Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Image like, little image
Strong's Concordance #G2430

Mentioned only in the New Testament, 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 ISBE states the following in regard to Iconium's status in the Roman world.

"The emperor Claudius (41 to 54 A.D.) conferred on it the title Claudiconium, which appears on coins of the city and on inscriptions, and was formerly taken as a proof that Claudius raised the city to the rank of a Roman colonia. It was Hadrian (117 to 138 A.D.) who raised the city to colonial rank; this is proved by its new title, Colonia Aelia Hadriana Iconiensium . . ." (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).

The Apostle Paul visited Iconium in his first, second and third missionary journeys and founded the city's Christian church.

Location of Iconium in Ancient Asia Minor Map
Location of Iconium in Ancient Asia Minor

The city was one of the many locations where Paul experienced trouble and persecution by those who opposed the Gospel. In fact, the misdirected zeal of those in the city led many of them to travel to nearby cities such as Lystra just to cause the apostle more problems (Acts 14:19 - 21)! The Life and Epistles of St. Paul writes the following in this regard.

"And certainly no later missionaries have had more assiduous enemies than the Jews whom the Apostles had everywhere to oppose. Certain Jews from Iconium, and even from Antioch (Acts 14:19), followed in the footsteps of Paul and Barnabas, and endeavored to excite the hostility of the Lystrians against them" (Chapter 6).

Paul recalled his difficulties with those from Iconium who opposed the truth in his last letter to Timothy (2Timothy 3:10 - 11).

It was, in part, due to Timothy's character witnessed by Christians in Iconium that led to Paul taking him on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1 - 3).

Important Verses

Acts 13:51
But the Jews (in Pisidian Antioch) stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.

Acts 14:1, 19 - 21
And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.

And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city (Lystra), supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra . . .

Acts 16:1 - 3
Then came he (Apostle Paul) to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus (Timothy), the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him . . .

2Timothy 3:10 - 11
But thou (Timothy) hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra: what persecutions I (Apostle Paul) endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

Additional Studies

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