From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

Macedonia was the northern part of the land known today as Greece, and the centre of power during the time of the Greek Empire. It later became an important province of the Roman Empire. Ships from the port of Troas in Asia Minor connected with the port of Neapolis in Macedonia, from where the main highway led through the Macedonian town of Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia and Thessalonica towards Rome ( Acts 16:11-12;  Acts 17:1). Another route went south from Thessalonica through Berea to Athens ( Acts 17:10-15). The administrative centre of the province was Thessalonica.

Paul passed through Macedonia on his second missionary journey and established churches in a number of towns ( Acts 16:9-40;  Acts 17:1-14; see Berea ; Thessalonica ; Philippi ). He revisited the area during his third missionary journey ( Acts 19:21;  Acts 20:1-6;  1 Corinthians 16:5;  2 Corinthians 2:13;  2 Corinthians 7:5). At this time Paul was organizing a collection of money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem, and the Macedonian churches cooperated generously ( Romans 15:26;  2 Corinthians 8:1-4;  2 Corinthians 9:1-4). After being released from his first imprisonment in Rome, Paul visited Macedonia again ( 1 Timothy 1:3).

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

History Archaeological discoveries have demonstrated that Macedonia was settled as early as the Middle Bronze Age (about 1500 B.C.) probably by Thracian and Illyrian tribes. The Macedonians, Hellenic tribes which were part of the Dorian invasion, settled first in the western mountains (the upper Haliacmon valley) before 1200 B.C. They began to conquer the central plains about 700 B.C. The Macedonian kings established their first capital in Aigai, probably not at modern Edessa but at modern Vergina south of the Haliacmon river. There a golden sarcophagus, supposedly of King Philip II (father of Alexander), was found in a vaulted tomb. Later the capital was moved to Pella (birthplace of Alexander the Great) where houses of the Macedonian nobility with beautiful pebble mosaics and the gigantic foundations of the royal palace have been excavated. Between 800,600 B.C. the Macedonians expelled or subjected the older populations. They extended their realm to the east where they incorporated the lands between the Axios and the Strymon. They also reached southward to the coastal lands between Mount Olympus and the Aegean Sea. For several centuries, the Macedonian kings were involved in battles for the control of Upper Macedonia with its mixed Greek, Illyrian, and Thracian population. At the same time, Macedonia came increasingly under the influence of Greek culture and language (the original Macedonian language was probably a different Hellenic dialect). The famous Greek tragedian Euripides spent some time at the court of the Macedonian kings; and Aristotle, before he founded his philosophical school in Athens, served as the teacher of the Macedonian prince Alexander.

Philip II (359-336 B.C.) established firm control over the entire Macedonian area and extended it to the east beyond the Strymon into Thrace. There he founded the city of Philippi in place of the Thracian colony Crenides. It became the chief mining center for the gold and silver mines in the Pangaeon mountain. Philip II also subjected Thessaly to his rule and incorporated the Chalcidice peninsula into his realm. When he was assassinated in 336 B.C., Macedonia was the strongest military power in Greece. Its military strength and the wealth established by Philip II enabled his son Alexander to defeat the Persian Empire and to conquer the entire realm from the eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River (including today's Turkey, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan).

In the Hellenistic period the capital was moved to Thessalonica, founded 315 B.C. at the head of the Thermaic Gulf by Cassander and named for his wife Thessalia. During the Hellenistic period, Macedonia was ruled by the Antigonids, descendants of Alexander's general Antigonus Monophhythalmus. In 168 B.C. Perseus, the last Macedonian king, was defeated by the Romans. Rome first divided Macedonia into four independent “free” districts, then established it as a Roman province (148 B.C.) with Thessalonica as the capital and Beroea as the seat of the provinical assembly. During the time of Augustus, some of the Macedonian cities were refounded as Roman colonies: Dion, at the foot of Mount Olympus, became Colonia Julia Augusta Diensis; Philip pi , where Marc Antony had defeated the assassins of Caesar—Brutus and Cassius—was settled with Roman veterans and renamed Colonia Augusta Julia Philip pensium . While the general language of Macedonia remained Greek, the official language of the Roman colonies was Latin (until after A.D. 300 almost all inscriptions found in these cities are in Latin). At the time of the Great Persecution of the Christians (303-311), Thessalonica was one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire and served as residence of the emperor Galerius, one of the most fanatic persecutors of Christianity.

Religions Ancient Macedonian religion was dominated by two different elements. (1) The Macedonians who had conquered the country brought their own gods which are on the whole the same as the traditional gods of the Greeks. Among them, Zeus as the father of Makedon, founding hero of the Macedonians, and Herakles are the two most important deities. Also the cult of the Greek god Dionysus was widespread. Both Dionysus and Herakles appear as the patron deities of Alexander the Great. (2) At the same time, the Macedonians adopted several of the older cults and deities of the indigenous population, especially of the Thracians. A female deity of Thracian origin appears under the Greek name Artemis; numerous rock reliefs of this Artemis have been discovered on the Acropolis of Philippi where she sometimes appears with a tree of life in one hand. In Lefkopetra, a few miles west of Beroea, a temple of the “Aboriginal Mother of the Gods” has recently been discovered. Most important became the acceptance of the Thracian Cabirus. On the island of Samothrace two Cabiri were worshiped in a famous mystery cult together with a Thracian mother goddess. In the cities of Thessalonica and Philippi, one Cabirus was venerated as the founding hero of the city. As he is depicted with a hammer in one hand and a drinking horn in the other, he also seems to have been revered as the patron deity of construction workers and miners. In Thessalonica, his role was later assumed by the Christian martyr Demetrius. A widespread religious symbol was the “Macedonian rider,” depicted on coins of the Macedonian kings and on many tombstones. He may have been understood as a guide to the afterlife. This originally Thracian hero became the prototype for the Christian saint George. Belief in the judgment of the dead and an afterlife is in evidence in the paintings of a Macedonian tomb found near Lefkadia.

