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Paul visited Derbe on his First Missionary Journey and won many disciples (Acts 14:20-21). He visited the city again at the beginning of his Second Missionary Journey (Acts 16:1) and probably also his Third Missionary Journey (see Acts 19:1). One of his traveling companions on the Third Journey was Gaius of Derbe (Acts 20:4).

Scholars have long debated the location of Derbe. The most recent identification of Derbe with Kerti Hüyük is shown above, validated by an inscription that contains a reference to the city name. One scholar claims, however, is that the inscription was actually found at Devri Sehri about 2.5 miles southeast of Kerti Hüyük, but the two sites are so close that the difference is of little consequence. Most maps locating Derbe are based on a 19th-century guess; that location is some 30 miles southeast of this site, near Kazimkarabekir, about 15 km west-northwest of Karaman. See discussion by Van Elderen, below, with earlier suggestions in Ramsay and Sterrett.

Want to go deeper?

The following are recommended to help you look deeper into the history and archaeology of Derbe.

Recommended for purchase:

C. E. Fant & M. G. Reddish – A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece & Turkey (Oxford, 2003).

CD-ROM: Turkey: Pictorial Library of Bible Lands (2004)

Jefferson White – Evidence & Paul's Journeys: An Historical Investigation into the Travels of the Apostle Paul (Parsagard, 2001).

Otto F. A. Meinardus. St. Paul in Ephesus and the Cities of Galatia and Cyprus (Harvard, 1990)

Online resources:

Bastian Van Elderen – "Some Archaeological Observations on Paul's First Missionary Journey" Originally published in Apostolic History & the Gospel: Biblical & Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce, ed. W. W. Gasque & Ralph P. Martin (Paternoster, 1970), see 156-161.

David Couchman – Confirmation of Location of Derbe

William M. Ramsay – "Derbe" from Historical Commentary on Galatians, rev. by Mark Wilson (Kregel, 1997).

J. R. S. Sterrett – The Wolfe Expedition to Asia Minor, vol. 3: 1884-1885 pp. 22-23 (American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1888).


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