“Paul went through
Strengthening the churches.”
διήρχετο δὲ τὴν Συρίαν καὶ Κιλικίαν ἐπιστηρίζων τὰς ἐκκλησίας.
The author of Acts indicated that Paul went through (διήρχετο δὲ) Syria (τὴν Συρίαν) and Cilicia (καὶ Κιλικίαν), strengthening (ἐπιστηρίζων) the churches or assemblies (τὰς ἐκκλησίας) there. Acts was the only Greek biblical writing that used this word ἐπιστηρίζων, that means to make stronger, prop up, uphold, support, or confirm. This idea of strengthening the fledgling Christian communities was part of their missionary work. This second journey of Paul seems to be on land and not by boat. Syria would have been around Antioch, although there was no mention of any specific place that they went. Cilicia was right next to Syria, but there was no indication of any specific towns or places where these two apostles went. However, they could have stopped in Tarsus since it was the capital of Cilicia and was Paul or Saul’s hometown, and only about 100 miles from Antioch. They would have been visiting the close in gentile Christian communities within 200 miles of Antioch. Do you like to travel by land or sea?