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pre-to'-ri-an: "My bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other, places" (Philippians 1:13 the King James Version). This verse is translated in the Revised Version (British and American), "My bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest," and is noteworthy.

1. Pretorium in Philippians-Usual View:

It has been usual to connect the words, "the soldier that guarded him," Acts 28:16, with this statement in Philippians 1:13, that the apostle's bonds were manifest in the whole praetorium, and to understand that the former was the cause of the latter; that the result of Paul's making the gospel known in his own hired house to those soldiers to one of whom he was chained by the wrist day and night, was that it became known in all the praetorian regiment that his bonds were endured for Christ's sake, that it was for conscience' sake that he was suffering wrongfully, that he was no wrongdoer but a prisoner of Jesus Christ. In this way the gospel would spread through the whole of the praetorian guard in that regiment's headquarters which were situated in a permanent camp established by Tiberius in Rome, outside the Colline Gate, at the Northeast of the city. This verse would also mean that the gospel had been proclaimed in the same way to those members of the praetorian guard who were on duty as the bodyguard of the emperor and who were lodged in one of the buildings which adjoined the emperor's palace on the Palatine Hill.

2. Lightfoot on Interpretations:

Thus, Lightfoot, discussing the meaning of the phrase "in the whole praetorium" (Commentary on Philippians, 99;), reviews the different interpretations which have been given of the word, and shows

(1) that no instance is to be found of its signifying Nero's palace on the Palatine Hill;

(2) that there is no authority for the interpretation which would make it mean the praenterinn barracks on the Palatine;

(3) that neither is there any authority for making it mean the praetorian camp outside the walls of Rome. In Lightfoot's words (op. cit., 101), "All attempts to give a local sense to `praetorium' thus fail for want of evidence." Lightfoot accordingly defends the interpretation, "the praetorian guard," and the Revised Version (British and American), above cited, follows him in this.

3. View of Mommsen and Ramsay:

One of the meanings of "praetorium" is a council of war, the officers who met in the general's tent (see PRAETORIUM). Lightfoot is very decided in interpreting "praetorium" to mean the praetorian regiment, the imperial guards, and he adds, "in this sense and in this alone can it be safely affirmed that the apostle would hear the word praetorium used daily," and that this sense is in all respects appropriate. But the other meaning, though not appropriate here, namely, a council of war composed of the officers and their general, is much nearer to that which is now accepted by such authorities as Mommsen and Sir W.M. Ramsay, who hold that in this passage "praetorium" means a council, not of war, however, but the council of judgment, the emperor's court of appeal in which he was assisted by his legal assessors (see Mommsen, Berlin Akad. Sitzungsber., 1895, 501; Ramsay, Paul the Traveler and the Rein Citizen, 357; Workman, Persecution in the Early Church, 35). Over this court there presided the emperor or his delegate, the prefect of the praetorian guard, and associated with him were twenty assessors selected from the senators. Formerly their votes were taken by ballot, but Nero preferred to receive from each a written opinion and on the next day to deliver his judgment in person. Such, it is now believed, is the praetorium to which Paul refers.

The meaning, therefore, of the words, "My bonds in Christ are manifest in the whole praetorium," will be that when Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians his first Roman trial was already so far advanced that he had been able to impress upon his judges, the twenty assessors and their president, the fact that he was no evildoer, but that the sole cause of his imprisonment was his loyalty to Christ. It was manifest to all the members of the emperor's court of appeal that Paul was enduring his long imprisonment, suffering wrongfully, but only for the sake of Jesus Christ.

