does not receive any personally identifiable information from the search bar below.

Theophilus of Antioch

Theophilus was a bishop of Antioch, Paul's home church in Scripture. He's the second bishop of Antioch that we have writings from. Ignatius was the first.


Our books consistently maintain 4-star and better ratings despite the occasional 1- and 2-star ratings from people angry because we have no respect for sacred cows.

He wrote a defense and explanation of Christianity called To Autolycus. It's quite long, and it covers a lot of what Christianity was to the early church. Like other long writings, there's no surprises in it. All the early Christian writers say the same things about what the apostles taught.

Theophilus is actually the first person to use a word that means "Trinity." He used the Greek word triad to refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (as "God, his Word, and his Wisdom").

For the sun is a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection. In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. (To Autolycus II:15)

Theophilus also calculated the amount of time from Adam to his day, based on the birth dates in the Old Testament. He came up with 5,698 years through A.D. 168 or so. This is somewhat different from the dates we would calculate because he, like all other 2nd century Christian writers (and some NT writers), used the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Some of the birth dates are off by 100 years between the Masoretic and Septuagint texts. Seth, for example, was born when Adam was 230 years old in the LXX, rather than 130 as in the Masoretic text.

His dates create quite an interesting prophecy, though, since Rome fell in A.D. 476, very near the 6,000 year mark by Theophilus' calculations.

This is an ad written by me, Paul Pavao: I get a commission if you buy Xero shoes, which does not increase your cost. Barefoot running/walking is the best thing for your feet--if we did not walk on cement, asphalt, and gravel. Normal shoes compress your toes and do a lot of the work your lower leg muscles should be doing. Xero shoes are minimalist and let your toes spread and your feet do the work they are supposed to do. More info at the link.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Early Church History Newsletter

You will be notified of new articles, and I send teachings based on the pre-Nicene fathers intermittently.

Back issues availabel

When you sign up for my newsletter, your email address will not be shared. We will only use it to send you the newsletter.