|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
The cognomen of the first Roman emperor, C. Julius Caesar Octavianus, during whose reign Christ was born (Luke 2:1). His decree that "all the world should be taxed" was the divinely ordered occasion of Jesus' being born, according to prophecy (Micah 5:2), in Bethlehem. This name being simply a title meaning "majesty" or "venerable," first given to him by the senate (B.C. 27), was borne by succeeding emperors. Before his death (A.D. 14) he associated Tiberius with him in the empire (Luke 3:1), by whom he was succeeded.
(Acts 27:1.: literally, of Sebaste, the Greek form of Augusta, the name given to Caesarea in honour of Augustus Caesar). Probably this "band" or cohort consisted of Samaritan soldiers belonging to Caesarea.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) The first Roman emperor, and noteworthy in Bible history as the emperor in whose reign the Incarnation took place (Luke 2:1). His original name was Caius Octavius Caepias and he was born in 63 B.C., the year of Cicero's consulship. He was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar, his mother Atia having been the daughter of Julia, Caesar's younger sister. He was only 19 years of age when Caesar was murdered in the Senate house (44 B.C.), but with a true instinct of statesmanship he steered his course through the intrigues and dangers of the closing years of the republic, and after the battle of Actium was left without a rival. Some difficulty was experienced in finding a name that would exactly define the position of the new ruler of the state. He himself declined the names of rex and dictator, and in 27 B.C. he was by the decree of the Senate styled Augustus. The epithet implied respect and veneration beyond what is bestowed on human things: "Sancta vocant augusta patres: augusta vocantur Templa sacerdotum rite dicata manu."-Ovid Fasti. 609; compare Dion Cass., 5316
The Greeks rendered the word by Sebastos, literally, "reverend' " (Acts 25:21, 25). The name was connected by the Romans with augur-"one consecrated by religion"-and also with the verb augere. In this way it came to form one of the German imperial titles "Mehrer des Reichs" (extender of the empire). The length of the reign of Augustus, extending as it did over 44 years from the battle of Actium (31 B.C.) to his death (14 A.D.), doubtless contributed much to the settlement and consolidation of the new regime after the troubled times of the civil wars.
It is chiefly through the connection of Judea and Palestine with the Roman Empire that Augustus comes in contact with early Christianity, or rather with the political and religious life of the Jewish people at the time of the birth of Christ: "Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled" (Luke 2:1). During the reign of Herod the Great the government of Palestine was conducted practically without interference from Rome except, of course, as regarded the exaction of the tribute; but on the death of that astute and capable ruler (4 B.C.) none of his three sons among whom his kingdom was divided showed the capacity of their father.
In the year 6 A.D. the intervention of Augustus was invited by the Jews themselves to provide a remedy for the incapacity of their ruler, Archelaus, who was deposed by the emperor from the rule of Judea; at the same time, while Caesarea was still the center of the Roman administration, a small Roman garrison was stationed permanently in Jerusalem. The city, however, was left to the control of the Jewish Sanhedrin with complete judicial and executive authority except that the death sentence required confirmation by the Roman procurator. There is no reason to believe that Augustus entertained any specially favorable appreciation of Judaism, but from policy he showed himself favorable to the Jews in Palestine and did everything to keep them from feeling the pressure of the Roman yoke. To the Jews of the eastern Diaspora he allowed great privileges. It has even been held that his aim was to render them pro-Rom, as a counterpoise in some degree to the pronounced Hellenism of the East; but in the West autonomous bodies of Jews were never allowed (see Mommsen, Provinces of the Roman Empire, chapter 11).
(2) For Augustus in Acts 25:21, 25 the King James Version, see EMPEROR.
Augustus (4 Occurrences)
Luke 2:1 Now it happened in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 25:21 But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. (KJV DBY WBS)
Acts 25:25 But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. (KJV DBY WBS)
Acts 27:1 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. (KJV DBY WBS)