Monthly Archives: May 2008

Group back in the USA

Early yesterday our group left for home. We have received several Emails from tour members saying that they have arrived home safely. For this we are thankful.

Elizabeth and I are spending a few days in northern Greece (biblical Macedonia). Yesterday we visited Berea (Acts 17) and Dion. Dion is in the shadow of Mount Olympus and is suggested by some as the place where the brethren from Berea took Paul down to the sea so he could continue on to Athens.

Today we plan to visit Neapolis, Philippi, et al. (Acts 16). We are staying in Thessalonica. Photos later.

Corinth, where Paul stood before Gallio

Corinth is one of my favorite places to visit. I think that is because it plays such a prominent role in the New Testament story. Paul first came to Corinth on his second journey, after visiting Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea in Macedonia (now northern Greece), and Athens in Achaia. Another reason I enjoy going here is becaue we know the names of so many people associated with the city: Chloe, Aquila, Priscilla, Crispus, Gaius, Apollos, Stephanos, Erastus, et al.

Luke’s historical account is recorded in Acts 18. Paul met Aquila and Priscilla, natives of Pontus, who had been expelled from Rome because of a decree by the Emperor Claudius. There was success in the work at Corinth as individuals heard the gospel of Christ and were baptized.

But there was also opposition. Soon, the Jews brought charges against Paul and had him brought before the proconsul Gallio.

But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters.” And he drove them away from the judgment seat. (Acts 18:12-16)

The Gallio inscription, now exhibited in the museum at Delphi, provides the date for the time when Gallio was proconsul. This, in turn, helps us build a chronology for Paul’s ministry. Based on this information we generally think of Paul entering Corinth in the fall of A.D. 51, and leaving in the spring of A.D. 53.

Our photo shows the “judgment seat” (Greek, bema) in the agora (marketplace) at Corinth. The Acrocorinth is the mountain in the background. The Temple of Aphrodite stood on the Acrocorinth in New Testament times.

Earlier I have written two posts on dealing with Corinth. Check here for Did the apostle Paul attend the Isthmian Games?, and here for The Corinth Canal. We visited both sites yesterday.

Maps and Geography in Biblical Studies

Some time back I wrote about Selecting a Bible Atlas here.

I keep a link to Tyndale Tech (Electronic Resources for Biblical Studies) at Biblical Studies Info Page (under Scholarly, then Blogs). David Instone-Brewer surveys various sources for maps here, including making your own. Later I will try to write about BibleMapper. I have downloaded it and it really looks great.

Not everyone has the opportunity to visit Bible Lands and make good photographs for use in teaching, but there are many sources for photos.

These statement by Instone-Brewer really impressed me:

There is now no excuse to teach or preach without pictures and maps.

Hint. If you aren’t using many pictures, wait till the latter half of your teaching, and then wake them up with a map and some photos.

Santorini and the Minoan Civilization

Last Thursday we visited Santorini on the way from Crete to Athens. Ships anchor (not dock) at Santorini while tender boats ferry the passengers back and forth to the island city built on the half-moon rim of the crater. Some writers hold that Santorini is the ancient island of Atlantis. Santorini is not mentioned in the Bible, but several writers have tried to connect it to biblical events. It has been suggested that one of the several volcanic eruptions at Santorini is to be connected with the drying up of the Red Sea when the Israelites crossed. This is highly speculative, and there are chronological difficulties.

Items from Akrotiri, Santorini, a city covered by volcanic ash about 1600 B.C. are part of the collection of the National Archaeology Museum in Athens. It is good to see these things in Athens because the ruins at Akrotiri are closed for reconstruction. These artifacts from Akrotiri provide a good look at the Minoan civilization.

This photo was made from our ship which was anchored in the crater. The city is built along the rim of the crater. We are able to look into the heart of the volcano.

