Paul visited Antioch in Pisidia during his First Journey with Barnabas. According to Acts, Paul entered the synagogue on two Sabbaths and preached Christ (Acts 13:14). In response to Paul's preaching, some local Jews stirred up a riot and had Paul driven from the city. Paul went on to travel to Iconium and Lystra. These cities appear to be the churches Paul is writing to in his letter to the churches in Galatia. Travel to Antalya for dinner and lodging.
Paul and Barnabas visited Perga during their first missionary journey. After having preached the gospel in Cyprus, Paul, Barnabas sailed to Perga. After stopping briefly in Perga (Acts 13:13-14) on their way to Antioch in Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas travelled back through Perga and preached the gospel (Acts 14:25). His preaching appears to have been a success since later Christians from Perga were representatives to the Council of Nicaea in 325 and the Council of Ephesus in 431.
After Perga, we travel to Hierapolis. Hierapolis is mentioned once in the New Testament. It occurs at the end of Paul's letter to the Colossians where he praises the work of Epaphras. Epaphras was a Christian from Colossae (Col. 4:12) who had become one of Paul's most beloved colleagues (Col. 1:7; Phlm. 23). Since Epaphras is mentioned in connection to Hierapolis, Laodicea, and Colossae, it is likely that he was responsible for taking the gospel to the Lycus Valley. Dinner and lodging in Pammukale.
Laodicea has the dubious reputation of being the only church in Revelation that receives no positive word of commendation from Jesus. "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth'" (Rev. 3:15-16). The situation in Laodicea had not always been so dire. References to Laodicea in Paul's letter to the Colossians indicate that the Laodicean believers had not always been lukewarm. Paul asks the Christians in Colossae to pass on his greetings to the "brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house" (Col. 4:15). This suggests that the gospel was not only alive among the Laodiceans but spreading with at least two house churches operating in the city.
After viewing the ancient remains from Laodicea, we will travel a short ways to Colossae. Colossae, along with Laodicea, and Hierapolis appear to have been founded by Epaphras, one of Paul's followers who lived in this area. Although little remains from ancient Colossae, two of Paul's letters were directed to the believers in this city: his letter to the Colossians and his letter to Philemon. Dinner and lodging in Kusadasi.
Ephesus was once the most important commercial center of the western Anatolia the Asia Minor. Paul's first visit to Ephesus was brief, during his second missionary tour (Acts 18:19-21). During Paul's third missionary journey, however, he returned to Ephesus and stayed there for about three years (Acts 19:1 to 20:31). Luke's account of the worship of Artemis appears in Acts 19:34-35. The Great Theatre (stadium) mentioned in Acts 19:29-31 could seat 25,000 people. We will walk the marble-paved street where Paul once walked, stopping along the way to see the Fountain of Trajan, the Library of Celsus, walk through the recovered remains from the "houses of the rich," and finally stand in the Great Theater mentioned in Acts. Later in the day we will also visit St. John's Basilica (built on the site of the where Jesus' disciple John was supposedly buried), the Ephesus Museum, and also visit the remains of the Temple of Artemis. Return to Kusadasi for dinner and lodging.