Paul's Companions at Corinth
Acts 20.4 and Romans 16.21-.23
Another interesting piece of evidence concerns two lists of names, one found in Acts and one found in Paul's Roman letter. The Acts list contains the names of the men who accompanied Paul on the return trip from Corinth to Jerusalem. The Romans list, which was written by Paul before leaving Corinth for Jerusalem, names some of the individuals who are with him in Corinth who want to send their greetings to the Christians at Rome.
The Roman letter contains eight names, while the Acts list has seven names. What is interesting is that there are only two names common to both lists: Timothy and Sosipater.
The name of Timothy, of course, is prominent in both Acts and Paul’s letters, but the name Sosipater appears nowhere else in the New Testament. Luke even calls him Sopater, which is the nickname for Sosipater, while Paul calls him by his full name.
Of the remaining five names found in Acts, three appear in letters that Paul later wrote while in prison: Trophimus, Aristarchus, and Tychicus. (1) According to Acts, Trophimus was the proximate cause of Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem, while Aristarchus accompanied Paul on the voyage to Rome. (2) Tychicus is mentioned on four occasions in Paul’s prison letters, but this is his only appearance in Acts. (3) In short, the three men whom Acts lists as accompanying Paul to Jerusalem also ended up, according to Paul, with him in Rome. Finally, there are two names on Luke’s list that appear nowhere else in the New Testament: Secundus and Gaius the Doberian.
These details provide a kind of subtle evidence. If the eight individuals Paul names in his letter had simply been listed by Luke as accompanying Paul to Jerusalem, we would strongly suspect that Luke had copied those names from Paul’s letter. But only two of the names appear on both lists. In the case of one name, Sopater, this is his only appearance in the New Testament. Further, three of the individuals that Acts records as accompanying Paul to Jerusalem are named in Paul’s later letters as being with him in Rome. In all these details, we have a confirmation of names that is both coincidental and indirect.
1) 2 Tim 4.12, 4.20 / Col. 4.7-4.10 / Eph. 6.21 / Philem. .24 / Titus 3.12
2) Acts 21.29, 27.2
3) Titus 3.12 / Eph. 6.21 / Col. 4.7-.9 / 2 Tim 4.12