Asia - Galatia - Bithynia

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Roman Provinces of Asia, Galatia and Bithynia

The province of Asia, created around 133 B.C., is mentioned directly in the KJV Bible twenty-one times (Acts 2:9, 6:9, 16:6, 19:10, Acts 20:14 - 15, etc.). It contains the Roman regions of Caria (not mentioned in Scripture), Mysia (Acts 16:7 - 8), Phrygia (a region shared with Galatia - Acts 2:10, 16:6, 18:23, 1Timothy 6:21) and Lydia (not mentioned in Scripture).

New Testament cities within this western Asia Minor provincial area include Cnidus (Acts 27:7), Miletus (Acts 20:15 - 20), Trogyllium (Acts 20:15), Assos (Acts 20:14), Troas (Acts 16:8, 11, 20:5 - 6, 2Corinthians 2:12, 2Timothy 4:13), Colosse (Colossians 1:2), Adramyttium (Acts 27:2) and Hierapolis (Colossians 4:13).

The Asia province also contained the city of Mitylene (on the island of Lesbos - Acts 20:14), plus the islands of Chios (Acts 20:15), Samos (Acts 20:15), Cos (Acts 21:1), Rhodes (Acts 21:1) and Patmos (Revelation 1:9).

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The seven churches of Revelation (Ephesus - capital of the province, Smyrna, Pergamos (Pergamon), Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea - see Revelation 2 and 3) are also in this area.

When Mysia was incorporated into provincial Asia its name fell into general misuse. It was many times referred to as the Hellespontus. The name of Phrygia is derived from the tribe of Phryges that invaded the country and drove out many others including the Hittites.

The Greeks, before Lydia's Roman provincial history, are said to have derived from the Lydians improvements and inventions for creating fine fabrics, working with various metals, and the use of silver and gold as a form of currency.

Bithynia and Pontus

Bithynia and the western portion of Pontus were combined in 64 B.C. to form a double province by Roman General Pompey. Bithynia is mentioned only twice in the Bible (Acts 16:7, 1Peter 1:1) while Pontus is recorded only three times (Acts 2:9, 18:2, 1Peter 1:1). The Bible does not record any cities within this northern Asia Minor provincial area.

During his second missionary journey, the Apostle Paul was prevented, by God's spirit, from entering the combined province (Acts 16:7). No records exist of Paul ever entering the area during his ministry.

Jews from Pontus are recorded as being in Jerusalem when the New Testament church was born on Pentecost in 30 A.D. (Acts 2:9). While it is unclear how Christianity spread into the region, Peter's first epistle, written from 64 to 65 A.D., addresses believers in the area.


Galatia was established as a provincial territory of Rome in 25 B.C. by Emperor Augustus. Biblically delineated regions (districts) inside of or partially within Galatia include Phrygia (a region shared with Asia - Acts 2:10, 16:6, 18:23, 1Timothy 6:21), Pisidia (Acts 13:14, 14:24) and Lycaonia (region shared with Cappadocia - Acts 14:6, 11).

New Testament cities within the Roman province of Galatia include Antioch (Acts 13:14, 21, 16:6, 18:23, 2Timothy 3:11), Iconium (Acts 13:51, 14:1, 21, 2Timothy 3:11), Lystra (Acts 14:6, 21, 16:1, 2Timothy 3:11), and Derbe (Acts 14:6, 20 - 21, 16:1).

The city of Antioch (in the region of Pisidia) was the governing and military center of southern Galatia. This area is referenced directly in Scripture six times (Acts 16:6, 18:23, 1Corinthians 16:1, Galatians 1:2, 2Timothy 4:10 and 1Peter 1:1).

The Apostle Paul concentrated his evangelistic efforts solely in the bottom half of Galatia, visiting the region in each of his first three missionary journeys. Commenting on the most southern region in Galatia, which is Pisidia, William Ramsay states the following.

"Pisidia was the "barbarian" mountain country that lay between them (those who lived in Antioch) and Pamphylia; it was a country almost wholly destitute of Greek culture, ignorant of Greek games and arts, and barely subjugated by Roman arms" (The church in the Roman empire before A.D. 170 by W. M. Ramsay, page 27)

Additional Study Materials
What did the Empire write about Jesus?
How did Rome help the gospel spread?
Map showing decline of the Empire!
Did Christians approve of Roman games?

New Testament
Roman Provinces
Series Introduction
Asia  /  Bithynia  /  Galatia
Cappadocia  /  Cilicia  /  Lycia
Greece     -     Judea

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