The Jewish Christians in Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch (Acts 11:19)

“They were scattered,

Because of the persecution

That took place

Over Stephen.

They traveled

As far as Phoenicia,


And Antioch.

They were speaking

The word

To no one

Except Jews.”

Οἱ μὲν οὖν διασπαρέντες ἀπὸ τῆς θλίψεως τῆς γενομένης ἐπὶ Στεφάνῳ διῆλθον ἕως Φοινίκης καὶ Κύπρου καὶ Ἀντιοχείας, μηδενὶ λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον εἰ μὴ μόνον Ἰουδαίοις.

The author of Acts was going to show how the further expansion of the followers of Jesus happened.  Those who were scattered (Οἱ μὲν οὖν διασπαρέντες), because of the persecution (ἀπὸ τῆς θλίψεως) that took place (τῆς γενομένης) over Stephen (ἐπὶ Στεφάνῳ) traveled (διῆλθον) as far as Phoenicia (ἕως Φοινίκης), Cyprus (καὶ Κύπρου), and Antioch (καὶ Ἀντιοχείας).  Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word Διασπαρέντες, that means to sow throughout, disperse in foreign lands, or scatter, as in a diaspora.  In their dispersion, they were speaking the word (λαλοῦντες τὸν λόγον) to no one (μηδενὶ) except Jews (εἰ μὴ μόνον Ἰουδαίοις). The death and persecution of Stephen took place in chapter 7:54-60 and 8:1.  “On that day (δὲ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ), a great or severe persecution (διωγμὸς μέγας) began (Ἐγένετο) against the assembly or church (ἐπὶ τὴν ἐκκλησίαν) in Jerusalem (τὴν ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις).  All (πάντες δὲ), except the apostles (πλὴν τῶν ἀποστόλων), were scattered (διεσπάρησαν) throughout the countryside (κατὰ τὰς χώρας) of Judea (τῆς Ἰουδαίας) and Samaria (καὶ Σαμαρίας).”  Suddenly, with the oration and death of Stephen, things had changed in Jerusalem.  The followers of Jesus were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.  The apostles were spared, perhaps due to the early meeting where the Pharisee Gamaliel had told them to leave the leaders of this Jesus movement, Peter and John, alone in chapter 5:38.  Phoenicia was northwest of Galilee, what might be modern day Lebanon, while Cyprus was an island in the Mediterranean Sea, where Barnabas was from.  Do you know anyone who was persecuted?

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