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, new cults were introduced to Macedonia. The cult of the Egyptian gods Sarapis, Isis, and Anubis was established in Thessalonica before 100 B.C. The Egyptian sanctuary discovered in Thessalonica included, together with many inscriptions and votive offerings, a dining club for slaves and freedmen under the tutelage of the god Anubis. An Egyptian sanctuary was also excavated on the slope of the acropolis of Philippi and in the Roman colony Dion. Worship of “God the Most High” (Zeus Hypsistos), elsewhere associated with the God of the Israelites, is also in evidence. Roman veterans who were settled in the newly founded colonies brought their gods to Macedonia; a sanctuary dedicated to the Italian god Silvanus was found on the acropolis of Philippi. Temples for the worship of the Roman emperor were established in most cities. In Thessalonica the imperial cult appears in the special form of the worship of the Roman benefactors. The evidence for ancient Judaism in Macedonia is meager. An inscription (still unpublished) recently found in Philippi mentions a synagogue. The only evidence for Israelites in Thessalonica comes from a Samaritan inscription dating after A.D. 400. A Jewish synagogue has been excavated recently in the Macedonian city of Stobi in the valley of the Axios (Vardar) River (in Yugoslav Macedonia).

Christianity in Macedonia The Christian message came to Macedonia through the preaching of the apostle Paul.  Acts 16:9-10 describes the dream vision that came to Paul in Troas: a Macedonian appeared to him and invited him to Macedonia. Paul and his associates, sailing from Troas via Samothrace, arrived in Neapolis (today Kavalla), the most important port of eastern Macedonia, and went inland to Philippi where, according to the account of   Acts 16:14-15 , they were received by Lydia, a God-fearer from Thyatira, and founded the first Christian community in Europe, probably in the year A.D. 50. The correspondence of Paul with this church, now preserved in the Epistle to the Philippians, gives testimony to the early development, organization, and generosity of this church. Forced to leave Philippi after an apparently brief stay ( Acts 16:16-40 reports the incident of the healing of a possessed slave girl and Paul's subsequent imprisonment), Paul went to the capital Thessalonica via Amphipolis on the Via Egnatia (  Acts 17:1 ). The church which he founded in Thessalonica (compare  Acts 17:2-12 ) was the recipient of the oldest Christian writing, i.e., the First Letter to the Thessalonians which Paul wrote from Corinth after he had preached in Beroea and in Athens ( Acts 17:13-15 ).

Apart from this Pauline correspondence, our information about the Macedonian churches in the first three Christian centuries is extremely slim. Shortly after A.D. 100, bishop Polycarp of Smyrna wrote to the Philippians who had asked him to forward copies of the letters of the famous martyr Ignatius of Antioch. Polycarp also wrote to advise the Philippians with respect to the case of a presbyter who had embezzled funds. Otherwise, almost no detailed information is available for the time before Constantine.

Helmut Koester

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]


This was the land of the Macedones, a Doric branch of the Hellenic stock, who settled on the banks of the Haliacmon and Axius, above the Thermaic Gulf, and gradually extended their power over the hill-peoples in the N. and W., as well as the lowland tribes which separated them from the sea. Their enlarged country, with its ‘vast plains, rich mountains, verdant prairies, extended views, very different from those charming little mazes of the Greek site’ (E. Renan, St. Paul , Eng. translation, 1889, p. 82), was a meet nurse for a successful and conquering race. Centuries of undisturbed growth gave them a great reserve of moral as well as material strength. ‘As for Macedonia, it was probably the region the most honest, the most serious, the most pious of the ancient world’ ( ib. p. 80). And ere long it had the opportunity of showing its quality. When Greece lay weakened by the mutual jealousy of her city-states and consequent incapacity for concerted action, the genius of Philip of Macedon unified and consolidated a group of free and hardy races, fostered their national spirit, and created the most effective fighting-machine known to antiquity. Entering on a splendid heritage, his greater son achieved the conquest of the world ( 1 Maccabees 1:1-9). Even a century later, when the Macedonians had to try conclusions with the Romans, whom in many respects they strikingly resembled, their strength and spirit were but little impaired, and ‘with a power in every point of view far inferior’ Hannibal was ‘able to shake Rome to its foundations’ (T. Mommsen, The History of Rome , Eng. translation, 1894, ii. 491). But the bravest armies can do little unless they are efficiently led, and at Cynoscephalae (197 b.c.), and again at Pydna (168), the once invincible phalanx was broken at last.

The conquered nation was disarmed and divided. ‘Macedonia was abolished. In the conference at Amphipolis on the Strymon the Roman commission ordained that the compact, thoroughly monarchical, single state should be broken up into four republican-federative leagues moulded on the system of the Greek confederacies, viz. that of Amphipolis in the eastern regions, that of Thessalonica with the Chaleidian peninsula, that of Pella on the frontiers of Thessaly, and that of Pelagonia in the interior’ (Mommsen, op. cit. p. 508). No one was allowed to marry, or to purchase houses or lands, except in his own tetrarchy. The Macedonians compared the severance of their country to the laceration and disjointing of a living creature (Livy, xlv. 30).

It has been supposed that a reference to this partition is contained in  Acts 16:12, where Philippi is described as πρώτη τῆς μερίδος Μακεδονίας πόλις, κολωνία. This cannot mean that Philippi was the first city of Macedonia reached by St. Paul, for he had landed at Neapolis. Following Blass, T. Zahn ( Introd. to the NT , Eng. translation, 1909, i. 532 f.) therefore proposes to read πρώτης, and to paraphrase: ‘a city belonging to the first of those four districts of Macedonia, i.e. the first which Paul touched on his journey.’ But the interpretation is not plausible. Not only is the suggested detail regarding the Apostle’s movements singularly flat and commonplace, but it is highly probable that the old division into tetrarchies had long ceased to have more than an antiquarian interest. For the best explanation of the difficult phrase ‘the first of the district’ see Philippi.

In 146 b.c. Macedonia received a provincial organization, and Thessalonica was made the seat of government. Including part of Illyria as well as Thessaly, the province extended from the Adriatic to the aegean, and was traversed by the Via Egnatia , which joined Dyrrhachium and Apollonia in the West with Amphipolis and another Apollonia in the East. Augustus made it a senatorial province in 27 b.c., Tiberius an Imperial in a.d. 15, and Claudius restored it to the senate in a.d. 44. In St. Paul’s time it was therefore governed by a proconsul of praetorian rank.