Athens – Intellectual capital of the ancient world

We arrived at the port of Athens early yesterday morning and was met by our tour operator and guide. Morning sightseeing included highlight of the ancient and modern capital of Greece. This included the Royal Palace, the Stadium and Temple of Zeus, the Theater of Dionysius, Mars Hill (the Areopagus), the Acropolis with the famous Parthenon, the Agora (mar­ket place) and Socrates’ prison (Acts 17:15-34).

Both Athens and Corinth are in biblical Achaia.

I always find the visit to the National Archaeological Museum enjoyable. I have prepared several photos to upload, but have decided to so with the one below.

When speaking about archaeology, I am asked often about how people in the ancient world built those marvelous structures that now amaze us. I think I have finally figured out the answer for the Parthenon which was constructed about 2500 years ago. This photo might help you to understand. You have heard the saying, “Pictures don’t lie.” This photo is not retouched.

Paul and his companions stopped in Rhodes

I thought I posted this article yesterday, but see that I left it as a draft. Anyway, here goes. After a three day cruise we are now in Athens, Greece. Due to the expensive time on board the ship, and lack of time to seek other arrangements, I was unable to post since Patmos. I will try to catch up over the next few days. Below is the post on Rhodes.


Paul and his companions stopped at Rhodes on the return portion of the third journey, but nothing is said in Luke’s historical account about any activities on the island.

When we had parted from them [the Ephesian elders at Miletus] and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos and the next day to Rhodes and from there to Patara; and having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail. (Acts 21:1-2)

Our ship docked at the harbor of the city of Rhodes, capital of the island of Rhodes. Here, in ancient days, stood the colossus of Rhodes — one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The statue fell during an earthquake in 226 B.C., but remains of it were seen as late as the 7th century A.D. Assuming that Paul’s ship docked here, he would have seen ruins of the famous monument. Considering the course of travel mentioned in the text (Cos, Rhodes, and Patara) this appears more likely.

Another tradition has it that Paul’s contact with the island was at Lindos, one of the three ancient cities of the island. It is located about 34 miles from the town of Rhodes. A small Greek Orthodox chapel commemorates the landing and preaching of the apostle. In this photo showing St. Paul’s harbor you can see the chapel on the right. The acropolis with ruins of the Temple of Athena are on the left. Fant and Reddish, A Guide to Biblical Sites in Greece and Turkey, say that “The harbor was once the location of the fleet of Lindos and the only natural harbor on the island of Rhodes” (114).

Rhodes is not mentioned in most English translations of the Old Testament. Ezekiel 27:15, in translating the Masoretic Text, mentions the “men of Dedan” or the Dedanites. The Greek version (LXX, Septuagint) uses words that mean “men of Rhodes.” I note that the New American Bible, the NIV, and the NRS, follow the Greek in their trasnlation. Rhodes is also mentioned in 1 Maccabees 15:23. Dedan is identified as “an important settlement located at one of the major oases in NW Arabia (Gen. 10:7; Gen. 25:3)” (Anchor Dictionary of the Bible, 123). For now, this remains a problem.

Titus was left in Crete

Paul left Titus in Crete to set in order what was lacking in the churches, and appoint elders in every city (Titus 1:5). This indicates that Paul visited Crete with Titus and left Titus there. It is difficult to fit this into the information we know about Paul’s life, but likely came after the first Roman imprisonment. Tradition has it that Titus was the first bishop of Gortyn. There we saw the ruins of the Basilica of St. Titus (4th to 8th centuries). Here is one of the photos from this site was was on the main road from Heraklion to Fair Havens.

The back of the basilica of Titus at Gortyna, Crete. Roman statue in foreground. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The back of the basilica of Titus at Gortyna, Crete. Roman statue in foreground. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This photo shows the back of the basilica because the front was in the shadows. One of our tour members was looking at the photo. I said, “We could say that this Roman statue is of Titus.” She said, “It looks as if he has a splitting headache.”

Paul showed me Fair Havens in Crete

Thursday our ship docked at Heraklion, Crete. Crete is associated with Paul’s voyage to Rome. The biblical account is found in Acts 27:7-15. Note verses 7 and 8.

