Silas

Companion of St Paul

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Silas
Silas
Companion of St Paul

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Silas was a friend and companion of Paul and was prominent among the members of the church in Jerusalem. We learn of some of his activities from the book of Acts, where he is named Silas. He accompanied Paul the Apostle on his second missionary journey. In various of the New Testament letters we hear of him under the Greek form of his name, Silvanus. Acts 15 records that he was chosen with Paul and Barnabas to take a letter from the council held at Jerusalem to the Christians of Antioch (Acts 15:22).

After encouraging the church, Judas and Silas returned to Jerusalem (Acts 15:33). Silas was soon back in Antioch. When Paul and Barnabas had their disagreements about Mark and went their separate ways (Acts 15:36-40), Paul chose Silas to accompany him on his second missionary journey to Syria, Cilicia and Macedonia. This may suggest that Silas was more sympathetic to Paul’s liberal interpretation of the gospel than Barnabas was. Even so, Silas did not encounter some of the antagonism that Paul seemed to incur from conservative Jews. Silas, along with Paul, was imprisoned and beaten at Philippi (Acts 16:19f), and together they were involved in the riot of the Jews at Thessalonica which led to their leaving there for Beroea (Acts 17:1-15)(1 Thessalonians 2:1,2). When Paul departed, Silas remained at Beroea with Timothy, but later rejoined Paul at Corinth (Acts 18:5)(2 Corinthians 1:19).

The conclusion of 1 Peter states that “through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, I have written this short letter to encourage you” (1 Peter 5:12). This reference raises questions about Silvanus’s role as an scribe or secretary/assistant to Peter. Was he merely the scribe, or did he compose the letter himself along the lines sketched by the apostle? 1 Peter was addressed to Christians in Cappadocia, an area never visited by Paul. According to tradition Silas died in Macedonia.

BORN: Unknown

DIED: 65–100 AD, Macedonia.