspicious of his professed conversion. He was a trusted leader among Christians who was chosen to serve the rapidly expanding number of believers in Syrian Antioch (Acts 11:22 - 24). When the needs in Antioch continued to expand, he enlisted the help of Paul, who was living at home in Tarsus.
Barnabas was commissioned as an apostle and evangelist on the same day as Paul (Acts 13:1 - 3). He traveled with him on his first missionary journey but later separated due to a disagreement over John Mark. Some commentaries speculate, without proof, that Barnabas was one of the seventy men trained by Jesus (Luke 10).
Bernice is the daughter of Herod Agrippa I (a grandson of Herod the Great) who ruled over Judea. She had at least one sister named Drusilla (and possible another named Mariamne) and a brother Herod Agrippa II.
Bernice accompanied her brother Agrippa II when he traveled to Caesarea to welcome Festus, the new Roman procurator of Judea who succeeded Felix Antonius. They both heard the Apostle Paul's defense of himself after he had been in Caesarea's prison for two years.
The Jewish historian Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 7) and other writers suggest that she not only lived with her brother Agrippa II but also had an incestuous relationship with him.
Paul requested something special from Timothy just before his martyrdom. He asked, "When you come, bring the chest that I left in Troas with Carpus, and the books - especially the parchments" (2Timothy 4:13). Carpus, a Christian of integrity, was entrusted to protect the apostle's enduring gift to the church - his writings. He played a little known but critical role in the canonization of the New Testament!
"Paul also wanted Timothy to bring several important items needed to complete the canonization of his Epistles . . . We can deduce that this chest contained Paul's own writings - as well as extra sheets of parchment or animal skins that had been made into blank pages for writing.
"Once Timothy and Mark arrived with these items, Paul could then add the final inspired additions to his Epistles" (Holy Bible, Faithful Version, second edition, chapter 9).
His completed writings, as well as the work of other inspired authors, would ultimately find their way to the apostle John. Near the end of the first century A.D., as the last of the original twelve disciples still living, he would compile and complete what we call the New Testament.
Chloe was a woman whose household informed Paul about the divisions and arguments taking place in the Corinthian church. It is unclear whether Chloe lived in Corinth or Ephesus.
Claudia was a female Christian who is mentioned sending her greetings to Timothy through Paul. It is speculated that she may have been the wife of Pudens. Nothing more is known about her.
Claudius Caesar was the fourth Emperor over the Roman Empire (the first three being Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula), reigning from 41 to 54 A.D.
Claudius, soon after becoming Emperor, issued an edict re-establishing the rights of Jews to keep their "ancient customs" without being hindered (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 19, Chapter 5, Sections 2 - 3). This right, asserted by Augustus and Tiberius, had been rejected by Caligula, who went so far as to have a statue of himself placed in Jerusalem's temple!
Although Jews, under the Emperor, were granted the right to practice their beliefs, their numbers got so great in Rome that they were forbidden to assemble. Evidence suggests that the regular disturbances caused by the Jews in the city led to the edict banishing them (and Christians) from the capital. Over time, however, the Jews and Christians returned to the city.
Clement was considered a coworker in the gospel by the Apostle Paul and specifically mentioned as having his name written in the Book of Life. Origen, a third century A.D. Catholic theologian, believed this Clement became the Catholic Church's fourth Pope.
Crescens, a Christian, is mentioned by Paul as having journeyed to the Roman province of Galatia. This trip took place only a short time before the apostle's martyrdom in Rome. Some have speculated, without evidence, that he was one of seventy people Jesus personally trained (Luke 10).
Crispus was an educated Jewish man of high character who was the leader (ruler) of Corinth's synagogue. He, along with his household, became Christians during Paul's roughly 18-month stay in the city. Crispus and Gaius were the only two people in Corinth personally baptized by the apostle.
Damaris' name means "little woman" or "heifer." She is one of only two people listed as having converted to Christianity during Paul's brief evangelism of Athens. Luke may have recorded her name due to her being an important or noteworthy person. The apostle's stirring message to the Athenians, given from the Areopagus (Acts 17:19), can be found in Acts 17:22 - 31.
Paul initially considered Demas a fellow laborer in the gospel. He was with the apostle during his first imprisonment in Rome that took place at the end of his fourth missionary journey. A few years later, however, in his last letter to Timothy, Paul laments that Demas forsook him to pursue what the world had to offer.
Demetrius was a wealthy and important Ephesian silversmith who made his fortune by promoting idolatry. He, and his fellow craftsmen, made small shrines, idols and alike themed around the pagan goddess Diana (Artemis). Ephesus' huge idolatrous temple is today considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Demetrius, fearing the gospel would continue to effect, negatively, his business, stirred up the pagans in Ephesus to oppose the apostle. Although the tumult he caused was quieted by a city official, it hastened Paul's exit of the city.
Dionysius is one of only two people specifically named as having converted to Christianity during Paul's brief evangelism of Athens. Dionysius was likely a prominent citizen of Athens and a member of the Areopagus, the Athenian Supreme Court.