Crete (Mediterranean Sea island)
The New Testament mentions only four locations by name on the island of Crete. The places mentioned are the harbor of Fair Havens (Acts 27:8) and the towns of Salmone (verse 7), Lasea (verse 8) and Phoenix (verse 12). Those who resided on the island, while visiting Jerusalem to keep the Day of Pentecost, were some of the first people who heard Jesus' disciples preach the gospel (Acts 2:1 - 11).
Lasea was a city on the island of Crete near a harbor called Fair Havens (Acts 27:8). Ships harbored at Fair Havens were protected only from winds coming from the north or northwest. Ships at the port city of Phoenix (Phenice in the KJV), however, were secured against all winds and was a place a vessel could dock during winter in order to avoid the tumultuous weather on the Mediterranean Sea (Acts 27:8 - 12). Salmone, a port city on the far eastern side of Crete, was known for its temple to the pagan goddess Athena.
During Paul's fourth missionary journey, while a prisoner bound for Rome, the ship he was on harbored for a time at Fair Havens (Acts 27:8 - 9). He next visited Crete right after his first imprisonment in Rome ended in early 63 A.D. After leaving Crete he wrote an epistle to Titus (Titus 1:4), the first overseer of the Cretan church (3:15), offering instructions on how to properly shepherd island believers and commanded him to appoint local church leadership in every city (verse 5).
Cyprus (Mediterranean island)
Modern Cyprus is an independent island country, and member of the European Union, which lies only 65 miles (105 kilometers) from the Syrian coast. It comprises a total land area of roughly 3,572 square miles (9,251 square kilometers). It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (behind Sicily and Sardinia) and hosts a population of more than one million. It is roughly 148 miles (238 kilometers) from Cyprus' farthest eastern to western point. Anciently, it came under the control of the Roman Empire in 58 B.C.
Cyprus is possibly referred to in the King James Bible Old Testament as "Chittim" (Numbers 24:24, Isaiah 23:1, Jeremiah 2:10). The island is also referenced in Scripture as a place where early Christians lived (Acts 11:19 - 20, 21:16) and whose residents were some of the first to discuss the gospel with Gentiles (Acts 11:20 - 21).
Accompanied by Barnabas (who lived on the Mediterranean island - Acts 4:36) and John Mark, the apostle Paul visits the island at the start of his first missionary journey in 44 A.D. Their journey begins at the port city of Salamis (Acts 13:5). At the time of the New Testament, the city had a large Jewish population that maintained several synagogues. This plethora of gathering places becomes the focal point of the team's evangelistic efforts. After preaching in Salamis, they continue their efforts as they travel westward. They finally reach the port city of Paphos, which, in the mythology of the Greeks, was considered one of the birthplaces of the pagan goddess of love and beauty named Aphrodite and of the pagan god Adonis.
In Paphos, the team is invited to meet with Sergius Paulus, the Roman Proconsul of Cyprus. Accompanying Sergius to the meeting is a sorcerer (someone who practices black magic) named Bar-jesus (Elymas in the KJV). Bar-jesus, in the hope of stopping Sergius from becoming a Christian, strongly opposes the gospel message during the meeting. His tactics, however, backfire. Paul, fed up with his resistance to the truth, miraculously causes him to become blind. This act astonishes the Proconsul and leads to his conversion (Acts 13:6 - 12).
As an interesting side note, the Biblical transition between referring to Saul as Paul occurs during his confrontation with Bar-jesus.
Barnabas and Mark revisit Cyprus in late 49 A.D. after an argument separates them from Paul (Acts 15:36 - 39). According to Parsons Bible Atlas, one tradition states that Barnabas was stoned to death in Salamis during the reign of Nero.
The apostle Peter references the famed city of Babylon in his first epistle.
13. The church in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, as does Mark, my son (1Peter 5:13, HBFV translation)
In spite of what some may believe, there is no reason to think that Peter was symbolically referring to Rome and its believers when he wrote about "the church in Babylon." According to the Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Peter was referencing the former capital city of the Babylonian Empire which was inhabited by many Jews and Jewish converts when he wrote his epistle around 64 A.D. This view is also supported by other Bible commentaries such as Matthew Henry's, Jamieson Fausset and Brown's, Adam Clarke's and others.