4. Bearing on Paul's Captivity and Trial:

The important bearing will be seen which this signification of "praetorium" in this passage has on the question of the order in which Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon-the epistles of Paul's captivity in Rome-were written. On subjective evidence Lightfoot concludes that Philippians is the earliest of them, basing his opinion largely on the resemblance which exists in many particulars between the thoughts and expressions in Philippians and in the Epistle to the Romans, making Philippians, as it were, a connecting link between Paul's earlier and his later epistles. See Lightfoot, Philipplans, 42 f; he writes: "These resemblances suggest as early a date for the Epistle to the Philippians as circumstances will allow," earlier, that is, than Colossians and Ephesians. But Lightfoot's argument is set aside by the new light which has been thrown upon the real meaning of "praetorium." Sir W.M. Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler, 357) writes: "The trial seems to have occurred toward the end of A.D. 61. Its earliest stages were over before Paul wrote to the Philipplans, for he says, `The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the Good News; so that my bonds became manifest in Christ in the whole Pretorium, and to all the rest; and that most of the Brethren in the Lord, being confident in my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear.' This passage has been generally misconceived and connected with the period of imprisonment; and here again we are indebted to Mommsen for the proper interpretation. The Praetorum is the whole body of persons connected with the sitting in judgment, the supreme Imperial Court, doubtless in this case the Prefect or both Prefects of the Praetorian Guard, representing the emperor in his capacity as the fountain of justice, together with the assessors and high officers of the court. The expression of the chapter as a whole shows that the trial is partly finished, and the issue as yet is so favorable that the Brethren are emboldened by the success of Paul's courageous and freespoken defense and the strong impression which he evidently produced on the court; but he himself, being entirely occupied with the trial, is for the moment prevented from preaching as he had been doing when he wrote to the Colossians and the Asian churches generally."

5. Bearing on Date of Epistle:

Thus, the correct meaning of "praetorium" enables us to fix the date of the Epistle to the Philippians as having been written close to the end of Paul's first Roman imprisonment. That this inference is correct is confirmed by various other facts, such as his promise to visit that city, and the fact that in Philippians 2:20 the King James Version he says regarding Timothy, "I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." We could not conceive of Paul writing like this if Mark, Tychicus, Aristarchus, and especially if Luke had been with him then, and yet we know (Colossians 4:7, 10, 14) that each and all of these companions of the apostle were with him in Rome when he wrote the Epistle to the Colossians. They had evidently, along with others, been sent on missions to Asia or other places, so that Paul now had only Timothy "likeminded" when he wrote to Philippi.


All these facts and considerations confirm us in accepting the signification of "praetorium" as the emperor's supreme court of appeal, before which Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Philippians had so conducted his defense as to produce a most favorable impression, from which he inferred that he might soon be liberated from imprisonment. And his liberation, as the event proved, soon followed.

John Rutherfurd

4232. praitorion -- Praetorium (official residence of a governor) ...
... Praetorium (official residence of a governor), praetorian guard. Part of Speech:
Noun, Neuter Transliteration: praitorion Phonetic Spelling: (prahee-to'-ree-on ...
// - 7k

4759 -- captain of the guard.
... captain of the guard. From stratopedon and archo; a ruler of an army, ie (specially),
a Praetorian praefect -- captain of the guard. see GREEK stratopedon. ...
// - 5k


The Praetorian and the Apostle
... THE PRAETORIAN AND THE APOSTLE. ACTS xxviii.16, 31 "Paul was suffered to dwell
by himself with a soldier that kept him. . . . preaching ...
/.../moule/philippian studies/the praetorian and the apostle.htm

The Epistles of the Captivity.
... and being in turn chained to the apostle, so that his imprisonment became a means
for the spread of the gospel "throughout the whole praetorian guard." [1142 ...
/.../schaff/history of the christian church volume i/section 93 the epistles of.htm

The Life of Salvian
... The praetorian prefect of the Gallic and Spanish provinces kept his official residence
there in such state as Constantius the emperor had scarcely equalled ...
/.../salvian/on the government of god/ii the life of salvian.htm

The Apostle's Position and Circumstances
... Disloyal "brethren""Interest of the paragraph"The victory of patience"The Praetorian
sentinel"Separatism, and how it was met"St Paul's secret"His ...
/.../moule/philippian studies/chapter iii the apostles position.htm

Imperial Tombs.
... More than a wandering mind, Suetonius thinks this was a vision or premonition of
an approaching event, because forty praetorian soldiers were really to carry ...
/.../lanciani/pagan and christian rome/chapter iv imperial tombs.htm

The First Cry from the Cross
... in Gethsemane, and by the scourgings and cruel mockings which he had endured all
through the morning, from Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, and the Praetorian guards. ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 15 1869/the first cry from the.htm

