Southeast of Lystra some thirty miles distance was the small town
of Derbe. In the Lycaonian District, this town was at the extreme
edge of cities considered Galatian. The town was small, but the work
of Paul and Barnabas yielded a number of followers. Among them, Gaius
was converted and much later joined Paulís team on the Third Mission
Journey (cp. Acts 20:4).
Following the strengthening
that no doubt resulted from the encouragement of the growth in the
movement at Derbe, Paul and Barnabas journeyed back to Lystra and
Iconium (45 miles northwest), in spite of their prior reception (Acts
14:21-22) and strengthened the small flock of believers in each place.
Paul and Silas made their way to Derbe on the Second Journey (Acts
Attempts to locate the
exact site of the ancient village have been attempted by M. Balance
in 1956 and 1964. His identification favors a small outcropping four
kilometers south east of Kerti Huyuk.
Derbe was a city in the
district of Lycaonia in the Roman province of Galatia in south central
Asia Minor. It sat on a major route connecting Iconium to Laranda and
was about 60 miles from Lystra. Paul and Barnabas fled to Derbe and
Lystra on his first missionary journey when city officials of Iconium
plotted to stone them (Acts 14:6-21). Paul does not mention suffering
any persecution in Derbe (2 Tim 3:11).
From 1888 through 1956, it was believed that Gudelisin was the site of
Derbe, based on its proximity to Lystra. However in 1956, an
inscription was found at the site Kerti Huyuk, 30 miles east of the
formerly accepted site, showing it to be the true Derbe. A second
inscription was later found, marking the grave of a bishop of Derbe.
This shows great Christian influence in Derbe centuries after Paul
visited the city.
Houses: Mudbrick construction is a typical building style
throughout the ancient and modern Middle East. Using this method,
mudbrick walls are built on top of a stone foundation. The roof is
then constructed using wooden beams, some sort of matting such as palm
fronds or straw, and some sort of sealant such as mortar or clay.
Since the roof and mudbricks are made of material that is either
perishable or easily eroded, archaeologists often find only the stone
foundations of ancient buildings.