National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series

Silas, also known as Silvanus, was a prominent figure in the New Testament of the Bible. He was a dedicated companion and co-worker of the apostle Paul, actively participating in Paul’s missionary journeys and ministry efforts. Silas is mentioned in several passages in the New Testament, primarily in the book of Acts and Paul’s letters.

Here is a brief biography of Silas along with relevant scriptural citations:

  1. Introduction of Silas: Silas is first introduced in Acts 15:22, during the Council of Jerusalem, where he is referred to as a “chief man among the brethren.” He is chosen along with Judas Barsabbas to accompany Paul and Barnabas to Antioch to deliver the decision of the council.
  2. Missionary Journey with Paul and Barnabas: Silas joins Paul on his second missionary journey after a dispute arises between Paul and Barnabas over John Mark. In Acts 15:36-41, Silas is mentioned as accompanying Paul on his journey to strengthen and encourage the churches they visit.
  3. Imprisonment and Miraculous Release: Silas and Paul travel to Philippi, where they encounter opposition and are eventually imprisoned. While in prison, they sung hymns and pray, leading to an earthquake that opens the prison doors (Acts 16:16-40).
  4. Thessalonian Ministry: In Acts 17:1-15, Silas is mentioned as being with Paul in Thessalonica, where they preach the gospel and establish a church amidst both acceptance and opposition.
  5. Corinthian Ministry: Silas is associated with Paul’s stay in Corinth, as mentioned in Acts 18:5. He plays a significant role in Paul’s teaching and ministry to the Corinthians.
  6. Letters of Paul: Silas is mentioned as a co-author in two of Paul’s epistles: 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians. The letters open with greetings from Paul, Silas, and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1).
  7. Imprisonment with Paul: In Acts 18:12-17, Silas is mentioned as being with Paul in Corinth when they face accusations before the proconsul Gallio. After Corinth, Silas might have stayed with Timothy in Berea (Acts 17:14), but he later rejoins Paul in Corinth.
  8. Final Mention in Paul’s Letters: Silas is not mentioned extensively after the events in Acts, but he remains a significant figure in Paul’s ministry. His final mention is in 1 Peter 5:12, where he is referred to as a faithful brother.

Silas’s role in the New Testament reflects his dedication to spreading the gospel alongside Paul and his commitment to supporting the early Christian communities. While his direct activities and contributions might not be as extensively detailed as some other figures, his partnership with Paul had a profound impact on the early church’s growth and development.