Acts 11:19

ESV Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.
NIV Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.
NASB So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.
CSB Now those who had been scattered as a result of the persecution that started because of Stephen made their way as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.
NLT Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to Jews.
KJV Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

What does Acts 11:19 mean?

Through this point in the book of Act, Luke (Acts 1:1) has focused on Jerusalem with a few forays into Judea and Samaria. Now, the action starts to move north. There are fourteen minor and two major cities named "Antioch." The other mentioned in Scripture is in the district of Pisidia in the middle of modern-day Asia Minor. This one is in Syria, just south of the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea. At the time described in this passage, Syrian Antioch is the third largest city in the Roman Empire after Rome and Alexandria. It is a good place for traders from the east to find a ship and avoid the mountain ranges that litter the land route to the west. And it has a large population of Jews.

Phoenicia is the coastal area that includes the city-states Tyre and Sidon. It is north of Galilee, in the thin strip between the Mediterranean and the coastal range. Cyprus is still Cyprus—the large island west of Syria and south of Asia-Minor. It is the home of Barnabas (Acts 4:36–37) and the first stop on Barnabas and Paul's upcoming missionary trip (Acts 13:4–12).

The persecution started with the deacon Stephen. He learned about Jesus in Jerusalem but was apparently a "Hellenist:" a devout Jew who lived somewhere else in the Roman empire, lived a Greek lifestyle, and probably spoke more Greek than Hebrew or Aramaic. Note that "Hellenists" in the following verse will be used slightly differently, referring more broadly to Greek-speakers and in context to Gentiles. Stephen was a powerful apologist and debated the other Hellenists in Jerusalem (Acts 6:8–15). He was so influential, in fact, that he enraged his opponents and they killed him (Acts 7:54–60).

After Stephen's death, a young Pharisee student, Saul, got permission from the Sanhedrin to persecute the Jesus-followers in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1, 3). As the believers fled, they shared Jesus' story and more people came to faith. Saul followed the Jesus-followers north to Damascus, but along the way he met Jesus. He became a believer and eventually returned to Jerusalem. Paul preached boldly and disputed with the Hellenists as Stephen had done, and the Hellenists sought to kill Sau, so the disciples sent him back home to Tarsus, west of Syrian Antioch on the southern coast of modern-day Asia Minor (Acts 9).
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