The Berean Expositor
Volume 31 - Page 124 of 181
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The "Freeman" (liber) might be born free (ingenuus), or he might be made free
(libertinus). In the first case (ingenuus) he could either be a citizen (civis) or a latinus--
i.e. one occupying a position intermediate between that of the true-born Roman (civis)
and the peregrinus (or foreigner).
The privileges of the full citizen were as follows:
(1) The right of voting in the comitia (Jus Suffragii).
(2) Eligibility for all public offices and magistrates (Jus Honorum).
(3) The Jus Provocationis, or right of appeal.
(1:)  Conubium, the power to contract a legal marriage, with power of life and
death over the family.
(2:)  Commercium, the right to acquire, hold or transfer property, and to make
The Apostle himself was a full Roman citizen (ingenuus, or "free born"), for his father
had been a citizen before him. We do not know how Paul's father had acquired this
coveted privilege, but it was so ordered, in the wisdom of God, in order that His
messenger to the Roman world should be fully equipped. He was a Tarsian, "a citizen of
no mean city"; he was also a Roman, a Jew, and a Pharisee.
"How often", says Cicero, "has this exclamation Civis Romanus sum ("I am a Roman
citizen") brought aid and safety even among barbarians in the remotest parts of the earth"
(Cic. Verr. 5: 57). The reader will remember how scared the Philippians were when they
discovered that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens (Acts 16: 37-39).  They had
probably heard of the punishment in A.D.44 of the inhabitants of Rhodes, whom
Claudius had deprived of their freedom for putting a Roman citizen to death.
We shall hope to deal later with the Roman's right of appeal to Csar when we
resume the subject of the Apostle's trial. Meanwhile let us rejoice in our own heavenly
"citizenship", beside which the highest Roman privileges fade into insignificance.