In which is Polycarp (quotes from the Apostolic Fathers pt2)

by Craig on August 7, 2012

quotes form the Apostolic Fathers | Polycarp of Smyrna

Martyrdom of Polycarp, Church of St Polycarp, Izmir (ancient Smyrna), Turkey.


Around 100ish AD, the church at Philippi wrote their bishop, asking for instruction and encouragement. Their bishop wrote them a series of heartfelt letters.

There was something about that church at Philippi.

Their life was incredibly hard.
Their faith was unshakably strong.

They were the apostle Paul’s favorite church.

If you’d like to know more about Philippi, you can find more about the Philippians here than anywhere else on the interwebs. Just scoot over there to the sidebar topic cloud  and click Philippi.  ツ

Anyway, the Philippians wrote to Polycarp…

He encouraged them to hold on white knuckled to their faith. And in a city that was all about status, Polycarp reminded them in whom their status really was.

For a Christian Church just finding its legs after the apostles had died, Polycarp stood strong. He was a fierce defender against heresies that could have messed everything up at the very start.

And his martyrdom is one of the most well documented events of ancient history.

To save his life he only needed to say the words “Caesar is Lord”.  Instead he replied;

♥✞ღ Eighty-six years I have served Christ,
and He never did me any wrong.
How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?

Anyway, next in this series on the best quotes of the Apostolic Fathers that began here), are some of my favorite words of Polycarp…

whose name always makes me smile…
because all I can think of is…many fishes. ツ

♥✞ღ Though you do not see Him, you believe, and in believing there is unspeakable joy.

♥✞ღ By grace you are saved. It is not by works [of the Law of Moses], but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.

♥✞ღ He who raised Him [Jesus] from the dead will raise us, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved.

♥✞ღ The person that has love is far from all sin.

♥✞ღ Forsaking…false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning.

♥✞ღ Keep looking forward in prayer, and persevering in fasting; beseeching in supplications the all-seeing God to lead us away from temptation.

♥✞ღ May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity.

Next,  maybe Clement of Alexandria…

please come back.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

A. August 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm

This is very good, and encouraging, actually.

I will be gone for a bit, but will be back. Praying for you and your pooter while I am away, still.


Craig August 8, 2012 at 10:10 am

A, to me, Polycarp is a great example of standing strong in the faith when it threatened on all sides. The bravery of the Church while it was going through the waves of persecution – that is astounding. Anyway thank you for praying for my computer – it’s still broken – time will tell. I’m still broken too – time will tell. :-). God bless you my friend, God protect you while you’re gone, and thank you as always.


Debbie August 8, 2012 at 8:32 am

I love learning about the early church and people of faith then. Thank you, Craig, and God bless you!


Craig August 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

these guys to me are so important, their words are so precious, Debbie, because there was this time in our early church when the apostles were gone – the men, who sat at the feet of Jesus were gone. The church was uncertain because Jesus had not returned, the kingdom had not come, and everyone who knew him was either gone, or going. And then there was the first great persecution. These apostolic fathers are the ones who protected this church in this vulnerable position – and they learned from the apostles. I love learning about them as well. Thank you Debbie, it’s still step by step for me – so much harder than I thought it would be – so much harder than I still think it should be – step-by-step. God bless you my friend.


Martha Orlando August 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Such uplifting and inspirational words from Polycarp! I’m so enjoying learning about these early Christians and their unshakable faith. Keep it coming, Craig!
Oh, and off the subject, but some good news: my novel has finally been picked up by a publisher! I’m on cloud nine! I will keep you posted as this journey develops.
Take care, my friend, and may God bless always!


Craig August 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

first, Martha, smiling really big right now because of your news – Godspeed with that – the work is only beginning – the writing is the easy part – getting it published is one of the hard parts – now getting that book to have some legs and some sales – you’ve got some work ahead of you my friend. And these guys I’m writing about – the immediate link right after the apostles – their words are so precious – we shouldn’t forget them – and on the other hand, we need to know what they are before we even have a chance to forget them. Thank you for being here through all of this time. I know I’ve been horrible at reading other people, and you’ve been amazing staying here. Anyway, the brain is piecing itself back together – just have to keep working at it – the seven days rearranged things a little bit. Anyway, thank you, and God bless and keep you!


