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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The ancients had no divisions of the world into parts or quarters; and hence the word Asia, in the modern large sense, does not occur in Scripture. Indeed it does not at all occur, in any sense, in the Hebrew Scriptures, but is found in the books of the Maccabees and in the New Testament. It there applies, in the largest sense, to that peninsular portion of Asia which, since the fifth century, has been known by the name of Asia Minor; and, in a narrower sense, to a certain portion thereof which was known as Asia Proper. Thus, it is now generally agreed,— 1. That 'Asia' denotes the whole of Asia Minor, in the texts Acts 19:26-27; Acts 20:4; Acts 20:16; Acts 20:18; Acts 27:2, etc.: but, 2. That only Asia Proper, the Roman or Proconsular Asia, is denoted in Acts 2:9; Acts 6:9; Acts 19:10; Acts 19:22; 2 Timothy 1:15; 1 Peter 1:1; Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:11.

Asia Minor comprehended Bithynia, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Cicilia, Pamphylia, Pisidia, Lycaonia, Phrygia, Mysia, Troas (all of which are mentioned in the New Testament), Lydia, Ionia, Æolis (which are sometimes included under Lydia), Caria, Doris, and Lycia.

Asia Proper, or Proconsular Asia, comprehended the provinces of Phrygia, Mysia, Caria, and Lydia. But it is evident that St. Luke uses the term Asia in a sense still more restricted, for in one place he counts Phrygia (Acts 2:9-10), and in another Mysia (Acts 16:6-7), as provinces distinct from Asia. Hence it is probable that in many, if not all, of the second set of references the word Asia denotes only Ionia, or the entire western coast, of which Ephesus was the capital, and in which the seven churches were situated. This is called Asia also by Strabo.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Asia'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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