The New Testament records that some Jewish followers of Jesus from Cyrene were responsible for the first Gentile converts in Antioch.

“So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.” (Acts 11:19-21)

This act of outreach to the Greeks is very notable because apart from some proselytes and occasional God-fearers as Cornelius (Acts 10:2, 23-29) Jewish believers in Jerusalem did not engage in direct mission to the Gentiles. The Jews of Cyrene were Diaspora Jews, zealous in their ancestral faith, but much more open-minded and more comfortable with Hellenistic culture and Greek language. It appears that God used them to spearhead the deliberate mission of the gospel to the non-Jews.

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