This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in November 2013. It has been updated.—Ed.
Paul’s first missionary journey took him from Cyprus into the heart of Anatolia. Why did Paul and Barnabas choose the treacherous path through Perga to Pisidian Antioch? In “Why Perga? Paul’s Perilous Passage through Pisidia” in the November/December 2013 issue of BAR, Mark R. Fairchild explores archaeological evidence of the likely presence of Jewish communities on the way.
Take a closer look at Paul’s first missionary journey through Turkey in this web-exclusive slideshow of photographs by BAR author Mark R. Fairchild.
After sailing from Cyprus to the Turkish coast, Paul and Barnabas visit the city of Perga before traveling to Pisidian Antioch and other cities on the Anatolian interior. When they head back to the coast, the travelers follow the same route. Why did they choose such a treacherous route for Paul’s first missionary journey? Mark R. Fairchild explores unexcavated sites along the Kestros River Valley, exposing evidence of Jewish populations en route. Acts indicates that Paul deliberately traveled to cities with Jewish populations. Perga was a major city, and the presence of a Jewish community there made it an ideal base for Paul’s first missionary journey through Anatolia. Fairchild argues that Paul and Barnabas could have taken an easy but roundabout path along established Roman roads, but opted to travel along the rugged Kestros Valley because of the hospitality of local Jewish communities.
BAS Library Members: Read “Why Perga? Paul’s Perilous Passage through Pisidia” by Mark R. Fairchild as it appears in the November/December issue of BAR.
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In the free eBook Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity, learn about the cultural contexts for the theology of Paul and how Jewish traditions and law extended into early Christianity through Paul’s dual roles as a Christian missionary and a Pharisee.