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Reference: Bithynia


1Pe 1:1, a providence in the northern part of Asia Minor, on the shore of the Black sea, having Paphlagonia on the east, Phrygia and Galatia on the south, and Mysia on the southwest. It was directly opposite to Constantinople. It is famous as being one of the provinces to which the apostle Peter addressed his first epistle; also as having been under the government of Pliny, who, in a letter to the emperor Trajan, makes honorable mention of the number, character, and customs of the persecuted Christians there, about A. D. 106; also for the holding of the most celebrated council of the Christian church in the city of Nice, its metropolis, about A. D. 325. It may be, with some justice, considered as a province taught by Peter; and we read that when Paul attempted to go into Bithynia, the Spirit suffered him not, Ac 16:7.

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a province in Asia Minor, to the south of the Euxine and Propontis. Christian congregations were here formed at an early time (1Pe 1:1). Paul was prevented by the Spirit from entering this province (Ac 16:7). It is noted in church history as the province ruled over by Pliny as Roman proconsul, who was perplexed as to the course he should take with the numerous Christians brought before his tribunal on account of their profession of Christianity and their conduct, and wrote to Trajan, the emperor, for instructions (A.D. 107).

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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" (Ac 16:7). But afterward the gospel reached Bithynia; and Bithynians, both Jews and Gentiles. Peter, became Christians; for Peter (1Pe 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 Ac 2:9 Pontus alone is mentioned, in 1Pe 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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A district in the N.W. of Asia Minor, which had been a Roman province since b.c. 74. For administrative purposes it was generally united with the province of Pontus, which bounds it on the E., under one governor. The province was senatorial till about a.d. 165, and governed by a proconsul. The younger Pliny governed it from a.d. 111

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A large district in the north of Asia Minor, bordering on the Black Sea. Paul and Timotheus attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not. Ac 16:7. Peter addressed his first Epistle to those of the dispersion of Bithynia, etc. 1Pe 1:1. It was then a Roman province: it is now called Kastamuni, a part of Turkey in Asia.

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a Roman province of Asia Minor. Mentioned only in

Ac 16:7

and in 1Pet 1:1 The chief town of Bithynia was Nicaea, celebrated for the general Council of the Church held there in A.D. 325 against the Arian heresy.

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BITHYNIA, a country of Asia Minor, stretching along the shore of the Pontus Euxinus, or Black Sea, from Mysia to Paphlagonia; having Phrygia and Galatia on the south. In it are the two cities of Nicaea, or Nice, and Chalcedon: both celebrated in ecclesiastical history, on account of the general councils held in them, and called after their names. The former city is at present called Is-Nick, and the latter Kadi-Keni. Within this country, also, are the celebrated mountains of Olympus. St. Peter addressed his first Epistle to the Hebrew Christians who were scattered through this and the neighbouring countries.