Gallio

The Roman Proconsul of Achaia was Gallio, Lucius Junius Annaeus, under the emperor Claudius in the time of Paul. Gallio ruled over southern Greece and his residence was at Corinth. An inscription found at Delphi around 1900 tells us that Gallio was the proconsul of Achaia from July 1, A.D. 51, and likely served for only one year. This dating of his governorship is one of the most precise dating of events in the book of Acts and serves as a fixed marker for working out a dependable chronology of the life of Paul.

When Paul was at Corinth in 51, some Jews from the synagogue there attacked Paul and brought him to court for judgment.

And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law. And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O you Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look you to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drove them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Under Roman civil law, the Jews had no right to charge Paul with criminal behavior for merely preaching Jesus as the Messiah or to be able to stop him. For Gallio, the problem was biblical interpretation and of no concern to the state. Paul didnít even get a chance to speak in his defence at what was happening and must have wanted to. Paul certainly did not teach men to worship God contrary to law for Gallio took charge and threw it out of court. By doing what he did, Gallio left it up to the Jews in matters relating to their own religion, thereby affirming the separation of church and state. True justice however, would have merely ignored Sosthenes and not let him be beaten in court. Gallio cared for none of these things as if God was not to be noticed either. "Careless Gallio" has become synonymous with an indifferent person for not caring about the sufferings of God's people.

Gallio was the elder brother of the great philosopher Seneca, who describes him as uncommonly amiable and upright, gentle, tactful and modest. Like his brother, Seneca, he suffered death by order of the tyrant Nero.
[291, Acts 18]



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