Almost everything we know about Silas comes in Acts 15-18. From these four chapters we learn

  • He was a leader in the Jerusalem church around AD 50 (Acts 15:22).
  • He was a prophet (Acts 15:32).
  • He was a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37).
  • He was sent to Antioch to encourage and strengthen the church, and to explain the decision of the Jerusalem council about what parts of the Jewish Law should be kept by non-Jewish Christians (Acts 15:27-32).
  • He was chosen to accompany Paul on his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 15:40).
  • While in Philippi, Paul and Silas were arrested, beaten and put in stocks (Acts 16:19-24).
  • They escaped miraculously from prison (Acts 16:25-40).
  • Paul and Silas continued preaching through Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17:1-11).
  • Due to the severe Jewish persecution, Paul continued on his own to Athens while Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea (Acts 17:14-15).
  • Some time later (a few months?), Silas and Timothy met up with Paul again in Corinth (Acts 18:5).

It is implied in Acts 18:18 that Silas stayed on in Corinth when Paul departed, although this is not explicitly stated.

Apart from these details, we read of Silas under his other name Silvanus in Paul’s letters to the churches in Corinth and Thessalonica (2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1). However, these references do not provide any additional information.

The last thing we hear of Silas is in one of Peter’s letters (dated around AD 64):

1 Peter 5:12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.

So (assuming it is the same Silvanus) he was still active at that time, and was either assisting Paul in writing the letter, or in delivering this letter to the various churches to which it was addressed in the area now called Turkey (1 Peter 1:1).

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