Antioch was the third largest city of the Roman Empire. It was non-Jewish, made up of many different races. It soon became the centre of Gentile Christianity.
1. Stephen is martyred and the believers are scattered everywhere. (Ac 8:1-4 )
2. Some travel as far as Antioch. They tell the message to Jews only. (Ac 11:19 )
3. Other believers come from Cyprus and north Africa. They preach to Gentiles in Antioch with dramatic results. (Ac 11:20-21 )
4. The Jerusalem church sends Barnabas, a trusted leader, to investigate.
5. He is pleased at the church’s progress. He collects Saul from Tarsus and the two stay to teach. (Ac 11:22-26 )
6. Here, the name Christians is coined.
7. The Antioch church soon becomes strong. The believers send relief money to the mother church in Jerusalem. (Ac 11:27-30 )
8. Paul and Barnabas are sent out by the church in Antioch. They are the first messengers of the gospel to foreign countries. (Ac 13:1-3 )
The leaders of the church at Antioch give some idea of its cosmopolitan nature:-
Barnabas, a Jew from Cyprus.
Simeon (called the Black) probably from Africa.
Lucius from Cyrene, a north African city.
Manaen, foster-brother to Herod Antipas.
Saul, a Jew from Roman Tarsus, later to become Paul the apostle.