pub'-li-us (Poplios, from the Latin praenomen Publius, derived from populus, "popular"; according to Ramsay it is the Greek form of the Latin nomen Popilius; the Greek title meaning "first," applied to Publius in Ac 28:7, was an official one, and has been found on an inscription from the island of Gaulus near Malta (compare Bockh, Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, number 5, 754)): Publius held office under the governor of Sicily. As the leading official in Malta, he was responsible for any Roman soldiers and their prisoners who might land there, but the account in Ac 28:7 implies that he displayed more than ordinary solicitude for Paul and his shipwrecked company, for, according to the writer, he "received us, and lodged us three days courteously" (the King James Version). The Apocryphal "Acts of Paul" (see APOCRYPHAL ACTS, sec. B, I) states also that "he did for them many acts of great kindness and charity" (compare Budge, Centendings of the Apostles,II , 605). On this occasion Paul miraculously healed the father of Publius, who "lay sick of fever and dysentery" (Ac 28:8). The exactitude of the medical terms here employed forms part of the evidence that the writer of Acts was a physician. Tradition relates that Publius was the first bishop of Malta and that he afterward became bishop of Athens.
C. M. Kerr