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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Seamstress Work in Acts of the Apostles

Early 'Sewing Bee' - Priscilla, Aquilla and Paul making tents.

Early ‘Sewing Bee’ – Priscilla, Aquilla and Paul making tents.

I absolutely LOVE to read historical fiction – especially Biblical Historical Fiction.  In my quiet time in the mornings, I’m reading through ‘The Greatest Faith Ever Known’ by Fulton Oursler (1953).  This reading is particularly perfect as I’m watching the series A.D. The Bible Continues on Sunday  nights – NBC.

While I have some reservations about the ‘enriching’ of the story in A.D., I REALLY love the accurate additional historical facts that enrich the basic story of Paul and the spread of Christianity in Ousler’s book.  I”ll copy here what I especially wanted to share regarding thoughts of the women around early Christianity and how their home-making skills (including sewing!)  were used.  Besides that, realize that Paul made his living sewing – just Tents!

Fulton Oursler's Book, The Greatest Faith Ever Known

Fulton Oursler’s Book, The Greatest Faith Ever Known

This part comes when Paul has finally arrived in Rome (where his life ends at the hands of Nero).  He is basically under ‘house arrest’.

“Chapter 89.  Sermon in Chains

Before Burrus had even dismissed Paul, three of the eavesdropping Christians scuttled away – Epaphroditus with his purse of alms from Philippi jingle, Priscilla and Aquila.  They were off to prepare lodgings for Paul.

Rome was a city of apartment houses, called insular, or islands of one to twelve rooms.  Those were the first flats of modern times, housing all except the very richest, who lived in palaces ad villas on the Seven Hills.  The luxury of the insular varied with a man’s purse, from gardened elegance to row on row on row of identical wooden structures, jade together tenement fashion on arrow,noisy, stinking streets.

The Only place Epaphproditus could afford not eh Philppian relief fund, even with help from the Roman church, was a room five flights up.  The rumble of heavy produce wagons ad the brazen cries of beggars reached the room, but little air or sun.

The two men paid Paul’s advance rent for several months, haggling vainly over the price.  Priscilla stood and studied the room, then went to call the active widows of the church to bring curtain stuff, needle and thread, mop., broom, and sponge.  

The housing shortage might be acute, the purse thin, but no apostle would live in drab filth so long as Christian women had hands and strong backs!  

The next morning Paul moved in twitch Luke and Aristarchus and the first shift of his constantly changing guards.  He hung his cloak on a peg, and it disappeared into a woman’s thimbles hand.  On a table stood a steaming bowl of lamb broth, fresh rye bread, and a dish of plums.  Paul looked at the shining walls, the spotless floors, the heavy sacking drapes over the long window, the borrowed cots, desks, and chairs – the first home he had known int he twenty-three years that he had served Christ!

Priscilla ad her helpers disappeared before he could stop looking and marveling long enough to thank them.”

You can find this book at Amazon.

For what it’s worth, I honor women of the bible in my book:  Creative Sweatshirt Jackets – Book 2.  Here is my ‘Priscilla’ jacket.  So named because I envision her loving this color of the Mediterranean Sea…

My 'Priscilla' Jacket - silk on a sweatshirt base.

My ‘Priscilla’ Jacket – silk on a sweatshirt base.

Creative Sweatshirt Jackets - Book 2 by Londa

Creative Sweatshirt Jackets – Book 2 by Londa

Don’t miss Oursler’s other books:

The Greatest Story Ever Told was published in 1949.[14] It was followed by The Greatest Book Ever Written in 1951, and The Greatest Faith Ever Known, completed by his daughter, April Oursler Armstrong, and posthumously published in 1953. The film, The Greatest Story Ever Told, based on Oursler’s book, was released in 1965.

Check him out on Wikipedia.  Pulling his books off my father-in-law’s bookshelf back in the early 80’s was the beginning of real Bible Study for me – making it all ‘hook together’ and make sense for my life and my faith.  Enjoy!

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