|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Wood, a prominent member of the church at Jerusalem; also called Silvanus. He and Judas, surnamed Barsabas, were chosen by the church there to accompany Paul and Barnabas on their return to Antioch from the council of the apostles and elders (Acts 15:22), as bearers of the decree adopted by the council. He assisted Paul there in his evangelistic labours, and was also chosen by him to be his companion on his second missionary tour (Acts 16:19-24). He is referred to in the epistles under the name of Silvanus (2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Peter 5:12). There is no record of the time or place of his death.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
si'-las (Silas, probably contraction for Silouanos; the Hebrew equivalents suggested are shalish, "Tertius," or shelach (Genesis 10:24) (Knowling), or sha'ul = "asked" (Zahn)): The Silas of Acts is generally identified with the Silvaus of the Epistles. His identification with Titus has also been suggested, based on 2 Corinthians 1:19; 2 Corinthians 8:23, but this is very improbable (compare Knowling, Expositor's Greek Test., II, 326). Silas, who was probably a Roman citizen (compare Acts 16:37), accompanied Paul during the greater part of his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 15-18). At the meeting of the Christian community under James at Jerusalem, which decided that circumcision should not be obligatory in the case of Gentile believers, Silas and Judas Barsabas were appointed along with Paul and Barnabas to convey to the churches in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia the epistle informing them of this decision. As "leading men among the brethren" at Jerusalem, and therefore more officially representative of the Jerusalem church than Paul and Barnabas, Silas and Judas were further commissioned to confirm the contents of the letter by "word of mouth." On arrival at Antioch, the epistle was delivered, and Judas and Silas, "being themselves also prophets, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them." Their mission being thus completed, the four were "dismissed in peace from the brethren unto those that had sent them forth" (Revised Version), or "unto the apostles" (the King James Version) (Acts 15:22-33).
Different readings now render the immediate movements of Silas somewhat obscure; Acts 15:33 would imply that he returned to Jerusalem. But some texts proceed in 15:34, "Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still," and others add "and Judas alone proceeded." Of this, the first half is accepted by the King James Version. The principal texts however reject the whole verse and are followed in this by the Revised Version (British and American). It is held by some that he remained in Antioch till chosen by Paul (Acts 15:40). Others maintain that he returned to Jerusalem where John Mark then was (compare Acts 13:13); and that either during the interval of "some days" (Acts 15:36), when the events described in Galatians 2:11; took place (Wendt), he returned to Antioch along with Peter, or that he and John Mark were summoned thither by Paul and Barnabas, subsequent to their dispute regarding Mark. (For fuller discussion, see Knowling, Expositor's Greek Test., II, 330, 332-35.)
Upon Barnabas' separation from Paul, Silas was chosen by Paul in his place, and the two missionaries, "after being commended by the brethren (at Antioch) to the grace of the Lord," proceeded on their journey (Acts 15:33-40 margin). Passing through Syria, Cilicia, Galatia, Phrygia and Mysia, where they delivered the decree of the Jerusalem council and strengthened the churches, and were joined by Timothy, they eventually reached Troas (Acts 15:41-16:8). Indications are given that at this city Luke also became one of their party (compare also the apocryphal "Acts of Paul," where this is definitely stated; Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, II, 544).
