St. Paul in Macedonia -- By: F. F. Bruce

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 10:4 (Autumn 1981)
Article: St. Paul in Macedonia
Author: F. F. Bruce

St. Paul in Macedonia1

F. F. Bruce

[F.F. Bruce, M.A., D.D., F.B.A., is emeritus professor of biblical criticism and exegesis in the University of Manchester, England. He is a well-known New Testament scholar, having authored many articles and books in this field.]


MACEDONIA was an ancient kingdom in the Balkan peninsula, to the north of the Greek states. When the Persians invaded Europe in the early fifth century B.C., the Macedonian kings collaborated with them and so preserved their position2 ; nevertheless Alexander I gave covert aid to the Greeks who were attacked by Xerxes in 480 B.C.3 He and his successors patronized Greek art and letters, and by the fourth century Macedonia was for all practical purposes part of the Greek world.4 Philip II made himself master of the city-states of Greece; after his assassination in 336 B.C. his son Alexander III (the Great) made this united Graeco—Macedonian dominion the base for his conquest of Western Asia and Egypt. With the division of Alexander’s empire after his death (323 B.C.), Macedonia soon became a separate kingdom once again.

The Macedonian kingdom first clashed with the Romans when Philip V (221-179 B.C.) made a treaty with Hannibal during the Second Punic War.5 The Romans, however, stirred up sufficient trouble for him east of the Adriatic to keep him occupied, and his treaty with Hannibal remained ineffective. When the Second Punic War was over, and Hannibal safely out of the way, the Romans remembered Philip and found a pretext for declaring war on him. This Second Macedonian War, as it is called

(200-197 B.C.), ended with Philip’s defeat at Cynoscephalae.6 He was obliged henceforth to confine his rule to Macedonia, and Rome proclaimed herself the liberator and protector of the city-states of Greece.7

Philip’s son Perseus in his turn excited Rome’s suspicions, which were further fomented by his enemy the king of Pergamum, Rome’s ally. The ensuing Third Macedonian War (171-168 B.C.) ended with the Roman victory at Pydna.8 The royal dynasty of Macedonia was abolished; the kingdom was divided by the Romans into four republics.9 ...

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