In the Acts and the Epistles Macedonia is often linked with Achaia ( Acts 19:21,  Romans 15:26,  2 Corinthians 9:2,  1 Thessalonians 1:7-8), and as the latter term can denote only the province, it is natural to suppose that Macedonia has also its official Roman meaning. St. Paul’s entry into Europe was occasioned by the vision of ‘a man of Macedonia’ ( Acts 16:9). Ramsay ( St. Paul , 1895, p. 202 ff.) has hazarded the suggestion that this man was no other than the historian of the Acts; in which case the night vision would doubtless be preceded and followed by substantial arguments by day. The theory is supposed to account for the abundance of detail, as well as the apparently keen personal interest, with which St. Luke tells this part of his story. He seems to hurry breathlessly over wide tracts of Asia Minor, until he gets St. Paul down to Troas and across the aegean ( Acts 16:1-11), after which his style of narration at once becomes leisurely and expansive (see Luke). St. Paul founded Macedonian churches in Philippi, Berœa, and Thessalonica; to two of them he wrote letters that are extant; and all of them were conspicuous for their loyalty to, and affection for, their founder. He had happy memories of ‘the grace of God in the churches of Macedonia’ ( 2 Corinthians 8:1) and of ‘all the brethren in all Macedonia’ ( 1 Thessalonians 4:10). He loved to re-visit his first European mission-field ( Acts 19:21;  Acts 20:1-3,  1 Corinthians 16:5,  2 Corinthians 1:20;  2 Corinthians 2:13;  2 Corinthians 7:5;  2 Corinthians 8:1;  2 Corinthians 9:2;  2 Corinthians 9:4), and among other ‘men of Macedonia’ who aided and cheered him were Gaius and Aristarchus ( Acts 19:29), Secundus of Thessalonica ( Acts 20:4), Sopater of Berœa ( Acts 20:4), and Epaphroditus of Philippi ( Philippians 2:25). One of the most remarkable features of all the churches of Macedonia was the ministry of women, on which see J. B. Lightfoot, Philippians 4, 1878, p. 56.

James Strahan.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

The first country in Europe where Paul preached the gospel, in obedience to the vision of a man of Macedonia, saying "come over and help us." The Haemus (Balkan) range, separating it from Maesia, is on its N.; the Pindus, separating it from Epirus, on the W.; the Cambunian hills S. separating Macedonia from Thessaly; Thrace and the Aegean sea E. There are two great plains, one watered by the Axius entering the sea near Thessalonica, the other by the Strymon which passes near Philippi and empties itself below Amphipolis. Between lies Mount Athos, across the neck of which Paul often travelled with his companions. Philip (from whom Philippi is named) and Alexander were its most famous kings. When Rome conquered it from Perseus, Aemilius Paulus after the battle of Pydna divided it into Macedonia Prima, Secunda, Tertia, and Quarta. Macedonia Prima, the region E. of the Strymon, had Amphipolis as its capital, Macedonia Secunda, the region between the Strymon and Axius, had Thessalonica. Macedonia Tertia, from the Axius to the Peneus, had Pella.

Macedonia Quarta, the remainder, had Pelagonia. In New Testament times the whole of Macedonia, Thessaly, and a district along the Adriatic, was made one province under a proconsul at Thessalonica the capital. The great Ignatian Road joined Philippi and Thessalonica, and led toward Illyricum ( Romans 15:19). Philippi had supplanted Amphipolis in importance. Mention of Macedonia in this wide sense occurs  Acts 16:9-12;  Acts 18:5;  Acts 19:21-22;  Acts 19:29;  Acts 20:1-3;  Acts 27:2;  Romans 15:26;  1 Corinthians 16:5;  2 Corinthians 1:16;  2 Corinthians 2:13;  2 Corinthians 7:5;  2 Corinthians 8:1;  2 Corinthians 9:2;  2 Corinthians 9:4;  2 Corinthians 11:9;  Philippians 4:15;  1 Thessalonians 1:7-8;  1 Thessalonians 4:10;  1 Timothy 1:3 (which last passage proves Paul accomplished the wish expressed in his first imprisonment,  Philippians 2:24). Achaia S., Illyricum N.W., and Macedonia comprehended the whole region between the Danube and the southernmost point of the Peloponnese.

The Macedonian Christians are highly commended; the Bereans for their readiness in receiving the word, and withal diligence in testing the preached word by the written word ( Acts 17:11); the Thessalonians for their "work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus," so that they were "examples" to all others ( 1 Thessalonians 1:3;  1 Thessalonians 1:7); the Philippians for their liberal contributions to Paul's sustenance ( Philippians 4:10;  Philippians 4:14-19;  2 Corinthians 9:2;  2 Corinthians 11:9). Lydia was the first European convert, and women were Paul's first congregation ( Acts 16:13-14); so the female element is prominent at Philippi in the epistle to the Philippians as working for Christ ( Philippians 4:2-3). How Christianity, starting from that beginning, has since elevated woman socially throughout Europe!

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Macedo'nia. (Extended Land). A large and celebrated country lying north of Greece, the first part of Europe which received the gospel directly from St. Paul, and an important scene of his subsequent missionary labors and those of his companions. It was bounded by the range of Haemus or the Balkan northward, by the chain of Pindus westward, by the Cambunian hills southward, by which it is separated from Thessaly, an is divided on the east from Thrace by a less definite mountain boundary running southward from Haemus.

Of the space thus enclosed, two of the most remarkable physical features are two great plains, one watered by the Axius, which comes to the sea, at the Thermaic Gulf, not far from Thessalonica; the other by the Strymon, which after passing near Philippi, flows out below Amphipolis. Between the mouths of these two rivers, a remarkable peninsula projects, dividing itself into three points, on the farthest of which Mount Athos rises nearly into the region of perpetual snow. Across the neck of this peninsula, St. Paul travelled, more than once, with his companions.

