MACEDONIA

[mass uh DOH neh uh] (meaning unknown)-- a mountainous country north of Greece (Achaia) in the Balkan Peninsula (see Map 7, B-1). This area was visited twice, and perhaps three times, by the apostle Paul.

Macedonia was of little international significance until Philip II of Macedon (ruled 359-336 B. C.) established his capital at PHILIPPI. He defeated the Greek city-states and united them into one kingdom. His son Alexander III of Macedon (ruled 336-323 B. C.), later known as ALEXANDER the Great, built an empire from Greece to the Nile River in Egypt and southeast to the Indus River.

After Alexander's death the generals divided the empire, and Macedonia declined in importance. But Macedonia regained its leading position and was made a colony after the Battle of Philippi (42 B. C.), at which Octavian (Augustus) and Antony defeated Brutus and Cassius on the plains near the city.

The first mention of Macedonia in the Bible is in : the description of Paul's "Macedonian call." In a vision, a man appeared to Paul "and pleaded with him, saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us' ". Paul immediately set sail at Troas for NEAPOLIS , a seaport of Philippi in the extreme eastern part of Macedonia.

Luke gives a detailed account of Paul's journey through Macedonia . At Neapolis Paul picked up the Egnatian Way-- the major road of Macedonia-- and came to PHILIPPI, "the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony" . At Philippi Paul made his first convert in Europe, "a certain woman named Lydia... [who] was a seller of purple" .

After Lydia's baptism and the healing of "a Certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination" , and his imprisonment , Paul set out again on the Egnatian Way through AMPHIPOLIS and APOLLONIA to THESSALONICA - the capital where the proconsul (governor) resided.

The final city Paul visited before leaving Macedonia for Athens was BEREA , where he left Silas and Timothy for a short time to assist in the work .

At the close of this, his second missionary journey, Paul went on to Athens and Corinth and then back to Antioch of Syria . He revisited Macedonia at least once again , and perhaps twice <2 Cor. 2:13; 7:5; Phil. 2:24; 1 Tim. 1:3>.

Several of Paul's travel companions and fellow workers were Macedonians: GAIUS , ARISTARCHUS , SECUNDUS , and SOPATER . The Macedonian Christians' support of the needs of Paul and others is mentioned several times in Paul's letters .

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

(Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

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