ANTIOCH, SYRIA vs. ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT
By Bro. Nic Kizziah
An article published in the The Believers Newsletter - June 2003
ANTIOCH, SYRIA vs. ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT
The location of where the original manuscripts of the New Testament originated from can be traced back primarily to Antioch, Syria and Alexandria, Egypt. These two cities produced two different lines of manuscripts. After they made their way into print, those from Antioch were called the Received Text or the Textus Receptus. Those from Alexandria were called the Alexandrian text. They did not always agree with each other. Which manuscripts did the LORD keep pure and which ones were corrupted? There are 1,189 chapters in the Holy Bible. Something amazing happens in chapter 1,024 (Acts 6.) Both of these cities are mentioned for the first time in the Bible!
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
In verse 5 we have a short list of seven chosen men who were honest, wise, and full of the Holy Ghost. The list opens with Stephen and closes with Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch. This is the only city mentioned in this list of outstanding men. So the first time Antioch is mentioned in the Bible, it is mentioned in a positive light.
However in verse 9 the Alexandrians were one of the five groups mentioned that were disputing with Stephen. What was one of the things they were disputing about? The law, hey that’s part of the word of God! They were disputing with Stephen over the word of God! Later these same people would stone him to death (Acts 7:59!) So the first time the people of Alexandria are mentioned, it is in a very negative light.
Acts 11: 19-21
19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
Verse 19 says they were preaching the word in Antioch. Verse 20 says they were preaching the Lord Jesus in Antioch. Verse 21 shews the hand of the Lord was with them and many believed. God was revealing himself to the Gentiles in Antioch. Once again we see the Bible mentions Antioch in a positive light.
Acts 11: 22-24
22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
Verse 22 says the church in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch. He won many people to the Lord. He was a good man full of the Holy Ghost and faith (v.24.) Once again when reading the Bible we feel good about Antioch. A man of God was in Antioch. He was about to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to the Gentiles.
Acts 11: 25-27
25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
27 And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
Barnabas went to Tarsus to get Saul (Paul.) He brought him back to Antioch. For one solid year they taught the people in Antioch. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch! In these days came prophets from Jerusalem to Antioch. The Bible continues to talk of Antioch in a positive light.
Acts 13: 1-3
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Verse 1 shews Antioch was full of teachers and prophets. It gives a short list of 5 starting with Barnabas and closing with Saul (Paul.) These two were the cream of the crop. In verse 2 the Holy Ghost moves both of them to do a great work. So, in verse 3 the first Christian missionary journey originated from Antioch. Nothing but positive light associated with the city of Antioch.
Note, Antioch in Pisidia in Acts 13:14 is not the Antioch of Syria.
Note, the Jews from Antioch in Acts14:19 are also from Pisidia, not Syria.
Note, the Antioch mentioned in Acts14:21 is also the Antioch of Pisidia.
Acts 14: 25-28
25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.
In verse 25 the first great Christian missionary is winding down in Perga, then Attalia, and finally they sailed back to Antioch, the mission fulfilled. They had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. Then verse 28 in part as it is written, “they abode long time with the disciples” in Antioch. This location seems to be the Headquarters for Barnabas and Paul. God was moving in Antioch!
Acts 15: 22-27
22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
The apostles and elders send chosen men from Jerusalem to Antioch, along with Barnabas and Paul, who had just came from Antioch to clear up misunderstandings about whether the Gentiles be circumcised or not and whether they should be under the law or not. It continues to stand out as a place of Christian worship.
30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.
34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.
35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
The epistle from Jerusalem was read and there was much joy and exhortation in Antioch. Paul, Barnabas, Judas, Silas, and many others were preaching, teaching, and prophesying in the word of the Lord in Antioch. Then in verse 40 Paul departs and begins his next Christian missionary journey from Antioch.
Note, Acts18:22 is the Antioch in Pisidia, not Syria.
