Paul's Associates and Co-Workers
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Some people think that Paul of Tarsus was the first Christian missionary, or even that he was the real "founder" of the Church. While he was obviously one of the most important early Christian preachers and writers, he was definitely not the first one, nor the only one! A careful reading of the New Testament (of his own letters as well as the Acts of the Apostles) shows that several other people before Paul had been sent out by God and/or by the early Christian communities to preach the good news about Jesus (i.e., "apostles" or "missionaries"). Moreover, when Paul was traveling and preaching, he never went alone. Rather than being some kind of "Lone Ranger," Paul always worked together with other Christian missionaries, indeed with more and more associates as time went on.

The Acts of the Apostles tells us about many other early Christians who were disciples, apostles, deacons, prophets, and preachers long before Paul even came to believe in Jesus. Moreover, in his own letters Paul usually distinguishes between those people who were Christians and/or missionaries before him, whom he calls apostoloi ("missionaries"), adelphoi ("brothers"), and/or koinonoi ("equal partners"), and those who were his own converts and co-workers, to whom he refers as tekna ("children"), synergoi ("junior partners"), or with a variety of other terms. A careful study of these different individuals and groups can help us better to understand the growth of the early Church.

I) Christian Leaders and Missionaries before Paul:

II) Paul and His Main Missionary Associates:

III) Early Christians associated with Paul (in alphabetical order):

The following people are mentioned ONLY in the list of people to whom Paul sends greetings in Rom 16:3-16 IV) Other Christians in the Acts of the Apostles not directly connected with Paul: V) Jews, Romans, and Other Non-Christians connected with Paul in the Acts of the Apostles:

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