Katie August 8, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Love learning more about the early church and those who served faithfully. Thank you for sharing Craig.


Craig August 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

I’m not Catholic, so I don’t think what they wrote was inspired – not the way are Bible is – but they are such an important piece – we can learn so much about this early church – we just need to read their words – with the internets – we don’t need books from the seminary – all of these writings of theirs are online. Amazing people these early people. Thank you as always for being here Katie – I’m shocked that I’m not really all the way back yet – I’ll be by as soon as this brain operates better, I promise. God bless and keep you, and thank you.


Michelle August 9, 2012 at 5:44 am

“…because all I can think of is…many fishes. ” – Me, too, my friend. 😀

Continuing to pray for you. I’m in a season that was not one which I would have chosen, and yet I can see our Lord working. One aspect of which was the illness and passing of a friend whom I had the “privilege” (and I use that word now, though there were many times the word “burden” would be more appropriate! :) ) of “being like Jesus” with. The Lord would not allow me to tell her to leave my house when she continually popped in, because I was there and she was lonely – sometimes four times a day, and to be gracious when she would come in to the op shop I worked at and spend up to four hours a day (many times I would go out into the back yard for a ‘cup of grace’). But in all that, in her last 12 months after she was diagnosed with cancer in her lung and on her windpipe, and chose not to have treatment, the couple of hours I spent with her on a Friday night were God-given times. I, and other volunteers from the op shop had opportunities to pray with her, and show her God’s love. A mutual friend, whilst praying at work one day, thanked God that our friend now knew Him. She told the doctors she had God on her side, and told me that she talked to Him. (I told her one time what I always tell my school kids – it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are, or what you’ve done, you can always talk to God and tell Him and He will always listen. I guess she took note! 😉 ) Anyways, she went into a nursing home a few weeks ago and at the request (demand) of her daughter I did not visit her (there was a little jealousy among other issues in her life, God gives grace). My friend passed away a week ago and a private funeral was held – family and two other life-long friends. Our friend came back and said that the eulogy mentioned “…was not a religious person, but in the last year and come to know God and trust Him.” I don’t know what blessed me most, that statement, or the fact that her daughter had asked my friend to bring me a photo of her mother, that she wanted me to have it.
I guess the point of this ramble is to say that there may be times where we just want to tell people to *insert appropriate comment*, but when God tells you to “be Jesus” to someone, you do that, rely on His grace and patience (you will sometimes need tonnes), and HE will do HIS work. God IS Good!


Craig August 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

Michelle, first of all I’m sorry for being so late to reply – second – I remember you telling me of the friend – I remember discussing it with you here – I think this is an amazing story that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t taken that time to talk with her. Treasure in heaven for that my friend – treasure in heaven. I’m sad for her family, I’m sad for your sadness, yet there is that inexpressible kind of joy in me for it all. Anyway, thank you for coming by, I treasure every time I know that you read me. God bless and keep you, and yes, our God is good!


Judith L. Snider June 26, 2015 at 7:51 pm

I love polycarp, I also loved Blandina the martyr. Also there isn’t going to be a pre-tribulation rapture either.2nd Thess ch2 beginning at verse one. These are the ones who went before us. People say after Rev. Ch4 the church isn’t mentioned anymore, but I really beg to differ, John was shown what was to happen to the church. Without saying the word church, the church was still talked about to the end. How could one go around the world and tell the modern day martyrs about pre-tribulation rapture?


Craig June 28, 2015 at 10:01 am

These early people in the church. Inspiring. Blandina, an incredible and historical story. About the Rapture, I heard a teacher once say something like, “there are pre-trib people, and post trib people and mid-trib people – I’m a pan trib person. God will see to it that it all will pan out in the end – whenever and however that is.”

I’m a pan tribber – live like Jesus is coming 10 minutes from now, not worry so much about the details.

THank you for reading, thank you for your comment, made me re-read Blandina’s story – inspired me. God bless and keep.


Ugwuaba Ezekiel Monday March 4, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Thank you sir for sharing this undisputable truth about the foundation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lord help me to learn and follow faithfully like polycarp.


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