It is common to hear preachers say that the Gospel first came to Europe when Paul responded to the Macedonian call, ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us’ Act 16:9. This is wrong, and it is one of many manifestations of the readiness to copy ideas without checking out if they are true.
The Gospel reached Europe long before Paul took it to Macedonia. On the day of Pentecost, when the apostle Peter preached to thousands in Jerusalem, there were visitors from far and wide in Jerusalem, including Rome Act 2:10 where there was a Jewish community Act 18:2 and Act 15:21. About 3000 people were baptised as Christians that day and took the Gospel back to their home districts as far apart as Libya and Rome in the west to Persia and Mesopotamia in the east Act 2:9-11.
The Gospel was in Rome from the earliest days of the Christian church and the first reference to Rome by name in Scripture is at Act 2:10, long before Paul took the Gospel to Macedonia, north of Greece, recorded in Act 16:9-13.
The Jews, including Christians, were expelled from Rome (Act 18:2) by the Roman emperor Claudius about 49AD, so that the Roman church may have been the first purely Gentile Christian church.
When the Jews were allowed to return to Rome during the reign of emperor Nero, some exiled Jewish Christians returned to Rome and then Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans expressing his long-held desire to visit the church in Rome Rom 1:10-11 ,which he eventually did as a prisoner in Roman custody Act 28:16, after appealing to Caesar Act 25:11, who was Nero by that time.
At present, the Jewish community in Rome considers itself to be the oldest Jewish community in Europe.
Examples of this common mistake:
These are the first six Google searches of ‘when Gospel to Europe’ and all of them repeat the same mistake. There are many more examples. In over 40 years of listening, I have never heard a preacher get it right.
William Dool Killen on BibleHub.com
A. J. Pollock on Stempublishing website
Herbert Hunt on TruthUnity website
Andrew Miller on BibleTruth website
Brian Zahnd of Word of Life church
P. G. Matthew on GraceValley website