Lystra was a town in the ancient kingdom of Lycaonia in Asia Minor (Acts 14:6). When the Romans took control of Asia Minor, they redivided it to form a number of provinces. Lycaonia was split between the provinces of Galatia, Cappadocia and Cilicia, with Lystra falling within Galatia. When Paul and Barnabas first visited Lystra, they healed a crippled man. The local people were impressed and, thinking Paul and Barnabas were two of the Greek gods, they prepared to offer sacrifices to them. Because Paul and Barnabas did not understand the local language, they were not aware at first what was happening. When they found out, they quickly stopped the people and proclaimed publicly the nature of the one and only true God (Acts 14:8-18). Jews from neighbouring Antioch stirred up the people of Lystra against the missionaries, and Paul was nearly killed (Acts 14:19-20). The wounds Paul received at this time may have been those he referred to when he later wrote to these Christians (Gal 6:17). Timothy, who came from Lystra and who accompanied Paul on some of his missionary travels, may have witnessed the incident (Acts 16:1-2; 2 Tim 3:10-11).

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