This general sketch sufficiently describes the Macedonia which was ruled over by Philip and Alexander and which the Romans conquered from Perseas. At first, the conquered country was divided by Aemilius Paulus into four districts, but afterward, was made one province and centralized under the jurisdiction of a proconsul, who resided at Thessalonica.

The character of the Christians of Macedonia is set before us in Scripture in a very favorable light. The candor of the Bereans is highly commented,  Acts 17:11, the Thessalonians were evidently objects of St. Paul's peculiar affection,  1 Thessalonians 2:8;  1 Thessalonians 2:17-20;  1 Thessalonians 3:10, and the Philippians, besides their general freedom from blame, are noted as remarkable for their liberality and self-denial.  Philemon 4:10;  Philemon 4:14-19;  2 Corinthians 9:2;  2 Corinthians 9:11:9.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A large country lying north of Greece proper, bounded south by Thessaly and Epirus, east by Thrace and the Aegean sea, west by the Adriatic Sea and Illyria, and north by Dardania and Moesia. Its principal rivers were the Strymon and Axius. Its most celebrated mountains were Olympus and Athos: the former renowned in heathen mythology as the residence of the gods, lying on the confines of Thessaly, and principally within the state; the latter being at the extremity of a promontory which juts out into the Aegean sea, and noted in modern times as the seat of several monasteries, in which are many manuscripts supposed to be valuable. This region is believed to have been peopled by Kittim,  Genesis 10:4; but little is known of its early history. The Macedonian Empire is traced back some four hundred years before the Famous Philip, under whom, and especially under his son Alexander the Great, it reached the summit of its power. Alexander, B. C. 336-323, at the head of Macedonians and Greeks united, conquered a large part of western and southern Asia.

This power was foretold by Daniel,  Daniel 8:3-8 , under the symbol of a goat with one horn; and it is worthy of note that ancient Macedonian coins still exist, bearing that national symbol. After the death of Alexander, the power of the Macedonians declined, and they were at length conquered by the Romans under Paulus Emilius, B. C. 168, who divided their country into four districts. The Romans afterwards divided the whole of Greece and Macedonia into two great provinces, which they called Macedonia and Achaia, B. C. 142,  Romans 15:26   2 Corinthians 9:2 . See Greece .

In the New Testament the name is probably to be taken in this latter sense. Of the cities of Macedonia proper, there are mentioned in the New Testament, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Berea, Neapolis, Philippi, and Thessalonica. This country early received the gospel, A. D. 55, Paul having been summoned to labor there by a supernatural vision,  Acts 16:9   20:1 . Its fertile soil is now languishing under the Turkish sway.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

MACEDONIA. The Macedonians were a part of the Hellenic race who settled early in history in the region round the river Axius at the N. W. corner of the Ægæan. When they first came into Greek politics they had dominion from the mountains N. of Thessaly to the river Strymon, except where the Greek colonies of the peninsula of Chalcidice kept them back. Their race was probably much mixed with Illyrian and Thracian elements; they did not advance in culture with Southern Greece, but kept their primitive government under a king, and were regarded by the Greeks as aliens. Down to the time of Philip (b.c. 359) they played a minor part as allies of various Greek cities having interests in the N. Ægæan. Under Philip, through his organization of an army and his diplomatic skill, they became masters of Greece, and under his son Alexander conquered the East. The dynasties which they established in Syria and Egypt were Macedonian, but in the subsequent Hellenization of the East they took no larger part than other Greek races. In their original dominions they remained a hardy and vigorous race. After several wars with Rome, Macedonia was divided into four separate districts with republican government, but it received the regular organization of a province in b.c. 146.

Macedonia was the scene of St. Paul’s first work in Europe. See Philippi, Thessalonica, BerÅ“a. The province at that time included Thessaly, and stretched across to the Adriatic; but Philippi was a colony, not subject to the governor of the province, and Thessalonica was also a ‘free city,’ with the right of appointing its own magistrates. The Via Egnatia ran across the province from Dyrrhachium to Neapolis, and St. Paul’s journey was along this from Neapolis through Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, to Thessalonica. A further visit is recorded in  Acts 20:3-8 , and the Pastoral Epistles imply another after his first imprisonment (  1 Timothy 1:3 ).

A. E. Hillard.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Macedonia ( Măs-E-Ă Ô'Ni-Ah ), Extended Land. Macedonia is situated in a great basin north of Greece, nearly surrounded by the mountains and the sea. The third great world-kingdom, the Macedonian empire, received its name from this comparatively little spot. Comp.  Daniel 8:5-8;  Daniel 8:21. The Romans conquered the territory from Perseus. It was at first divided into four districts, afterward consolidated into one with its capital at Thessalonica, where the proconsul resided. In New Testament history Macedonia holds an important place because of the labors of the apostles. Paul was called there by the vision of the "man of Macedonia," and made a most successful missionary tour.  Acts 16:10;  Acts 17:1-12. He visited it again,  Acts 20:1-6, and probably for a third time. Comp.  1 Timothy 1:3;  Philippians 2:24. His Epistles to the Thessalonians and Philippians show that the Macedonian Christians exhibited many excellent traits. The details of his work can be studied in connection with the cities of Macedonia visited by him. See Neapolis, Philippi, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Beræa.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

The northern part of Greece as divided by the Romans. It contained the cities of Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Thessalonica, Apollonia, and Berea. Paul saw in a vision a man of Macedonia, who said, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." To this he at once responded, believing it was a call from the Lord, and thus the gospel extended to Europe. The churches of Macedonia were specially commended for their liberality.  Acts 16:9-12;  Acts 18:5;  Acts 19:21,22,29;  Acts 20:1,3;  Romans 15:26;  1 Corinthians 16:5;  2 Corinthians 1:16;  2 Corinthians 2:13;  2 Corinthians 7:5;  2 Corinthians 8:1;  2 Corinthians 9:2,4;  2 Corinthians 11:9;  Philippians 4:15;  1 Thessalonians 1:7,8;  1 Thessalonians 4:10;  1 Timothy 1:3 .

