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English Bible Dictionary

Silas

 

(contracted form of Silvanus, woody), an eminent member of the early Christian Church, described under that name in the Acts but as Silvanus in St. Paul's epistles. He first appears as one of the leaders of the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:22) holding the office of an inspired teacher. (Acts 15:32) His name, derived from the Latin silva, "wood," betokens him a Hellenistic Jew, and he appears to have been a Roman citizen, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. (Acts 16:37) He was appointed as a delegate to accompany Paul and Barnabas on their return to Antioch with the decree of the Council of Jerusalem. (Acts 15:22,32) Having accomplished this mission, he returned to Jerusalem. (Acts 15:33) He must, however, have immediately revisited Antioch, for we find him selected by St. Paul as the companion of his second missionary journey. (Acts 15:40; Acts 17:10) At Berea he was left behind with Timothy while St. Paul proceeded to Athens, (Acts 17:14) and we hear nothing more of his movements until he rejoined the apostle at Corinth. (Acts 18:5) His presence at Corinth is several times noticed. (2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1) Whether he was the Silvanus who conveyed St. Peter's first epistle to Asia Minor, (1 Peter 5:12) is doubtful the probabilities are in favor of the identity. A tradition of very slight authority represents Silas to have become bishop of Corinth.

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