Acts 16:12
And from there to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony…

The apostle had not paused at Samothrace — an island celebrated for its sanctity and its amulets, its gods and orgies, its Cybele and Cobira — a scene where the mysteries of Eastern and Western superstition seem to have met and blended. Nor did he stop at Neapolis, the harbour of the Thymonic gulf, but he pressed on to Philippi; and the ground of his preference was that it was "the chief city," etc. This cannot mean the chief or capital city, for that was Thessalonica; and if there existed at that period a minuter subdivision, the principal town was Amphipolis. It probably means that it was the first city of the province that lay upon his journey. It was the chief city of that part, and there was every inducement to fix upon it as a centre of operations. As it was a city and a colony, its importance in itself, and in relation to other towns and districts, made it a fitting place for present work and subsequent enterprise. You may either say that Paul went to Philippi as the first city in his path, for he had been summoned into Macedonia, and he could never think of passing the first city which he came to; or that he formally selected Philippi because of its rank and its privileges as a Roman colony. Philippi was anciently called Krenides, or the "Springs," on account of its numerous fountains, in which the Gangites has its sources. Philip, about , enlarged the old town and fortified it, in order to protect the frontiers against Thracian invaders, and named it after himself, to commemorate the addition of a new province to his empire. After the famous battle fought and won in its neighbourhood by the Triumvirs, Augustus conferred special honours on the city, and made it a Roman colony. A military settlement had been made in it, chiefly of the soldiers who had been ranged under the standard of Antony, so that it was a protecting garrison on the confines of Macedonia. A colonia was a reproduction in miniature of the mother city Rome. The Roman law ruled; and the Roman insignia were everywhere seen. The municipal affairs were managed by duumvirs, or praetors. Philippi had also the Jus Italicum, or quaritarian ownership of the soil, its lands enjoying the same freedom from taxation as did the soil of Italy. Highly favoured as Philippi had been, it was in need of "help." Political franchise and Roman rights, Grecian tastes and studies, wide and varied commerce, could not give it the requisite aid. It was sunk in a spiritual gloom, which needed a higher light than Italian jurisprudence or Hellenic culture could bring it, It was helpless within itself, and the "man" who represented it had appealed to the sympathies of a Jewish stranger, whose story of the Cross could lift the darkness off its position and destiny. The spear and phalanx of Macedonia had been famous, and had carried conquest and civilisation through a large portion of the Eastern world; the sun of Greece had not wholly set, and Epicureans and Stoics yet mingled in speculation, and sought after "wisdom"; the sovereignty of Rome had secured peace in all her provinces, and her great roads not only served for the march of the soldier, but for the cortege of the trader; art and law, beauty and power, song and wealth, the statue and the drama, survived and were adored; but there was in many a heart a sense of want and powerlessness, an indefinite longing after some higher good and portion, a painless and restless agitation, which only he of Tarsus could soothe and satisfy with his preaching of the God-man — the life, hope, and centre of humanity.

(Prof. Eadie.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

WEB: and from there to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the foremost of the district, a Roman colony. We were staying some days in this city.

Christianity in Europe
Top of Page
Top of Page