Author: Ron Graham
Here are some supplementary notes about the two Antiochs, one in Syria and the other in Pisidia, both mentioned in the book of Acts.
1 Antioch in Syria
The first Antioch mentioned in the book of Acts is the large city in Syria (Acts 11:19-30), pointed to on the map by the “finger” of Cyprus.
- Syrian Antioch was the world's third greatest city, bettered only by Rome and Alexandria.
- Antioch stood 25km up river from its seaport Selucia, where the Crontes River entered the Great Sea.
- Infamous for immorality in the form of lustful sports and pleasures.
- A center for the worship of Daphne, a godess whose priestesses were prostitutes.
- When persecution in Jerusalem gave impetus to evangelism, some of the scattered Christians reached Antioch (Acts 11:19).
- A strong church of Christ was established there, and this is where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:19,26).
- From Antioch, a great new missionary effort reached out to the Gentile world (Acts 11:19-21, Acts 13:1-4, Acts 14:24-28).
- Paul spent a lot of time in Antioch prior to his 1st missionary journey (Acts 11:25-26, Acts 15:35).
- Several other church leaders also spent time there (Acts 11:27, Acts 13:1).
- Antioch was the center of a controversy involving Gentile Christians and Jewish law (Acts 11:19-22, Acts 15:22-35, Galatians 2:11-21).
- From Antioch, relief was sent to famine-hit brethren in Judea (Acts 11:27-30).
2 Antioch in Pisidia
The second Antioch is around the corner so to speak, passing northeast through Cilicia and Pisidia past the towns of Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.
- Pisidian Antioch stood on a plateau 3,600 feet above sea level.
- Mentioned in connection with Paul’s 1st missionary journey.
- Paul and Barnabas had to climb a hard mountainous road to get there and preach in the synagogue (Acts 13:14-16).