po'-lus, sur'-ji-us (Sergios Paulos): The Roman "proconsul" (Revised Version) or "deputy" (the King James Version) of Cyprus when Paul, along with Barnabas, visited that island on his first missionary journey (Ac 13:4,7). The official title of Sergius is accurately given in Acts. Cyprus was originally an imperial province, but in 22 BC it was transferred by Augustus to the Senate, and was therefore placed under the administration of proconsuls, as is attested by extant Cyprian coins of the period. When the two missionaries arrived at Paphos, Sergius, who was a "prudent man" (the King James Version) or "man of understanding" (Revised Version), i.e. a man of practical understanding, "sought to hear the word of God" (Ac 13:7). Bar-Jesus, or Elymas, a sorcerer at the court of Sergius, fearing the influence of the apostles, sought, however, "to turn aside the proconsul from the faith," but was struck with blindness (Ac 13:8-11); and the deputy, "when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord" (Ac 13:12). The narrative indicates that not only the miracle but also the attention with which Sergius listened to the teaching of Paul (compare Ac 13:7) conduced to his conversion (Bengel). Attempts have been made to trace some connection between the name Sergius Paulus and the fact that Saul is first called Paul in Ac 13:9, but the joint occurrence of the two names is probably to be set down as only a coincidence.
C. M. Kerr