Thessalonica

Thessalonica In the day of Paul, Thessalonica was the chief city of Macedonia and the seat of the-99 Roman administration in the century before Christ. It was the largest and most populous city in Macedonia with a population of 200,000 people (Exell vi). The city is strategically located on the Thermaic Gulf and has mountains surrounding the city from the east and west. Also the famous highway, called the Egnation Way, ran directly through the city and linked the capital with all the important cities of Macedonia. Because of Thessalonica’s location, it was a valuable center for the spread of the Gospel. According to Strabo, a famous Greek geographer, Thessalonica was founded in 315 BC by the Macedonian general Cassander, who named it after his wife, the daughter of Phillip and stepsister of Alexander the Great (Ellwell 2056). It was settled by refugees from a large number of towns in the same region that had been destroyed by war. When Macedonia was divided into four districts (167 BC), Thessalonica was made the capital of the second division. Because of its natural advantages as a harbor, Thessalonica was a naval base, and a home for and very important commercial port. Thessalonica would be a very diverse city because of its easy access to the outside world. Paul took advantage of that opportunity, and used it to preach to Jews and Gentiles alike (Pfeiffer 457). Paul would come into contact with people from many different nations and ethnic backgrounds. With this opportunity sharing the word with others is why God sent him there. When Macedonia was divided, it became under the rule of the Roman Empire. Under the Romans the city was given considerable independent power, and the citizens governed themselves by politarchs. It was a free city with its own Macedonian democratic constitution (Mills 910). With this much freedom and population this cosmopolitanism must have appealed to Paul. Paul founded the church in …

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