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Acts 18:12-18  But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13 saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this. (ESV)

Luke speaks of a Gallio who was proconsul of Achaia.  Scholars doubted his existence because it didn’t appear anywhere in the history books and no artifacts had been found bearing his name.  But in 1905 a doctoral student sifted through some inscriptions collected from Delphi.  He discovered nine fragments that formed a message from Emperor Claudius.  In the text Claudius writes “Gallio, my fr[iend] an[d procon]sul….”[1]  The inscription was etched into a stone that was likely attached to the Temple of Apollo.

The text is dated between April to July AD 52, which means Gallio probably occupied the chair of proconsul from July 1 AD 51 to July 1 AD 52 (proconsuls usually took office on July 1, and their tenure was generally limited to one year).

It turns out that Gallio was the brother of Seneca, who was a philosopher and the tutor of Emperor Nero.

Significance:

  1. The name, title, and date coincide with the information provided by Luke.
  2. This find helps us more accurately date the events recorded in Acts.

[1]A full translation is available at http://www.kchanson.com/ancdocs/greek/gallio.html.

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