Acts 8:1-3 in the NIV says

And Saul approved of their killing him.

The Church Persecuted and Scattered On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. 2 Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. 3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

Is there historical evidence for this?

To give further information (although slightly off topic to the question at hand) the reason I'm asking is that I'm curious about 1 Peter 1 (NIV) where Peter addresses the "exiles scattered throughout"

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

I want to know if these exiles were scattered by persecution or if they were "scattered" simply in the sense that they weren't gathered in singular locations but were rather intermingled with "pagans." Perhaps the word "sprinkled" would be more accurate although I understand Peter's desire to make parallels with the Jewish diaspora.

The dating of 1 Peter has some varied opinions so I'm trying to find historical evidence of what early persecution was like prior to 70AD.

1 Answer 1


To your first question, is there historical evidence of Acts 8:1-3. It needs a critical thinking.

Luke was the author of Acts. He was also a co-worker of Paul. Then why would he made up something on the dark side of Paul? Therefore Paul had had confessed to Luke to write it down.

Your second part about 1 Peter 1, the "exiles" were Jewish diaspora.

They would not be scattered by persecution, as by then Peter already been executed, couldn't write the letter. How could the Jewish diaspora became Christians? The answer usually referred to the event, the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, in Acts 2:1-11 (NIV)

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. > 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.

7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?

8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?

9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome

11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Peter made a speech on that day and 3000 people were baptized (Acts 2:41). Surely some of the 3000 people were from places in verses 9-11.

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