One of the important cities visited by Paul and Barnabas on the first preaching journey was Pisidian Antioch.
Moving from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the law and the prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent them a message, saying, “Brothers, if you have any message of exhortation for the people, speak it.” (Acts 13:14-15 NET)
Don’t confuse this Antioch in Pisidia, about 100 miles north of Perga, with Antioch in Syria where Barnabas and Saul began their journey (Acts 13:1-4).
Pisidian Antioch had been founded about 350 B.C. by either Seleucus Nicator or his son Antiochus I in ancient Phrygia, near Pisidia. About two thousand Jewish families were brought to Phrygia from Babylon about 200 B.C. (Josephus Ant. xii.3.4). This explains the presence of Jews and the synagogue.
Our photo shows one of the Roman streets at Antioch. The modern Turkish town of Yalvac can be seen in the distance.
Acts 13 should be remembered as the chapter in which Luke records Paul’s sermon on the history of Israel to both Jews and God fearing Gentiles. The sermon recounted here is similar to the sermon Paul heard from the martyr Stephen (Acts 7).
The events at Pisidian Antioch are significant because it is here that we have many Jews and devout god-fearing proselytes accepting the message of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:43). When the Jews began contradicting the gospel we hear the announcement of a more concentrated effort to reach the Gentiles with the Gospel.
Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have appointed you to be a light for the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” When the Gentiles heard this, they began to rejoice and praise the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed for eternal life believed. So the word of the Lord was spreading through the entire region. (Acts 13:46-49 NET)