What Did Papias of Hierapolis Teach?

Papias is an important figure in the early church.  He was born around 70AD and died around 163AD.  He was a disciple of John The Apostle and friend of Polycarp who was also a disciple of John and Aristion (one of the 70 apostles).  He helpped lead the church around the same time Ignatius of Antioch was teaching.  He had access to The Apostles, disciples of the Apostles, and other eye witnesses.  He even spoke with the Apostle Philip’s daughters in
Hierapolis.  His understanding and insights are key influences on the continuation of the person, teachings, and works of Jesus Christ.  Although his writings were lost after the middle ages, they were still preserved in the quotes of other church leaders writings.  His insights have been continued on in the church through Polycarp, Irenaeus, Eusebius and all the other early church teachers.

Summery of what he taught:

  • Works proceed from faith 
  • God’s absolute sovereignty
  • Unconditional Election
  • Millennial Kingdom and earthly reign of Jesus
  • Bodily Resurrection
  • Actual existence of angels and demons and involvement in the world.
  • The Gospel of Mark, Matthew, and Revelations authenticity and authority

His writings in their remaining entirety:

Organized by subject and topic:

Works proceed faith

F2.  [The early Christians] called those who practised a godly guilelessness,
children,

About Judas

F3.  Judas walked about in this world a sad example of impiety.  for his body
having swollen to such an extent that he could not pass where a chariot could
pass easily, he was crushed by the chariot, so that his bowels gushed out.

God’s Sovereignty

F4.  “The
days will come in which vines shall grow, having each ten thousand branches, and
in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots,
and in every one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the
clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give
five-and-twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold
of a cluster, another shall cry out, ‘I am a better cluster, take me; bless the
Lord through me.’ In like manner, [He said] that a grain of wheat would produce
ten thousand ears, and that every ear would have ten thousand grains, and every
grain would yield ten pounds of clear, pure, fine flour; and that apples, and
seeds, and grass would produce in similar proportions; and that all animals,
feeding then only on the productions of the earth, would become peaceable and
harmonious, and be in perfect subjection to man.” [Testimony is borne to these
things in writing by Papias, an ancient man, who was a hearer of John and a
friend of Polycarp, in the fourth of his books; for five books were composed by
him. And he added, saying, “Now these things are credible to believers. And
Judas the traitor,” says he, “not believing, and asking, ‘How shall such growths
be accomplished by the Lord?’ the Lord said, ‘They shall see who shall come to
them.’ These, then, are the times mentioned by the prophet Isaiah: ‘And the wolf
shall lie, down with the lamb,’ etc. (Isa. xi. 6 ff.).” 
F5.  for all things belong to God,
who supplies all with a suitable dwelling-place

Unconditional Election

F5.   then those who are deemed worthy of an abode in heaven
shall go there… according as they shall be worthy who see Him

Things to Come

F5.  that in due time
the Son will yield up His work to the Father, even as it is said by the apostle,
“For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy
that shall be destroyed is death.” For in the times of the kingdom the just man
who is on the earth shall forget to die.
F6.  
he says that there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead,
when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth.

Bodily Resurrection

F6. he relates that a dead man was raised to life in his
day…  after the resurrection from the dead,
Hist Eccl. 5th.  “He [Papias] also reports other wonders and especially the raising of the mother of Manaemus from the dead.”

Angels and Demons

F7.  To some of them [angels] He gave dominion
over the arrangement of the world, and He commissioned them to exercise their
dominion well. And he says, immediately after this: but it happened that their
arrangement came to nothing.

Scripture

F6.  he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his
instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of
giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake
in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took
especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything
fictitious into the statements… Matthew
put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one
interpreted them as best he could.
F8.  With regard to the inspiration of the book (Revelation), we deem it
superfluous to add another word; for the blessed Gregory Theologus and Cyril,
and even men of still older date, Papias, Irenaeus, Methodius, and Hippolytus,
bore entirely satisfactory testimony to it.

F9.  Taking occasion from Papias of Hierapolis, the illustrious, a disciple of the
apostle who leaned on the bosom of Christ, and Clemens, and Pantaenus the priest
of [the Church] of the Alexandrians, and the wise Ammonius, the ancient and
first expositors, who agreed with each other, who understood the work of the six
days as referring to Christ and the whole Church.

 

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