Upon the call of the Macedonian, the missionary band set sail for Greece, and after touching at Samothrace, they landed at Neapolis (Acts 16:9-11). At Philippi, Lydia, a seller of purple, was converted, and with her they made their abode; but the exorcism of an evil spirit from a sorceress brought upon Silas and Paul the enmity of her masters, whose source of gain was thus destroyed. On being charged before the magistrates with causing a breach of the peace and preaching false doctrine, their garments were rent off them and they were scourged and imprisoned. In no way dismayed, they prayed and sang hymns to God, and an earthquake in the middle of the night secured them a miraculous release. The magistrates, on learning that the two prisoners whom they had so maltreated were Roman citizens, came in person and besought them to depart out of the city (Acts 16:12-39). After a short visit to the house of Lydia, where they held an interview with the brethren, they departed for Thessalonica, leaving Luke behind (compare Knowling, op. cit., 354-55). There they made many converts, especially among the Greeks, but upon the house of Jason, their host, being attacked by hostile Jews, they were compelled to escape by night to Berea (Acts 16:40-17:10). There they received a better hearing from the Jews, but the enmity of the Thessalonian Jews still pursued them, and Paul was conducted for safety to Athens, Silas and Timothy being left behind. On his arrival, he dispatched an urgent message back to Bercea for Silas and Timothy to rejoin him at that city (Acts 17:11-15). The narrative of Acts implies, however, that Paul had left Athens and had reached Corinth before he was overtaken by his two followers (18:5). Knowling (op. cit., 363-64) suggests that they may have actually met at Athens, and that Timothy was then sent to Thessalonica (compare 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 2), and Silas to Philippi (compare Philippians 4:15), and that the three came together again at Corinth. The arrival of Silas and Timothy at that city is probably referred to in 2 Corinthians 11:9. It is implied in Acts 18:18 that Silas did not leave Corinth at the same time as Paul, but no further definite reference is made to him in the narrative of the 2nd missionary journey.
Assuming his identity with Silvanus, he is mentioned along with Paul and Timothy in 2 Corinthians 1:19 as having preached Christ among the Corinthians (compare Acts 18:5). In 1 Thessalonians 1:1, and 2 Thessalonians 1:1, the same three send greetings to the church at Thessalonica (compare Acts 17:1-9). In 1 Peter 5:12 he is mentioned as a "faithful brother" and the bearer of that letter to the churches of the Dispersion (compare on this last Knowling, op. cit., 331-32). The theory which assigns He to the authorship of Silas is untenable.
C. M. Kerr
Silas (22 Occurrences)
Acts 15:22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole assembly, to choose men out of their company, and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, chief men among the brothers. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves will also tell you the same things by word of mouth. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 15:32 Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers with many words, and strengthened them. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 15:34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still. (KJV WEY BBE DBY WBS)
Acts 15:40 but Paul chose Silas, and went out, being commended by the brothers to the grace of God. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 16:19 But when her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 16:22 The multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates tore their clothes off of them, and commanded them to be beaten with rods. (See NIV)
Acts 16:25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 16:29 He called for lights and sprang in, and, fell down trembling before Paul and Silas, (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 16:36 The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, "The magistrates have sent to let you go; now therefore come out, and go in peace." (See NIV)
Acts 16:38 This answer the lictors took back to the praetors, who were alarmed when they were told that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. (WEY NIV)
Acts 16:40 Then Paul and Silas, having come out of the prison, went to Lydia's house; and, after seeing the brethren and encouraging them, they left Philippi. (WEY NIV)
Acts 17:4 Some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas, of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and not a few of the chief women. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 17:5 But the jealousy of the Jews was aroused, and, calling to their aid some ill-conditioned and idle fellows, they got together a riotous mob and filled the city with uproar. They then attacked the house of Jason and searched for Paul and Silas, to bring them out before the assembly of people. (WEY NIV)
Acts 17:10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea. When they arrived, they went into the Jewish synagogue. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 17:14 Then the brothers immediately sent out Paul to go as far as to the sea, and Silas and Timothy still stayed there. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 17:15 But those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens. Receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy that they should come to him very quickly, they departed. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 18:5 But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Corinthians 1:19 For Jesus Christ the Son of God--He who was proclaimed among you by us, that is by Silas and Timothy and myself--did not show Himself a waverer between "Yes" and "No." But it was and always is "Yes" with Him. (WEY NIV)
1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silas, and Timothy: To the Church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be granted to you. (WEY NIV)
2 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silas, and Timothy: To the Church of the Thessalonians which is in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (WEY NIV)
1 Peter 5:12 I send this short letter by Silas, our faithful brother--for such I regard him--in order to encourage you, and to bear witness that what I have told you is the true grace of God. In it stand fast. (WEY NIV)