Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Love, a blossom
Strong's Concordance #G1085, #G2953, #G2954

The KJV Old Testament word Chittim (Numbers 24:24, Isaiah 23:1, Jeremiah 2:10), which means "bruisers" (Strong's #H3794), is another possible name for the island of Cyprus.

Cyprus lies only 65 miles (105 kilometers) from the Syrian coast. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea behind Sicily and Sardinia. The island became part of the Roman Empire in 58 B.C. and was soon incorporated into the province of Cilicia.

Christians from the island, some of which may have been converted on Pentecost in 30 A.D., would become the first believers to spread the gospel among the Gentiles (non-Jews, see Acts 11:19 - 21, 21:16).

From Saul to Paul

Accompanied by Barnabas (who lived on the island - Acts 4:36) and John Mark, the Apostle Paul sailed to Cyprus at the start of his first missionary journey. After the team evangelizes Salamis (Acts 13:5), they travel westward to Paphos where they have a unique encounter. They meet with Sergius Paulus, the Roman Proconsul of the island, who also brings with him a sorcerer named Bar-jesus (Elymas in the KJV, verse 8).

Bar-jesus, who hopes to stop Sergius from becoming a Christian, strongly opposes the gospel Paul discusses during the meeting. His efforts are quickly halted, however, when the apostle miraculously commands he be blinded for a season! This act, inspired by God, astonishes the Proconsul and leads to his conversion (Acts 13:9 - 12).

Luke, the writer of Acts, refers to Paul as Saul, his birth name, up to Acts 13:8. It is after God inspires Saul to miraculous confront the black magic practitioner Elymas that Luke begins to call him Paul (Acts 13:9).

Island of Cyprus in the New Testament Map

A revisit

Barnabas and Mark revisit the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in late 49 A.D. after an argument separates them from Paul (Acts 15:36 - 39).

According to Parsons Bible Atlas, one tradition states that Barnabas was stoned to death in Salamis during the reign of Nero.

Important Verses

Acts 4:36
And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus.

Acts 11:19 - 20
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.

And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.

Acts 15:37 - 39
And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.

And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.

Acts 21:3, 16
Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.

There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Additional Studies

Dictionary of Biblical Names
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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).