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [10]

a kingdom of Greece, having Thrace to the north, Thessaly south, Epirus west, and the AEgean Sea east. Alexander the Great, son of Philip, king of Macedonia, having conquered Asia, and subverted the Persian empire, the name of the Macedonians became very famous throughout the east; and it is often given to the Greeks, the successors of Alexander in the monarchy. In like manner, the name of Greeks is often put for Macedonians, 2Ma_4:36 . When the Roman empire was divided, Macedonia fell to the share of the emperor of the east. After it had long continued subject to the Romans, it fell under the power of the Ottoman Turks, who are the present masters of it.

St. Paul was invited by an angel of the Lord, who appeared to him at Troas, to come and preach the Gospel in Macedonia,  Acts 16:9 . After this vision, the Apostle no longer doubted his divine call to preach the Gospel in Macedonia; and the success that attended his ministry confirmed him in his persuasion. Here he laid the foundation of the churches of Thessalonica and Philippi.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Acts 16:9 Romans 15:26 2 1:16 11:9 Philippians 4:15 Acts 16:10-17:15 Philippians 2:24 1 Timothy 1:3 Acts 16:13-15

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [12]

A kindom of Greece. (See  Acts 16:9)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

mas - - dō´ni - a ( Μακεδονία , Makedonı́a , ethnic Μακεδών , Makedṓn ):

I. The Macedonian People And Land

II. History Of Macedonia

1. Philip and Alexander

2. Roman Intervention

3. Roman Conquest

4. Macedonia a Roman Province

5. Later History

III. Paul And Macedonia

1. Paul's First Visit

2. Paul's Second Visit

3. Paul's Third Visit

4. Paul's Later Visits

IV. The Macedonian Church

1. Prominence of Women

2. Marked Characteristics

3. Its Members


A country lying to the North of Greece, afterward enlarged and formed into a Roman province; it is to the latter that the term always refers when used in the New Testament.

I. The Macedonian People and Land.

Ethnologists differ about the origin of the Macedonian race and the degree of its affinity to the Hellenes. But we find a well-marked tradition in ancient times that the race comprised a Hellenic element and a non-Hellenic, though Aryan, element, closely akin to the Phrygian and other Thracian stocks. The dominant race, the Macedonians in the narrower sense of the term, including the royal family, which was acknowledged to be Greek and traced its descent through the Temenids of Argos back to Heracles (Herodotus v. 22), settled in the fertile plains about the lower Haliacmon ( Karasu or Vistritza ) and Axius ( Vardar ), to the North and Northwest of the Thermaic Gulf. Their capital, which was originally at Edessa or Aegae ( Vodhena ), was afterward transferred to Pella by Philip II. The other and older element - the Lyncestians, Orestians, Pelagonians and other tribes - were pushed back northward and westward into the highlands, where they struggled for generations to maintain their independence and weakened the Macedonian state by constant risings and by making common cause with the wild hordes of Illyrians and Thracians, with whom we find the Macedonian kings in frequent conflict. In order to maintain their position they entered into a good understanding from time to time with the states of Greece or acknowledged temporarily Persian suzerainty, and thus gradually extended the sphere of their power.

II. History of Macedonia.

Herodotus (viii. 137-39) traces the royal line from Perdiccas I through Argaeus, Philip I, Aeropus, Alcetas and Amyntas I to Alexander I, who was king at the time of the Persian invasions of Greece. He and his son and grandson, Perdiccas 2 and Archelaus, did much to consolidate Macedonian power, but the death of Archelaus (399 BC) was followed by 40 years of disunion and weakness.

1. Philip and Alexander:

With the accession of Philip II, son of Amyntas II, in 359 BC, Macedonia came under the rule of a man powerful alike in body and in mind, an able general and an astute diplomatist, one, moreover, who started out with a clear perception of the end at which he must aim, the creation of a great national army and a nation-state, and worked consistently and untiringly throughout his reign of 23 years to gain that object. He welded the Macedonian tribes into a single nation, won by force and fraud the important positions of Amphipolis, Pydna, Potidaea, Olynthus, Abdera and Maronea, and secured a plentiful supply of gold by founding Philippi on the site of Crenides. Gradually extending his rule over barbarians and Greeks alike, he finally, after the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), secured his recognition by the Greeks themselves as captain-general of the Hellenic states and leader of a Greco-Macedonian crusade against Persia. On the eve of this projected eastern expedition, however, he was assassinated by order of his dishonored wife Olympias (336 BC), whose son, Alexander the Great, succeeded to the throne. After securing his hold on Thrace, Illyria and Greece, Alexander turned eastward and, in a series of brilliant campaigns, overthrew the Persian empire. The battle of the Granicus (334 BC) was followed by the submission or subjugation of most of Asia Minor. By the battle of Issus (333), in which Darius himself was defeated, Alexander's way was opened to Phoenicia and Egypt; Darius' second defeat, at Arbela (331), sealed the fate of the Persian power. Babylon, Susa, Persepolis and Ecbatana were taken in turn, and Alexander then pressed eastward through Hyrcania, Aria, Arachosia, Bactria and Sogdiana to India, which he conquered as far as the Hyphasis ( Sutlej ): thence he returned through Gedrosia, Carmania and Persis to Babylon, to make preparations for the conquest of Arabia. A sketch of his career is given in   1 Maccabees 1:1-7 , where he is spoken of as "Alexander the Macedonian, the son of Philip, who came out of the land of Chittim" (1:1): his invasion of Persia is also referred to in  1 Maccabees 6:2 , where he is described as "the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Greeks," i.e. the first who united in a single empire all the Greek states, except those which lay to the West of the Adriatic. It is the conception of the Macedonian power as the deadly foe of Persia which is responsible for the description of Haman in Additions to  Esther 16:10 as a Macedonian, "an alien in truth from the Persian blood," and for the attribution to him of a plot to transfer the Persian empire to the Macedonians (verse 14), and this same thought appears in the Septuagint's rendering of the Hebrew Agagite ( אגגי , 'ăghāghı̄ ) in   Esther 9:24 as Macedonian ( Makedōn ).

