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Pisidian Antioch

Where Paul preached his first sermon...

Although overshadowed in the New Testament by a different Antioch (Antioch on the Orontes), Antioch of Pisidia was an important city during Hellenistic and Roman times. Archaeological excavations have uncovered the remains of a thriving city, complete with theater, baths, temples, stadium, nymphaeum, paved streets, and aqueduct. Augustus had a copy of his famous Res Gestae, the list of his accomplishments,inscribed on his sanctuary in the city.

According to the itinerary in Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas visited Pisidian Antioch on their first journey to Asia Minor, having first arrived in Perga on their journey from Cyprus. From Perga they would have followed the Via Sebaste to Antioch. The book of Acts states that on the sabbath Paul and Barnabas went to the synagogue in Antioch and were invited to speak to the people there. Their message was so well received that on the following sabbath “almost the whole city gathered” to hear them (13:44). While they were able to make some converts to Christianity, their popularity created jealousy on the part of some of the Jews, who “incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, and stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their region” (13:49)

possible location of the synagogue Paul preached

Acts 13:13-51

AC 13:13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14 From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak."

AC 13:16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: "Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17 The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, 18 he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, 19 he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.

"After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.'

AC 13:23 "From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25 As John was completing his work, he said: `Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.'

AC 13:26 "Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

AC 13:32 "We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:

" `You are my Son; today I have become your Father. '

AC 13:34 The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words:

" `I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.'

AC 13:35 So it is stated elsewhere:

" `You will not let your Holy One see decay.'

AC 13:36 "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. 37 But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.

AC 13:38 "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. 40 Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:

AC 13:41 " `Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.' "

AC 13:42 As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43 When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.

AC 13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying.

AC 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

" `I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' "

AC 13:48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

AC 13:49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

 

path leading to ancient Pisidian Antioch

grass covered roadway

stone blocks at edge of roadway

site of ancient Pisidian Antioch near West Gate

site of ancient Pisidian Antioch

signage about southwestern city walls

path toward West Gate

carving on stone blocks

reconstructed view of three-arched gateway

signage about Western Gate

remains of Western Gate

houses at side of roadway

houses at side of roadway

houses at side of roadway

poppy flower

crossroad. Left leads to Roman bath

uphill leads to Temple of Augustus

road signs

view of theatre

walls of 4th Century Church of St Paul or basilica

walls of side entrance to basilica

side entrance

possible location of the synagogue that Paul preached in

synagogue

synagogue

floor of the basilica, facing the altar area

main aisle of the basilica

basilica site

sidewalls

basilica, view from altar area

beautiful mosaic floor of basilica

signage, St.Paul's Church (Great Basilica)

theatre

reconstructed view of theatre

signage of theatre

double click photo to enlarge

15 June 2013

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