Bible Meaning: Tanner, tanner of skin
Strong's Concordance #G1191
Derbe's location 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 the city, 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).
Paul visited Derbe during his first, second and third missionary journeys. It 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).
Acts 14:4 - 6, 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 . . .
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.
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.
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.