Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
Note 1 at Ac 11:19: Phenice is another name for Phoenicia. It is a narrow strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the crest of the Lebanon mountain range. It extended southward to about fourteen miles south of Tyre (just north of Mount Carmel) and northward to the vicinity of Arvad. Its principal cities were Tyre and Sidon. Jesus visited this area during His earthly ministry (Mr 7:24 and 31). Phoenicia was never conquered by the Israelites. See note 3 at Mr 7:26.
Note 2 at Ac 11:19: Cyprus is an island in the northeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, about sixty miles from the coasts of Syria and forty miles south of the coasts of Cilicia (modern-day Turkey). In the days of Herod the Great (see note 1 at Lu 1:5), Cyprus was renowned for its copper mines. The Apostle Barnabas was from Cyprus (Ac 4:36).
Paul and Barnabas later traveled to Cyprus on their first missionary journey (Ac 13:4). The Gospel had already been taken to Cyprus by these believers, but they had not shared it with anyone except the Jews. Paul was able to convert Sergius Paulus, the Roman governor of the island, through the judgment that came on a sorcerer named Elymas (Ac 13:8-12).
Note 3 at Ac 11:19: Antioch was a major city located in Syria. It was the third largest city in the Roman empire, after Rome and Alexandria. Nicolas, one of the seven deacons, was from Antioch (Ac 6:5). These believers who traveled to Antioch because of persecution preached the Gospel to the Gentiles there and saw large numbers of Gentiles converted.
Barnabas was sent from the church at Jerusalem to investigate reports that Gentiles were being converted to faith in Jesus, and he traveled as far as Antioch. After going to Tarsus to find Paul, Barnabas and Paul headquartered in Antioch for many years (Ac 11:26, 13:1, 14:26-28, and 15:35) and departed from there on their first two missionary tours. The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Ac 11:26). When Peter visited Antioch, Paul rebuked him openly in front of the church for being a hypocrite (Ga 2:11-14).