... Cassiodorus, his letter as Praetorian prefect to Pope John 2. 195. Church, Catholic,
its two great victories, 5, 25; attested and described by Gibbon, 325. ...
/.../allies/the formation of christendom volume vi/index 2.htm

The Rival Empresses --Pulcheria and Eudocia
... Fortunately the administration of the Empire was in the hands of the praetorian
prefect Anthemius, a wise and able counsellor, who acted as the guardian of the ...
/.../brittain/women of early christianity/x the rival empressespulcheria and.htm

The Prison-House.
... By the favour of the Praefect of the Praetorian Guard, whose duty it was to take
charge of all prisoners awaiting trial before the Emperor, the Apostle was ...
/.../the life of duty a years plain sermons v 2/sermon lii the prison-house.htm

The Meeting Between Ambrose and Augustin
... across the Roman world. He belonged to an illustrious family. His father
had been Praetorian prefect of Gaul. He himself, with the ...
/.../bertrand/saint augustin/iii the meeting between ambrose.htm

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(a.) See Pretorian.
Praetorian (2 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary (a.) See Pretorian. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
PRAETORIAN GUARD. pre-to'-ri-an: "My bonds in Christ ...
/p/praetorian.htm - 15k

Praetorium (8 Occurrences)
... It denotes (1) the general's tent or headquarters; (2) the governor's residence,
as in Acts 23:35 (RV, "palace"); and (3) the praetorian guard (see PALACE), or ...
/p/praetorium.htm - 14k

Palace (194 Occurrences)
... In Philippians 1:13 this word is the rendering of the Greek praitorion, meaning
the praetorian cohorts at Rome (the life-guard of the Caesars). ...
/p/palace.htm - 40k

Judgment (430 Occurrences)
... in Philippians 1:13, the King James Version renders, "palace," while the Revised
Version (British and American) gives "the praetorian guard." Praitorion ...
/j/judgment.htm - 52k

Guard (185 Occurrences)
... soldiers, who were relieved every three hours (Acts 12:4). The "captain of the guard"
mentioned Acts 28:16 was the commander of the Praetorian troops, whose ...
/g/guard.htm - 55k

Province (66 Occurrences)
... The senate determined the distinction between consular and praetorian provinces
and generally controlled the assignment of the provinces to the ex-magistrates. ...
/p/province.htm - 38k

Captain (167 Occurrences)
... 2:14) held this office in Babylon. The "captain of the guard" mentioned in Acts
28:16 was the Praetorian prefect, the commander of the Praetorian troops. ...
/c/captain.htm - 53k

Practising (7 Occurrences)

/p/practising.htm - 8k

Army (401 Occurrences)
... David's gibborim have been compared to the Praetorian Cohort of the Roman emperors,
the Janissaries of the sultans, and the Swiss Guards of the French kings. ...
/a/army.htm - 76k

... But she did not forget the importance of securing the praetorian guard and Burrus
the prefect. (8) She persuaded Clandins to make a will in favor of her son. ...
/n/nero.htm - 41k

Bible Concordance
Praetorian (2 Occurrences)

Acts 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered up the prisoners to the praetorian prefect, but Paul was allowed to remain by himself with the soldier who kept him.

Philippians 1:13 so that it became evident to the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest, that my bonds are in Christ;



Praetorian Guard

Related Terms

Praetorium (8 Occurrences)

Palace (194 Occurrences)

Judgment (430 Occurrences)

Guard (185 Occurrences)

Province (66 Occurrences)

Captain (167 Occurrences)

Practising (7 Occurrences)

Army (401 Occurrences)


Hall (30 Occurrences)

Philippians (2 Occurrences)

Warfare (18 Occurrences)

Tiberius (1 Occurrence)

Prefect (2 Occurrences)

Bonds (46 Occurrences)

War (529 Occurrences)

Evident (26 Occurrences)

Caesar's (10 Occurrences)

Chains (100 Occurrences)

Throughout (291 Occurrences)


Roman (26 Occurrences)

Discomfiture (6 Occurrences)

Household (222 Occurrences)

Rome (12 Occurrences)

Epistles (2 Occurrences)

Law (670 Occurrences)

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