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Pamphylia

In the time of the New Testament record, Pamphylia was a relatively small Roman Province (as made so by the Emperor Claudius) on the Mediterranean coast of Asia Minor (today known as Turkey). Pisidia was to the north, Cilicia to the east and Lycia to the west. The capital city of Pamphylia was Perga. Pamphylia is mentioned in Bible History specifically by name at the Pentecost "birthday of the Church," then during Paul's first missionary journey and afterward during Paul's ill-fated journey to Rome as a prisoner of the Romans (see the Fact Finder question below).

Paul's First Missionary Journey

"we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia"

People of Pamphylia were present at the Pentecost after Christ's ascension, an event regarded by many as the "birthday of the Church."

"And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue [see Languages], wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?" (Acts 2:5-12 KJV)

Pamphylia was on the route of Paul's first missionary journey (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey) when the newly-converted Paul was yet under the supervision of Barnabas. It was at Pamphylia that John, also called Mark, left them and returned to Jerusalem, a parting that Paul very much did not appreciate, and which, as explained further below, later caused a sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas.

"Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on" (Acts 13:13-15 KJV)

Pamphylia was also on Paul's return journey.

"And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia" (Acts 14:21-25 KJV)

The return home of the then young and inexperienced John Mark from Paul's first missionary journey was the subject of a later disagreement between Paul and Barnabas that caused Paul and Barnabas to go their separate ways, which although regarded by some as unfortunate, it may well have benefited the spread of the Gospel because it doubled their efforts in proclaiming of the Word in a time when there were no means of communication other than in-person preaching - Barnabas went to Cyprus, Paul went again to Asia Minor. Their parting is perhaps yet another example of how sometimes the principle of No Pain, No Gain applies to the ultimate good. It's also important to note that Paul and John Mark later became close friends and associates, after which Mark, along with Matthew, Luke and John, wrote one of the four Gospel books.

"And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches." (Acts 15:36-41 KJV)

After he was arrested by the Romans, Pamphylia is mentioned on the journey that Paul was subjected to as a prisoner on the way to Rome. Although they eventually arrived at Rome, they first endured a shipwreck (see the Fact Finder question below).

"And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus' band. And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary. And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia. And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein" (Acts 27:1-6 KJV)

Fact Finder: What happened on Paul's voyage to Rome as a prisoner?
See The Shipwreck of The Alexandrian Voyager


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