2. Roman Intervention:

Alexander died in June 323 BC, and his empire fell a prey to the rivalries of his chief generals ( 1 Maccabees 1:9 ); after a period of struggle and chaos, three powerful kingdoms were formed, taking their names from Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. Even in Syria, however, Macedonian influences remained strong, and we find Macedonian troops in the service of the Seleucid monarchs ( 2 Maccabees 8:20 ). In 215 King Philip V, son of Demetrius 2 and successor of Antigonus Doson (229-220 BC), formed an alliance with Hannibal, who had defeated the Roman forces at Lake Trasimene (217) and at Cannae (216), and set about trying to recover Illyria. After some years of desultory and indecisive warfare, peace was concluded in 205, Philip binding himself to abstain from attacking the Roman possessions on the East of the Adriatic. The Second Macedonian War, caused by a combined attack of Antiochus 3 of Syria and Philip of Macedon on Egypt, broke out in 200 and ended 3 years later in the crushing defeat of Philip's forces by T. Quinctius Flamininus at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly (compare  1 Maccabees 8:5 ). By the treaty which followed this battle, Philip surrendered his conquests in Greece, Illyria, Thrace, Asia Minor and the Aegean, gave up his fleet, reduced his army to 5,000 men, and undertook to declare no war and conclude no alliance without Roman consent.

3. Roman Conquest:

In 179 Philip was succeeded by his son Perseus, who at once renewed the Roman alliance, but set to work to consolidate and extend his power. In 172 war again broke out, and after several Roman reverses the consul Lucius Aemilius Paulus decisively defeated the Macedonians at Pydna in 168 Bc (compare  1 Maccabees 8:5 , where Perseus is called "king of Chittim "). The kingship was abolished and Perseus was banished to Italy. The Macedonians were declared free and autonomous; their land was divided into four regions, with their capitals at Amphipolis, Thessalonica, Pella and Pelagonia respectively, and each of them was governed by its own council; commercium and connubium were forbidden between them and the gold and silver mines were closed. A tribute was to be paid annually to the Roman treasury, amounting to half the land tax hitherto exacted by the Macedonian kings.

4. Macedonia a Roman Province:

But this compromise between freedom and subjection could not be of long duration, and after the revolt of Andriscus, the pseudo-Philip, was quelled (148 BC), Macedonia was constituted a Roman province and enlarged by the addition of parts of Illyria, Epirus, the Ionian islands and Thessaly. Each year a governor was dispatched from Rome with supreme military and judicial powers; the partition fell into abeyance and communication within the province was improved by the construction of the Via Egnatia from Dyrrhachium to Thessalonica, whence it was afterward continued eastward to the Nestus and the Hellespont. In 146 the Acheans, who had declared war on Rome, were crushed by Q. Caecilius Metellus and L. Mummius, Corinth was sacked and destroyed, the Achean league was dissolved, and Greece, under the name of Achea, was made a province and placed under the control of the governor of Macedonia. In 27 BC, when the administration of the provinces was divided between Augustus and the Senate, Macedonia and Achea fell to the share of the latter (Strabo, p. 840; Dio Cassius liii. 12) and were governed separately by ex-praetors sent out annually with the title of proconsul. In 15 AD, however, senatorial mismanagement had brought the provinces to the verge of ruin, and they were transferred to Tiberius (Tacitus, Annals , i. 76), who united them under the government of a legatus Augusti pro praetore until, in 44 AD, Claudius restored them to the Senate (Suetonius, Claudius 25; Dio Cassius 60 .24). It is owing to this close historical and geographical connection that we find Macedonia and Achia frequently mentioned together in the New Testament, Macedonia being always placed first (  Acts 19:21;  Romans 15:26;  2 Corinthians 9:2;  1 Thessalonians 1:7 ,  1 Thessalonians 1:8 ).

5. Later History:

Diocletian (284-305 AD) detached from Macedonia Thessaly and the Illyrian coast lands and formed them into two provinces, the latter under the name of Epirus Nova. Toward the end of the 4th century what remained of Macedonia was broken up into two provinces, Macedonia prima and Macedonia secunda or salutaris , and when in 395 the Roman world was divided into the western and eastern empires, Macedonia was included in the latter. During the next few years it was overrun and plundered by the Goths under Alaric, and later, in the latter half of the 6th century, immense numbers of Slavonians settled there. In the 10th century a large part of it was under Bulgarian rule, and afterward colonies of various Asiatic tribes were settled there by the Byzantine emperors. In 1204 it became a Latin kingdom under Boniface, marquis of Monferrat, but 20 years later Theodore, the Greek despot of Epirus, founded a Greek empire of Thessalonica. During the 2nd half of the 14th century the greater part of it was part of the Servian dominions, but in 1430 Thessalonica fell before the Ottoman Turks, and from that time down to the year 1913 Macedonia has formed part of the Turkish empire. Its history thus accounts for the very mixed character of its population, which consists chiefly of Turks, Albanians, Greeks and Bulgarians, but has in it a considerable element of Jews, Gypsies, Vlachs, Servians and other races.

III. Paul and Macedonia.

In the narrative of Paul's journeys as given us in  Acts 13 through 28 and in the Pauline Epistles, Macedonia plays a prominent part. The apostle's relations with the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea will be found discussed under those several headings; here we will merely recount in outline his visits to the province.