The book of Acts is telling us which city the pure manuscripts originated from … ANTIOCH! Many so called scholars who are Bible critics say, NO, NO, NO, don’t trust the writings that have their roots in Antioch. That’s the manuscripts that old King James Bible was translated from. That’s for the unlearned commoners. They say here are the manuscripts you can trust: these right here from ALEXANDRIA, EGYPT! They call them older, better, and more reliable manuscripts. However the Bible tells a different story. Who are you going to believe, Man or God?
The word “Antioch” is only mentioned two more times in the Bible. Let’s look at them so that we have a thorough understanding of how God feels about these two cities.
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
These are the words of Paul in his letter to the Galatians. It was here in Antioch where Paul and Peter were assembled. Next to Jesus they were the two greatest apostles in the Bible. Paul is expounding the truth of the gospel unto Peter in Antioch! What a moment in Biblical history!
Note, the Antioch mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:11 is in Pisidia, not Syria.
That is all the Bible has to say about Antioch. We have covered the word every time it is mentioned in the Bible. So now let’s get back to Alexandria.
Acts 18: 24-26
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
There’s not a whole lot in the Bible about Alexandria. It is only mentioned 4 times. The first time the word is actually Alexandrians (some people of Alexandria.) Remember these were some of the people disputing with and eventually stoning Stephen (Acts 6:9 and Acts 7:59.) They were disputing with him over the law. That’s part of the word of God!
This is only the second time Alexandria has been referred to in the Bible. What we have here is a Jew named Apollos, born in Alexandria, preaching and teaching only the baptism of John. Even though he was eloquent and mighty in the scriptures, he did not know all the scriptures until Aquila and Priscilla expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. This famous teacher, born in Alexandria, only had part of the word of God!
Acts 27: 6
6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.
Paul was a prisoner on this ship of Alexandria being delivered to Rome, Italy to be judged by Caesar. Even though it is not in the Bible, there is historical data that claims Paul was sentenced to death and beheaded. Once again, negative light for Alexandria. A ship from their city was transporting the prisoner Paul toward his death.
Acts 28: 11
11 And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.
The first ship of Alexandria had shipwrecked by the island of Melita (Acts 28:1) amongst barbarous people. They were stranded there for three months until another ship could carry them away. That ship just happened to also be from Alexandria. So here is another ship from Alexandria transporting the innocent prisoner Paul. These ships could have been from numerous coastal cities but they both just happened to be from Alexandria!
This concludes what the King James Bible has to say about these two cities. The word of God declares which geographical location of manuscripts you can trust. Even though the Bible has very little to say about Alexandria, it has a lot to say about the nation that Alexandria is in, Egypt. There are many examples that could be given. Many of them are very negative. I’ll just give two; the first and the last times the word “Egypt” is mentioned in the Bible:
Example # 1
Genesis 12: 10-12
10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
This is the first time Egypt is mentioned in the Bible (v.10.) It was a place where our father Abram (Abraham) was briefly forced to sojourn in because of the famine. In Egypt he feared for his life and he was afraid the Egyptians were going to steal his beautiful wife Sarai (Sarah.) Therefore he told the Egyptians Sarah was his sister. Does this opening scene paint a pretty picture of Egypt? The first time the word of God mentions Egypt, it’s in a negative light. Egypt was like another world to the people of God.
Example # 2
Revelation 11: 8
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
This is the last time Egypt is mentioned in the Bible. Obviously there is a lot of symbolism in Revelation. With that being said the point I wish to make is notice how God links Sodom and Egypt together. So the Bible closes with a very negative comment about Egypt, associating it spiritually with Sodom! If you were God and you were going to preserve your word, would you do it out of Egypt?
Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: the New Testament of the King James Bible was translated from manuscripts which have their roots in Antioch. All the New Testaments of new modern day versions and the catholic bibles were translated from manuscripts which have their roots in Alexandria. How about those who claim to be just updating the old King James Bible? For example the New King James Version claims to be just a revision of the King James. Baloney! It’s a new translation and it is corrupt. They say it’s from Antioch, but it smells like it’s from Alexandria!
After this study, one should easily see which geographical location God used to give us his words. The LORD himself has preserved his pure words. In spite of man, God always has been and always will be in control! http://www.thebelieversorganization.org/article%20-%20Antioch%20vs%20Alexandria.htm