When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone; and with difficulty sailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

The ship sailed under the shelter of Crete and came to Kali Limenes (Fair Havens) near the city of Lasea. Because Fair Havens was not a suitable harbor for wintering, the pilot and captain of the ship decided to sail on in hopes of reaching “Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest,” and spend the winter there. Because of a severe wind, called Euraquilo, which came down from the land, they were driven by the wind and eventually wrecked on the island of Malta.

Fair Havens was not a stop on our tour because the ship was docked at Heraklion for only five hours. The distance would make it impossible to take a group on a coach (bus) to Fair Havens. I have wanted to return since my first visit in 1984, and determined that I would try it this time even if it meant taking some other transportation to catch the ship. But, I figured that we could do it in four hours by taxi. One gospel preacher and his wife asked me earlier if it could be arranged. I also invited the other three preachers on the tour to join us. We took two taxis and made our way across the mountains to the south side of Crete. The drive itself was rewarding. There were some small patches of snow still on the highest mountain of the country. The beautiful mountain sides and valleys were filled with vineyards, and olive and fruit groves.

Paul showed you Fair Havens?, you are asking. Yes, my taxi driver was named Paul!

Here is one of the photos I made of the harbor at Fair Havens.

The City of Rhodes

The Knights of St. John controlled the city of Rhodes from the 14th century to the early 16th century. The town provides some spectacular views of various kinds of architecture.

The island called Patmos

This afternoon we made a visit to Patmos. I am using an Internet Cafe in Patmos to connect. The cost of Internet on the ship is $1.60 per minute!!!!

I decided to share with you an article I wrote some time back for Biblical Insights. The photos were made on a previous tour. Later I will try to post some of the photos I made today. I think they will be better.

John, the writer of the book of Revelation, was “on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9). I am convinced that this was the apostle John. He was there because of (Greek dia, on account of) the word of God. Filson says this could mean either banishment, or banishment to hard labor. He points out that the word of God and witness or testimony are used in Revelation 6:9 and 20:4 “in reference to a persecution situation” (Interpreter’s Dictionary Bible III:677).

The Romans used the island as a penal settlement to which they sent political agitators and others who threatened the peace of the empire (Tacitus Annals 3.68; 4.30; 15.71). According to Eusebius, John was banished to Patmos by the Emperor Domitian, A. D. 95, and released 18 months later under Nerva (HE III.18.1; 20.8-9).

A view of the harbor on the island of Patmos, the place where the apostle John received, and possibly wrote the Book of Revelation. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A view of the harbor on the island of Patmos, the place where the apostle John received, and possibly wrote the Book of Revelation. This photo was made from Chora, looking down to the port of Skala. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, 2008.

Patmos is a rocky island off the west coast of Asia Minor in the Aegean Sea, about 37 miles southwest of Miletus. The island is one of the Dodecanese (twelve) or of the Southern Sporades. It is about 10 miles long (N–S) and 6 miles wide at the north end, and consists of about 22 square miles of land area. The island is mountainous and of irregular outline. Some visitors to the island have suggested that the natural scenery “determined some features of the imagery of the Apocalypse” (HDB III:693-94).

Patmos has been a part of Greece since 1947, and may be reached by boat from Piraeus, Samos, Kos, or Rhodes. The ferry from Samos takes about 2 1/2 hours, arriving at the port of Skala. Our cruise ship sailed from Kusadasi, Turkey, to Patmos.

On the way from Skala to Chora, the only other town on the island, one passes the Monastery and Cave of the Apocalypse. This site is marked as the traditional place where John received the Revelation.

At Chora, the monastery of St. John the Theologian dominates the island. It was built by a monk called Christodulos (slave of Christ) in A. D. 1088. The monastery library is noted for its manuscripts, but especially for its collection of more than 200 icons. The oldest book in the library is part of a 6th century codex of Mark (Codex Purpureus). The second oldest manuscript is an 8th century A. D. copy of Job.