St. Agabus — He Took Paul’s Belt

St. Agabus is remembered April 8 in the Catholic Church.

Louis Chéron, “The Prophecy of Agabus,” 1687
Louis Chéron, “The Prophecy of Agabus,” 1687 (photo: Public Domain)

We [Paul and possibly Luke] had been there several days when a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. He came up to us, took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit: This is the way the Jews will bind the owner of this belt in Jerusalem, and they will hand him over to the Gentiles. ―Acts 21:10–11


St. Agabus was a Jewish-Christian man from Jerusalem whose gift of prophecy was acknowledged in two different spots within the Book of Acts. During the very early days of Christendom, many believers living in Jerusalem fled to other regions due to severe persecutions. Some traveled to Antioch (in Syria) where the term Christian was actually first used to label followers of Christ. During this time frame, Agabus also traveled to Antioch.

While in Antioch, Agabus pronounced to the brethren that a severe famine was soon to take place. During the reign of Claudius (AD 41–54), a food crisis did indeed occur. Why this foresight of Agabus was included in Luke’s narration is unclear; however, it seems that his prediction brought about a strong sense of charity among the Christians, who organized assistance for suffering brethren during the time of famine.

Later on, Agabus again traveled from Judea, this time to Caesarea, where he met up with Paul. The Christian prophet took Paul’s belt and dramatically foretold of the upcoming arrest of the great evangelizer in Jerusalem. After hearing Agabus’s prediction, those who knew of Paul’s intent to journey on to Jerusalem begged him to stay. Paul also expressed belief in Agabus’s words; he proclaimed that he would indeed continue on to Jerusalem, that he was willing to not only be bound but to die for Jesus. The great missionary soon left for Jerusalem, determined to carry on his work.

After a short time in Jerusalem, a fanatical group riotously tried to kill Paul. The Roman authorities stepped in, arrested Paul, and bound him with chains, thus fulfilling the words of Agabus the prophet.


Discovering St. Agabus in Scripture

St. Agabus is remembered on April 8 in the Catholic Church. Some who need a bit of discernment for one issue or another might turn to this New Testament prophet-saint. Below is a list of four passages on St. Agabus that can be read, studied, and prayed about. If you decide to do this four-day exercise, be sure to ask St. Agabus to pray for your special intentions!

  • Day 1) Acts 11:26b–30
  • Day 2) Acts 21:10–15
  • Day 3) Acts 21:30–33
  • Day 4) Acts 22:29