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English Bible Dictionary

Laodicea

 

(justice of the people), a town in the Roman province of Asia situated in the valley of the Maeander, on a small river called the Lycus, with Colossae and Hierapolis a few miles distant to the west. Built, or rather rebuilt, by one of the Seleucid monarchs, and named in honor of his wife, Laodicea became under the Roman government a place of some importance. Its trade was considerable; it lay on the line of a great road; and it was the seat of a conventus. From the third chapter and seventeenth verse of Revelation we should gather it was a place of great wealth. Christianity was introduced into Laodicea, not, however, as it would seem, through the direct agency of St. Paul. We have good reason for believing that when, in writing from Rome to the Christians of Colossae, he sent a greeting to those of Laodicea, he had not personally visited either place. But the preaching of the gospel at Ephesus, (Acts 18:19; Acts 19:41) must inevitably have resulted in the formation of churches in the neighboring cities, especially where Jews were settled; and there were Jews in Laodicea. In subsequent times it became a Christian city of eminence, the see of bishop and a meeting-place of councils. The Mohammedan invaders destroyed it, and it is now a scene of utter desolation, as was prophesied in (Revelation 3:14-22) and the extensive ruins near Denislu justify all that we read of Laodicea in Greek and Roman writers, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Another biblical subject of interest is connected with Laodicea. From (Colossians 4:16) it appears that St. Paul wrote a letter to this place when he wrote the letter to Colossae. Ussher's view is that it was the same as the Epistle to the Ephesians, which was a circular letter sent to Laodicea among other places. The apocryphal Epistola ad Laodicenses is a late and clumsy forgery.

 

* See also: Laodiceans.

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