The first country in Europe where Paul preached the gospel, in obedience to the vision of a man of Macedonia, saying "come over and help us." The Haemus (Balkan) range, separating it from Maesia, is on its N.; the Pindus, separating it from Epirus, on the W.; the Cambunian hills S. separating Macedonia from Thessaly; Thrace and the Aegean sea E. There are two great plains, one watered by the Axius entering the sea near Thessalonica, the other by the Strymon which passes near Philippi and empties itself below Amphipolis. Between lies Mount Athos, across the neck of which Paul often travelled with his companions. Philip (from whom Philippi is named) and Alexander were its most famous kings. When Rome conquered it from Perseus, Aemilius Paulus after the battle of Pydna divided it into Macedonia Prima, Secunda, Tertia, and Quarta. Macedonia Prima, the region E. of the Strymon, had Amphipolis as its capital, Macedonia Secunda, the region between the Strymon and Axius, had Thessalonica. Macedonia Tertia, from the Axius to the Peneus, had Pella.
Macedonia Quarta, the remainder, had Pelagonia. In New Testament times the whole of Macedonia, Thessaly, and a district along the Adriatic, was made one province under a proconsul at Thessalonica the capital. The great Ignatian Road joined Philippi and Thessalonica, and led toward Illyricum (Romans 15:19). Philippi had supplanted Amphipolis in importance. Mention of Macedonia in this wide sense occurs Acts 16:9-12; Acts 18:5; Acts 19:21-22; Acts 19:29; Acts 20:1-3; Acts 27:2; Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 16:5; 2 Corinthians 1:16; 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:9; Philemon 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:10; 1 Timothy 1:3 (which last passage proves Paul accomplished the wish expressed in his first imprisonment, Philemon 2:24). Achaia S., Illyricum N.W., and Macedonia comprehended the whole region between the Danube and the southernmost point of the Peloponnese.
The Macedonian Christians are highly commended; the Bereans for their readiness in receiving the word, and withal diligence in testing the preached word by the written word (Acts 17:11); the Thessalonians for their "work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus," so that they were "examples" to all others (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:7); the Philippians for their liberal contributions to Paul's sustenance (Philemon 4:10; Philemon 4:14-19; 2 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 11:9). Lydia was the first European convert, and women were Paul's first congregation (Acts 16:13-14); so the female element is prominent at Philippi in the epistle to the Philippians as working for Christ (Philemon 4:2-3). How Christianity, starting from that beginning, has since elevated woman socially throughout Europe!
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'macedonia' Fausset's Bible Dictionary".