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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Bithynia

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Paul and Silas from Mysia "assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus (so the Sin., Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus, the oldest manuscripts, read) suffered them not" (Acts 16:7). But afterward the gospel reached Bithynia; and Bithynians, both Jews and Gentiles. Peter, became Christians; for Peter (1 Peter 1:1) addresses them along with those of "Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, and Asia." (See PETER.) Delay is not denial of believing prayer; God's time, God's place, and God's way are the best. Bithynia is the nearest point to Europe; bounded by Paphlagonia on the E., by the Euxine on the N., by the Propontis on the W, by Mysia, Phrygia, and Galatia on the S. Bithynia was originally bequeathed to Rome by Nicomedes III, 74 B.C., the last of the kings, one of whom invited the Gauls; whence the central province was called Gallo-Graecia or Galatia.

On the death of Mithridates king of Pontus, 63 B.C., the W. of Pontus including Paphlagonia was joined to Bithynia. The Roman province is sometimes called "Pontus and Bithynia." In Acts 2:9 Pontus alone is mentioned, in 1 Peter 1:1 both are mentioned. It is hilly, well wooded, and productive. The river Rhyndacus, and the snowy range of mount Olympus of Mysia, are marked features on the W. At Nicaea in it met the famous council early in the 4th century. In the 2nd century Pliny the Younger, its governor, wrote the letter still extant to the emperor Trajan: "in the case of those Christians who were brought before me I adopted this method. I asked them, Were they Christians? On their confessing it, I asked them a second and third time, threatening punishment. When they persevered I ordered them to be led off for execution.

For I did not doubt that inflexible obstinacy ought to he punished. Nothing can compel those who are real Christians to call on the gods, and supplicate thy image with frankincense and wine, and to curse Christ. Their error is this; they are wont to meet on a stated day before dawn and to repeat in turns among themselves a hymn to Christ as God; and to bind themselves by oath not to commit any wickedness, such as theft, robbery, or adultery, nor to break their word. When this is over, their custom is to depart and to meet again to take food, but ordinary and innocuous. Many of every age and rank, also of both sexes, are in question. For the contagion of that superstition has spread not only through cities, but even villages and the country. At least it is certain that our temples now are almost deserted, and the customary sacred rites for long omitted, and a purchaser of victims is very rarely found."

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Bithynia'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/b/bithynia.html. 1949.

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