Who was St Silas in the Bible?

A Brief Account

Written by Richard Bakewell

St Silas Church. 2014
Photo: Our Broomhall

Silas is traditionally assumed to be the `Silvanus` as mentioned in four of the epistles, but there is some disagreement over the proper form of his name. He is consistently called `Silas` in the Acts, but the Latin Silvanus meaning `of the forest` is always used by Paul. In the first epistle of Peter it may be that `Silvanus` is the Romanized version of the original `Silas,` or that `Silas` is the Greek nickname for `Silvanus.`

Paul, Silas, and Timothy are listed as co-authors of the two letters to the Thessalonians, and the second epistle of the Corinthians mentions Silas as having preached with Paul and Timothy to the church in Corinth (2 Cor 1:19), and Peter’s first epistle regards Silas as a faithful brother (1 Pet 5:12).

Silas first appears in the Bible in Acts 15:22 when he and Judas are selected by the church elders to return with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch following the Jerusalem Council. Silas and Judas are mentioned as being leaders among the brothers, prophets, and encouraging speakers. Silas was selected by Paul to accompany him on his second mission, after Paul and Barnabas split over an argument involving Mark’s participation. It was during the second mission that Silas and Paul were imprisoned briefly in Philippi where an earthquake broke their chains and opened the prison door, see Acts 16: 25-37.

According to Acts 17 and 18, Silas and Timothy travel with Paul from Philippi to Thessalonica where they are treated with hostility in the synagogue by some traditional Jews. The harassers follow the trio to Berea where they threaten Paul’s safety and cause Paul to separate from Silas and Timothy. The two catch up with Paul later in Corinth.

Today Silas is celebrated in some protestant churches together with the apostles Timothy and Titus on January 26th, and separately in Roman Catholic churches on July 13th.

This page was added by Jennie Beard on 08/04/2015.

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *