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Reference: Derbe


A small town of Lycaonia, in Asia Minor, to which Paul and Barnabas fled from Lystra, A. D. 41, Ac 14:20. It lay at the foot of the Taurus mountains on the north, sixteen or twenty miles east of Lystra. The two missionaries gained many disciples here, and among them perhaps Gaius, who afterwards labored with Paul, Ac 14:20; 20:4.

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a small town on the eastern part of the upland plain of Lycaonia, about 20 miles from Lystra. Paul passed through Derbe on his route from Cilicia to Iconium, on his second missionary journey (Ac 16:1), and probably also on his third journey (Ac 18:23; 19:1). On his first journey (Ac 14:20-21) he came to Derbe from the other side; i.e., from Iconium. It was the native place of Gaius, one of Paul's companions (Ac 20:4). He did not here suffer persecution (2Ti 3:11).

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Near Lystra, E. of the upland plain of Lycaonia, stretching eastwards along the N. of the Taurus range. Probably near the pass ("the Cilician gates") from the plain of Cilicia up to the table land of the interior. Paul fled there from Iconium and Lystra (Ac 14:6,20-21; 16:1). In enumerating places (2Ti 3:11) he mentions Lystra but not Derbe, though in the independent history they are mentioned together: a delicate instance of accuracy, for he is here enumerating only those places where he suffered persecution. Gaius or Caius belonged to Derbe, Paul's companion in travel (Ac 20:4). Identified by Hamilton (Researches in Asia Minor, 2:313) with Dirle, near the roots of Taurus near lake Ak-gol.

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A city in the ethnic district Lycaonia, and in the region Lycaonia-Galatica of the Roman province Galatia, on the main road from Iconium (or Lystra) S.E. to Laranda. The modern villages Losta and Gudelissin are built on the ruins of the city or its territory. Amyntas, king of Galatia, had conquered it, and in b.c. 25 it passed with the rest of his territory into the hands of the Romans. From a.d. 41 to 72 it was the frontier city of the province, and was honoured with the prefix Claudio. It was in this period that St. Paul visited it (Ac 14:6), and then retraced his steps to Lystra, etc. On his second journey, coming from Cilicia, he reached it first and then went on to Lystra, as he did also on the third journey. Gaius of Derbe was one of the representatives of Galatia in the deputation which carried the collection for the poor Christians in Jerusalem (Ac 20:4). Derbe was on the whole one of the least important places visited by St. Paul, and appears little in history.

A. Souter.

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City of Lycaonia, in Asia Minor, visited by Paul and Barnabas. Ac 14:6,20; 16:1; 20:4. It is twice mentioned with Lystra, and is placed on the maps to the east of that city. It has recently been identified with Ambarrarasi, west of Eregli.

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Ac 14:20-21; 16:1; 20:4

The exact position of this town has not yet been ascertained, but its general situation is undoubted. It was in the eastern part of the great upland plain of Lycaonia, which stretched from Iconium eastward along the north side of the chain of Taurus. (Rev. L. H. Adams, a missionary, identifies it with the modern Divle, a town of about 4500 inhabitants, on the ancient road between Tarsus and Lystra.--ED.)

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