1. Paul's First Visit:

On his 2nd missionary journey Paul came to Troas, and from there sailed with Silas, Timothy and Luke to Neapolis, the nearest Macedonian seaport, in obedience to the vision of a Macedonian (whom Ramsay identifies with Luke: see under the word "Philippi") urging him to cross to Macedonia and preach the gospel there ( Acts 16:9 ). From Neapolis he journeyed inland to Philippi, which is described as "a city of Macedonia, the first of the district" ( Acts 16:12 ). Thence Paul and his two companions (for Luke appears to have remained in Philippi for the next 5 years) traveled along the Ignatian road, passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, to Thessalonica, which, though a "free city," and therefore technically exempt from the jurisdiction of the Roman governor, was practically the provincial capital. Driven thence by the hostility of the Jews, the evangelists preached in Berea, where Silas and Timothy remained for a short time after a renewed outbreak of Jewish animosity had forced Paul to leave Macedonia for the neighboring province of Achaia ( Acts 17:14 ). Although he sent a message to his companions to join him with all speed at Athens ( Acts 17:15 ), yet so great was his anxiety for the welfare of the newly founded Macedonian churches that he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica almost immediately ( 1 Thessalonians 3:1 ,  1 Thessalonians 3:2 ), and perhaps Silas to some other part of Macedonia, nor did they again join him until after he had settled for some time in Corinth ( Acts 18:5;  1 Thessalonians 3:6 ). The rapid extension of the Christian faith in Macedonia at this time may be judged from the phrases used by Paul in his 1st Epistle to the Thessalonians, the earliest of his extant letters, written during this visit to Corinth. He there speaks of the Thessalonian converts as being an example "to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia" ( 1 Thessalonians 1:7 ), and he commends their love "toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia" ( 1 Thessalonians 4:10 ). Still more striking are the words, "From you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to God-ward is gone forth" ( 1 Thessalonians 1:8 ).

2. Paul's Second Visit:

On his 3missionary journey, the apostle paid two further visits to Macedonia. During the course of a long stay at Ephesus he laid plans for a 2nd journey through Macedonia and Achaia, and dispatched two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia to prepare for his visit ( Acts 19:21 ,  Acts 19:22 ). Some time later, after the uproar at Ephesus raised by Demetrius and his fellow-silversmiths (Acts 19:23-41), Paul himself set out for Macedonia ( Acts 20:1 ). Of this visit Luke gives us a very summary account, telling us merely that Paul, "when he had gone through those parts, and had given them much exhortation,... came into Greece" ( Acts 20:2 ); but from 2 Cor, written from Macedonia (probably from Philippi) during the course of this visit, we learn more of the apostle's movements and feelings. While at Ephesus, Paul had changed his plans. His intention at first had been to travel across the Aegean Sea to Corinth, to pay a visit from there to Macedonia and to return to Corinth, so as to sail direct to Syria ( 2 Corinthians 1:15 ,  2 Corinthians 1:16 ). But by the time at which he wrote the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, probably near the end of his stay at Ephesus, he had made up his mind to go to Corinth by way of Macedonia, as we have seen that he actually did ( 1 Corinthians 16:5 ,  1 Corinthians 16:6 ). From  2 Corinthians 2:13 we learn that he traveled from Ephesus to Troas, where he expected to find Titus. Titus, however, did not yet arrive, and Paul, who "had no relief for (his) spirit," left Troas and sailed to Macedonia. Even here the same restlessness pursued him: "fightings without, fears within" oppressed him, till the presence of Titus brought some relief (  2 Corinthians 7:5 ,  2 Corinthians 7:6 ). The apostle was also cheered by "the grace of God which had been given in the churches of Macedonia" ( 2 Corinthians 8:1 ); in the midst of severe persecution, they bore their trials with abounding joy, and their deep poverty did not prevent them begging to be allowed to raise a contribution to send to the Christians in Jerusalem ( Romans 15:26;  2 Corinthians 8:2-4 ). Liberality was, indeed, from the very outset one of the characteristic virtues of the Macedonian churches. The Philippians had sent money to Paul on two occasions during his first visit to Thessalonica ( Philippians 4:16 ), and again when he had left Macedonia and was staying at Corinth ( 2 Corinthians 11:9;  Philippians 4:15 ). On the present occasion, however, the Corinthians seem to have taken the lead and to have prepared their bounty in the previous year, on account of which the apostle boasts of them to the Macedonian Christians ( 2 Corinthians 9:2 ). He suggests that on his approaching visit to Achaia he may be accompanied by some of these Macedonians ( 2 Corinthians 9:4 ), but whether this was actually the case we are not told.

3. Paul's Third Visit:

The 3visit of Paul to Macedonia took place some 3 months later and was occasioned by a plot against his life laid by the Jews of Corinth, which led him to alter his plan of sailing from Cenchrea, the eastern seaport of Corinth, to Syria ( 2 Corinthians 1:16;  Acts 20:3 ). He returned to Macedonia accompanied as far as Asia by 3 Macedonian Christians - S opater, Aristarchus and Secundus - and by 4 from Asia Minor. Probably Paul took the familiar route by the Via Egnatia , and reached Philippi immediately before the days of unleavened bread; his companions preceded him to Troas ( Acts 20:5 ), while he himself remained at Philippi until after the Passover (Thursday, April 7, 57 AD, according to Ramsay's chronology), when he sailed from Neapolis together with Luke, and joined his friends in Troas ( Acts 20:6 ).

4. Paul's Later Visits:

Toward the close of his 1st imprisonment at Rome Paul planned a fresh visit to Macedonia as soon as he should be released ( Philippians 1:26;  Philippians 2:24 ), and even before that he intended to send Timothy to visit the Philippian church and doubtless those of Berea and Thessalonica also. Whether Timothy actually went on this mission we cannot say; that Paul himself went back to Macedonia once more we learn from  1 Timothy 1:3 , and we may infer a 5th visit from the reference to the apostle's stay at Troas, which in all probability belongs to a later occasion ( 2 Timothy 4:13 ).

IV. The Macedonian Church.

1. Prominence of Women:

Of the churches of Macedonia in general, little need be said here. A striking fact is the prominence in them of women, which is probably due to the higher social position held by women in this province than in Asia Minor (Lightfoot, Philippians4,55 ff). We find only two references to women in connection with Paul's previous missionary work; the women proselytes of high social standing take a share in driving him from Pisidian Antioch ( Acts 13:50 ), and Timothy's mother is mentioned as a Jewess who believed ( Acts 16:1 ). But in Macedonia all is changed. To women the gospel was first preached at Philippi ( Acts 16:13 ); a woman was the first convert and the hostess of the evangelists ( Acts 16:14 ,  Acts 16:15 ); a slave girl was restored to soundness of mind by the apostle ( Acts 16:18 ), and long afterward Paul mentions two women as having "labored with (him) in the gospel" and as endangering the peace of the church by their rivalry ( Philippians 4:2 ,  Philippians 4:3 ). At Thessalonica a considerable number of women of the first rank appear among the earliest converts ( Acts 17:4 ), while at Berea also the church included from the outset numerous Greek women of high position ( Acts 17:12 ).

