4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: Citizenship


the rights and privileges of a citizen in distinction from a foreigner (Lu 15:15; 19:14; Ac 21:39). Under the Mosaic law non-Israelites, with the exception of the Moabites and the Ammonites and others mentioned in De 23:1-3, were admitted to the general privileges of citizenship among the Jews (Ex 12:19; Le 24:22; Nu 15:15; 35:15; De 10:18; 14:29; 16:10,14).

The right of citizenship under the Roman government was granted by the emperor to individuals, and sometimes to provinces, as a favour or as a recompense for services rendered to the state, or for a sum of money (Ac 22:28). This "freedom" secured privileges equal to those enjoyed by natives of Rome. Among the most notable of these was the provision that a man could not be bound or imprisoned without a formal trial (Ac 22:25-26), or scourged (Ac 16:37). All Roman citizens had the right of appeal to Caesar (Ac 25:11).

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Paul's Roman citizenship was of the lower kind, which though not entitling him to vote with the tribes and enjoy a magistracy, yet secured to him the protection of the laws of the empire, and the right of appeal from his own hostile countrymen to Caesar, as also exemption from scourging (Ac 16:37; 22:25-28; 25:11). He seems to have inherited it from his father. Hence, he naturally uses the image to express the believer's high privileges as a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Our citizenship (Greek, or rather our life as citizens; politeuma, not politeia) is in heaven, etc. (Php 3:20); an image especially appropriate at Philippi, it being a Roman colony and possessing Roman citizenship of which its people were proud. Moreover, it was there that Paul had compelled the magistrates publicly to recognize a Roman citizen's privileges. So believers, though absent from their heavenly city in body, still enjoy its civic privileges and protection; pilgrims on earth, citizens of heaven (Eph 2:6; Ga 4:26; Heb 11:9-10,13-16; 12:22; Re 21:2,10; Lu 10:20).

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The use of this term in Scripture has exclusive reference to the usages of the Roman empire. The privilege of Roman citizenship was originally acquired in various ways, as by purchase,

Ac 22:28

by military services, by favor or by manumission. The right once obtained descended to a man's children.

Ac 22:28

Among the privileges attached to citizenship we may note that a man could not be bound or imprisoned without a formal trial,

Ac 22:29

still less be scourged.

Ac 16:37

Cic. in Verr. v. 63,66. Another privilege attaching to citizenship was the appeal from a provincial tribunal to the emperor at Rome.

Ac 25:11

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