Lucius

LUCIUS (lū’shĭ-ŭs, Gr. Loukios). 1. A Christian from Cyrene ministering in the church at Antioch (Acts.13.1). 2. A kinsman of Paul who evidently was with him in Corinth when he wrote his letter to Rome (Rom.16.21).


LUCIUS lōō’ shəs (Λουκιος, the Gr. form of the Latin Lucius).

1. A Rom. consul who, in response to an embassy sent to Rome by Simon the high priest, wrote a Letter to Ptolemy Euergetes of Egypt (1 Macc 15:16-21) and other Near Eastern rulers (15:22, 23) supporting Simon in his struggles with the Seleucids. There is some uncertainty concerning the identity of this consul, since only his praenomen is given in the letter as recorded. That his title is imperfectly reproduced is evident in that only his praenomen is given and a date and mention of the Senate are lacking.

The most probable identification is with Lucius Calpurnius Piso who was one of the consuls in 130-138 b.c. This agrees with the fact that Simon’s ambassadors returned to Pal. during that time. This identification is questioned since his praenomen is sometimes listed as Onaeus, rather than Lucius. But Lucius is the better authenticated reading, and it has the support of 1 Maccabees.

Josephus (Antiq. XIV. viii. 5) makes no mention of a letter to Simon by “Lucius” but he gives a letter similar to that in 1 Maccabees 15 written by Lucius Valerius to Hyrcanus II (47 b.c.). This identification must assume that Josephus is guilty of a confusion in dates, in itself not improbable. But this Lucius was a praetor rather than a consul.

Bibliography

E. Shurer, HJP (1886), I. 1, 266f.; J. C. Dancy, A Commentary on I Maccabees (1954), 189, 190.

2. Lucius of Cyrene, named third among the five “prophets and teachers” in the Antioch church (Acts 13:1). He was apparently one of the Hellenistic Jewish Christians who boldly preached also to the Greeks at Antioch (Acts 11:20, 21) and remained to minister in the church.

3. Lucius, Paul’s “kinsman” who joined in sending greetings to the Rom. saints (Rom 16:21). As Paul’s “kinsman,” he was a Jewish believer, but the precise significance of the designation is debated. That he is to be identified with 2 above is possible but not probable.

Inscriptional evidence shows that Luke (Λουκα̂ς, G3371) was used as an alternative form for Lucius or Lucanus. This has been used to support a proposed identification of the author of the third gospel and Acts with either of the above companions of Paul. The suggested identification of Luke with Lucius 3 is as old as Origen. The fact that Cyrene was famous for its medical skills has been appealed to as support in identifying Luke with Lucius 2. But either identification is ruled out by Colossians 4:12-14 which implies that Luke was a Gentile rather than a Jew.

Bibliography

A. Deissmann, LAE (1927), 435ff.; J. H. Moulton and G. Milligan, Vocabulary of Greek Testament (1930), 381; H. J. Cadbury, BC (1933), V, 489-495; The Book of Acts in History (1955), 155, 156.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

lu’-shi-us, lu’-shus (Loukios, Leukios): A Roman consul who is said (1 Macc 15:16 ff) to have written a letter to Ptolemy Euergetes securing to Simon the high priest and to the Jews the protection of Rome. As the praenomen only of the consul is given, there has been much discussion as to the person intended. The weight of probability has been assigned to Lucius Calpurnius Piso, who was one of the consuls in 139-138 BC, the fact of his praenomen being Cneius and not Lucius being explained by an error in transcription and the fragmentary character of the documents. The authority of the Romans not being as yet thoroughly established in Asia, they were naturally anxious to form alliances with the kings of Egypt and with the Jews to keep Syria in check. The imperfections that are generally admitted in the transcription of the Roman letter are not such as in any serious degree to invalidate the authority of the narrative in 1 Maccabees.


This name is mentioned twice:

(1) In the church at Antioch which sent out Barnabas and Saul as its missionaries were several prophets and teachers, among whom was Lucius of Cyrene (Ac 13:1). He was probably one of those "men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Greeks also" (Ac 11:20). It has been suggested that he is the same as Luke, but this is merely conjecture.

(2) "Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen" were among those who joined Paul in saluting the Christians in Rome (Ro 16:21). By "kinsmen" Paul means "Jews" (compare Ro 9:3; 16:11,21). This Lucius may have been the same person as (1), but, as we have no more information about either, we cannot determine this.