Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Tanner, tanner of skin
Strong's Concordance #G1191

Located in the southern half of Asia Minor, the city of Derbe was part of the Roman province of Galatia along with Iconium and Lystra.

The location of Derbe in the province made it the last city on an eastbound road that was within distinctively Roman territory. Commerce and trade entering the city and traveling west were required to pay Roman customs fees.

Ease of travel

The Apostle Paul was able to travel with relative ease to Derbe, during his first missionary journey, using the then roughly fifty-year old Roman paved road called the Via Sebaste.

The Via Sebaste ran through Pisidian Antioch to Iconium, a distance of about 93 miles (150 kilometers). It then ran from Iconium to Lystra, a distance of 18.5 miles (30 kilometers). From Lystra there was an unpaved track of road about 62 miles long (100 kilometers) that led to Derbe (Book of Acts in Its Graeco-Roman Setting, Volume 2, Chapter 10).

Frequent visitor

Paul visited the city during his first, second and third missionary journeys. Derbe was one of only four cities in Asia Minor (not including his hometown of Tarsus) the apostle visited at least three times during his ministry. The city was also the hometown of a man named Gaius, who was one of several people who accompanied him on the last half of his third evangelistic campaign (Acts 20:4).

Important Verses

Acts 14:4 - 7, 19 - 20
But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them

They (Paul and Barnabas) were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: And there they preached the gospel . . .

And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he (Paul) rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Map of New Testament Churches in Asia Minor
Location of Derbe in Galatia Province

Acts 15:40 - 41, 16:1
And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus (Timothy), the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed: but his father was a Greek.

Acts 20:1 - 4
And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,

And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea: and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus: and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus: and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.

Additional Studies

Dictionary of Biblical Names
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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).