Saturday, June 23, 2012

From Perga and Back Again

Today we went to Perga. It is a Greco-Roman city located not far from the center of modern day Antalia. The city figures into the life and ministry of Paul twice in the book of Acts.

The first is in Acts 13:13-14 where we read.

From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. (TNIV)
At this time it doesn’t appear that Paul preached in Perga. He seems to have merely landed nearby and used Perga as a launching point for concluding what we now know as his first missionary journey. But we do get an interesting side comment here about how John Mark, Barnabas’ cousin according to Col 4:10, left the two in Perga and returned to Jerusalem. We are not told we he did this, but we do know that it irritated Paul enough that he and Barnabas eventually went their separate ways over John Mark accompanying them at a later time (Acts 15:36-40).  Although Paul never mentions his irritation with John Mark in any of his letters we do know that they eventually reconciled.

The next time we read about Perga is in Acts 14:24-25 when Paul returns there towards the end of his first missionary journey. We read that.

After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

Paul preaches in Perga this time, but we are not told whether he was successful or started any churches there. We don’t even know how long he stayed there. His final stop before returning to Antioch was in Attalia, which is where I am writing the blog post today. Ancient Attalia is modern Antalia.

Here are some pictures from Perga that I took.

The gate into Perga.

The Roman street complete with reflecting canal.

Statue of Hercules recently returned to Turkey from a museum in Boston.

A frieze depicting sacrifice.

Tomorrow we head to Cappodocia, land of Galatia.

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