Is there any extra-biblical written evidence that any of the Apostolic Fathers (i.e., the early Christian theologians of the 1st and 2nd centuries) knew the Apostle Paul? If so, what is the written evidence that they were taught by Paul or even heard him preach? Are any of them mentioned in the Bible?

  • 1
    That's a good question. Lots of scholarly debate as to which of the fathers wrote what concerning Paul. It's such a good question, IMO, because it is so SIMPLE. The answer is not so simple, though, if the person responding stays objective and accurate --because scholars can't agree on who wrote what. :o)
    – Daisy
    Apr 29, 2016 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


A case could be made for Clement of Rome, considered by Irenaeus (Against Heresies III.3.3) and Eusebius (Church History V.6) to be the fourth Bishop of Rome (after Peter, Linus, and [Ana]cletus).

(Apparently, there is some discussion as to whether Linus and Anacletus were essentially “auxiliary bishops” and Clement was Peter’s actual successor.)

In any event, scholars agree that this Clement is the author of the (First) Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. (A second letter to the Corinthians was also once attributed to him, but scholars now agree that the attribution is spurious.)

A certain Clement is named in Philippians 4:3:

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

There is not 100% certainty that this is the very same Clement who was the Bishop of Rome and wrote the epistle, but that is the traditional understanding. Moreover, it is plausible, given that the style of Clement’s epistle to the Corinthians is markedly similar to Paul’s (and the Church in Corinth was founded by Paul, which would explain why Clement was interested in what went on there). Also, Paul likely wrote the letter to the Philippians in Rome (see, e.g., Phil. 4:22), and so the connection between this Clement and Rome is plausible.

If that is the case, then Clement of Rome, an Apostolic Father, would have known St. Paul.

  • I never realized that Philippians quote has Paul or Timothy saying their fellow workers' names are in the book of life. I thought nobody knew whose names were in the book of life. I wonder where he got this from.
    – Daisy
    May 2, 2016 at 3:33
  • @AthanasiusOfAlex Are there others? Barnabus ect...
    – hernan43
    May 4, 2016 at 0:53
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    @hernan43 I can’t think of any others who knew St. Paul (unless the Epistle of Barnabas is authentic, which is not the common opinion nowadays). However, St. Polycarp of Smyrna, and possibly St. Ignatius of Antioch, seem to have known St. John the Evangelist (St. Ignatius reports this in his epistles). Ignatius (ca. A.D. 35-110) was alive during St. Paul’s missionary activity in Antioch, so it is not out of the question that he knew St. Paul. May 4, 2016 at 3:56

We don't know. One writing included among those attributed to the Apostolic Fathers is the Epistle of Barnabas. If the Epistle of Barnabas was written by Barnabas, then yes - Barnabas knew Paul.

An ancient tradition holds that St. Peter, while en route to Antioch to meet St. Paul, appointed Ignatius to be bishop. Since Paul spent time in Antioch and Ignatius became its bishop, they may have met. See http://maryourmother.net/Ignatius.html

  • @ Paul Chemoch FYI-I edited the question a little to improve the answer that I'm looking for.
    – hernan43
    Apr 29, 2016 at 20:51

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