The Church in Iconium, Lystra

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Iconium was the ancient capital city of the Asia Minor region known as Lycaonia, which itself was part of the Roman province named Galatia. It was a wealthy town located in a well-watered, fertile region along the Roman road called the Via Sebaste.

The Apostle Paul visited Iconium in his first, second and third missionary journeys and founded the city's Christian church. He refers to the trials and troubles he had in preaching the gospel in the city when he writes the following to fellow evangelist Timothy.

Persecutions and sufferings - such as happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra. You know what sort of persecutions I endured; and the Lord delivered me out of them all. And indeed, everyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted. (2Timothy 3:11 - 12, HBFV).


The Apostle Paul evangelized Lystra, located near Iconium, during his first, second and third missionary journeys and founded its Christian church. His discourse to the people during his first visit, after many in the city thought him and Barnabas were gods, is a testament to God's grace. It also reveals that God has made available to all humans a continuing proof of his existence through nature.

Iconium, Lystra New Testament Churches Map

Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, with the same nature as you, and we have been preaching the gospel to you, so that you will turn from these vanities to the living God, Who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all the things in them;

Who in the past generations allowed all peoples to go in their own ways;

Though, indeed, He did not leave Himself without witness, in doing good to us from heaven by giving rain and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14:15 - 17).

´╗┐The city is the location of two pivotal events in the ministry of Paul. The first, which occurred during his initial visit to Lystra, was being stoned and left for dead by the city's inhabitants after Jews from Antioch and Iconium stirred them up against the gospel (Acts 14:19 - 20).

The second crucial event in Paul's life happened near the start of his second journey, was his meeting of a young man (likely around 33 years old) named Timothy (16:1 - 3). A resident of the city (2Timothy 3:10 - 11), he will become Paul's travelling companion and trusted fellow evangelist. Some commentaries speculate that Timothy may have witnessed Paul's stoning a few years previous.

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