Silas (Bible)

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Silas ( Σιλᾶς ), also called Silvanus ( Σιλουανός ), was a collaborator of the apostles Paul and Peter and lived in the 1st century AD.


Silas was a Jewish Christian and a member of the first church in Jerusalem . After the apostles' council there , Silas, a respected man in the community , was appointed to travel back to Antioch with Paul to convey the decisions of the council to the community ( Acts 15:22  EU ). After a while he returned to Jerusalem ( Acts 15:33  EU ).

Paul later took Silas with him as a companion on his second mission trip after he had separated from Barnabas after a dispute ( Acts 15:40  EU ). During the stay in Philippi , Silas is locked in prison together with Paul ( Acts 16 : 23-24  EU ). The paths of Silas and Paul part for the time being in Beroea . Paul has to travel on because of an uproar, while Silas stays behind in Berea with Timothy , another colleague of Paul ( Acts 17:14  EU ). Dietrich-Alex Koch suspects that Silas was then sent to Philippi, while Timotheus went to Thessaloniki ( 1 Thess 3,1-6  EU ). In Corinth , Silas meets Paul again ( Acts 18.5  EU ). After that he is no longer mentioned in connection with Paul.

How Silas fared further cannot be reliably reconstructed. In the first letter of Peter a Silvanus is mentioned as secretary, who wrote the letter for Peter ( 1 Petr 5.12  EU ). If one assumes the authenticity of this letter and the statement in the end of the letter and one identifies Silas with this Silvanus, this verse would lead to the conclusion that Silas worked not only for Paul, but also for the apostle Peter at certain times.

Among the texts in the Nag Hammadi library is a Coptic script with the title The Teachings of Silvanus (NHC VII, 4). This writing was most likely written in Alexandria in the 2nd or 3rd century and therefore cannot be traced back to the Silas mentioned in the New Testament. Rather, it is to be classified under the broad category of pseudepigraphic scripts that can often be found in the Nag Hammadi library.

Cooperation and service

Although Silas is only mentioned in 16 places in the New Testament , one can work out a wide range of forms of collaboration from these few places:

  • Messenger of the Jerusalem community ( Acts 15:22, 25  EU )
  • Preacher, prophet and motivator ( Acts 15.32  EU ; 2 Cor 1.19  EU )
  • Companion of the Apostle Paul on his second missionary journey ( Acts 15.40  EU )
  • Co-author of various letters ( 1 Thess 1,1  EU ; 2 Thess 1,1  EU ; 1 Petr 5,12  EU )

Memorial days


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Dietrich-Alex Koch : Geschichte des Urchristentums. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-525-52202-8 , p. 252
  2. ^ Wolf-Henning Ollrog: Paulus and his co-workers. Investigations into the theory and practice of the Pauline mission. Neukirchener Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn 1979, ISBN 3-7887-0548-5 , p. 18
  3. cf. Hans-Martin Schenke, Wolf-Peter Funk: The teachings of Silvanus (NHC VII, 4). In: Hans-Martin Schenke, Hans-Gebhard Bethge, Ursula Ulrike Kaiser (eds.): Nag Hammadi German. Volume 2. Walter de Gruyter, 2001, ISBN 3-11-017656-4 , p. 418