2. Marked Characteristics:

The bond uniting Paul and the Macedonian Christians seems to have been a peculiarly close and affectionate one. Their liberality and open-heartedness, their joyousness and patience in trial and persecution, their activity in spreading the Christian faith, their love of the brethren - these are a few of the characteristics which Paul specially commends in them (1,2 Thessalonians; Philippians;  2 Corinthians 8:1-8 ), while they also seem to have been much freer than the churches of Asia Minor from Judaizing tendencies and from the allurements of "philosophy and vain deceit."

3. Its Members:

We know the names of a few of the early members of the Macedonian churches - S opater ( Acts 20:4 ) or Sosipater ( Romans 16:21 : the identification is a probable, though not a certain, one) of Berea; Aristarchus (  Acts 19:29;  Acts 20:4;  Acts 27:2;  Colossians 4:10;  Philippians 1:24 ), Jason ( Acts 17:5-9;  Romans 16:21 ?) and Secundus ( Acts 20:4 ) of Thessalonica; Clement ( Philippians 4:3 ), Epaphroditus ( Philippians 2:25;  Philippians 4:18 ), Euodia ( Philippians 4:2; this, not Euodias (the King James Version), is the true form), Syntyche (same place) , Lydia ( Acts 16:14 ,  Acts 16:40; a native of Thyatira), and possibly Luke (Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler , 201 ff) of Philippi. Gaius is also mentioned as a Macedonian in  Acts 19:29 , but perhaps the reading of a few manuscripts Μακεδόνα is to be preferred to the Textus Receptus of the New Testament Μακεδόνας in which case Aristarchus alone would be a Macedonian, and this Gaius would probably be identical with the Gaius of Derbe mentioned in   Acts 20:4 as a companion of Paul (Ramsay, op. cit., 280). The later history of the Macedonian churches, together with lists of all their known bishops, will be found in Le Quien, Oriens Christianus , II, 1 ff; III, 1089 ff 1045 f.


General: C. Nicolaides, Macedonien , Berlin, 1899; Berard, La Macedoine , Paris, 1897; "Odysseus," Turkey in Europe , London, 1900. Secular History: Hogarth, Philip and Alexander of Macedon , London, 1897, and the histories of the Hellenistic period by Holm, Niese, Droysen and Kaerst. Ethnography and Language: O. Hoffmann, Die Makedonen, ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum , Gottingen, 1906. Topography and Antiquities: Heuzey and Daumet, Mission archeologique de Macedoine , Paris, 1876; Cousinery, Voyage dans la Macedoine , Paris, 1831; Clarke, Travels 4, Vii, Viii London, 1818; Leake, Travels in Northern Greece , III, London, 1835; Duchesne and Bayet, Memoire sur une mission en Macedoine et au Mont Athos , Paris, 1876; Hahn, Reise von Belgrad nach Saloniki , Vienna, 1861. Coins: Head, Historia Nummorum , 193 f; British Museum Catalogue of Coins: Macedonia, etc ., London, 1879. Inscriptions: Cig ,  Numbers 1951-2010; Cil , III, 1 and III, Suppl.; Dimitsas, Ἡ Μακεδονία Athens, 1896.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Macedo′nia, a country lying to the north of Greece Proper, having on the east Thrace and the Aegean Sea, on the west the Adriatic and Illyria, on the north Dardania and Mæsia, and on the south Thessaly and Epirus. The country is supposed to have been first peopled by Chittim or Kittim, a son of Javan [[[Nations, Dispersion Of];]] and in that case it is probable that the Macedonians are sometimes intended when the word Chittim occurs in the Old Testament. Macedonia was the original kingdom of Philip and Alexander, by means of whose victories the name of the Macedonians became celebrated throughout the East, and is often used for the Greeks in Asia generally. The rise of the great empire formed by Alexander is described by the prophet Daniel under the emblem of a goat with one horn . As the horn was a general symbol of power, and as the oneness of the horn implies merely the unity of that power, we are not prepared to go the lengths of some over-zealous illustrators of Scripture, who argue that if a one-horned goat were not a recognized symbol of Macedonia we should not be entitled to conclude that Macedonia was intended. We hold that there could be no mistake in the matter, whatever may have been the usual symbol of Macedonia. It is, however, curious and interesting to know that Daniel did describe Macedonia under its usual symbol, as coins still exist in which that country is represented under the figure of a one-horned goat. There has been much discussion on this subject—more curious than valuable—but the kernel of it lies in this fact.

When subdued by the Romans under Paulus Æmilius (B.C. 168), Macedonia was divided into four provinces; but afterwards (B.C. 142) the whole of Greece was divided into two great provinces, Macedonia and Achaia [[[Greece, Achaia]]] Macedonia therefore constituted a Roman province, governed by a proconsul, in the time of Christ and his Apostles.

The Apostle Paul being summoned in a vision, while at Troas, to preach the Gospel in Macedonia, proceeded thither, and founded the churches of Thessalonica and Philippi , A.D. 55. This occasions repeated mention of the name, either alone (;;;;; ), or along with Achaia . The principal cities of Macedonia were Amphipolis, Thessalonica, and Pella (Liv. xlv. 29); the towns of the province named in the New Testament, and noticed in the present work, are Amphipolis, Thessalonica, Neapolis, Apollonia, and Berea.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [15]

An ancient kingdom lying between Thrace and Illyria, the Balkans and the Ægean; mostly mountainous, but with some fertile plains; watered by the Strymon, Axius, and Heliacmon Rivers; was noted for its gold and silver, its oil and wine. Founded seven centuries B.C., the monarchy was raised to dignity and power by Archelaus in the 5th century. Philip II. (359 B.C.) established it yet more firmly; and his son, Alexander the Great, extended its sway over half the world. His empire broke up after his death, and the Romans conquered it in 168 B.C. Ægæ and Pella were its ancient capitals, Philippi, Thessalonica, and Amphipolis among its towns. After many vicissitudes during the Middle Ages it is now a province of Turkey.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Macedonia'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.