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Beautiful beaches… delicious food… Mediterranean climate… one need not ponder long to find a convincing reason for travel to Greece. For Christians, however, one compelling reason stands above the rest. The New Testament church was planted and grew to maturity in this region.
Paul visits this bustling city on the run from Jewish heretics who sought to harm him during his second missionary journey. Alone in a place filled with idols, he seeks to preach Christ to the philosophers of the day at Mars Hill.
When you visit Athens, you can stand where Paul preached in the shadow of the Acropolis. You can learn how Greco-Roman philosophy has influenced the New Testament. Enjoy the restoration of the Agora (marketplace) by the American Archaeological Society or observe an ancient bema, the analogy used for God's judgment of humankind.
After his attempt to travel into the Galatian region, Paul received a vision of a Macedonian man calling him to Greece. He spend a few weeks in Thessalonica before being threatened and forced to leave town. In the intervening months, Paul wrote two letters to the believers there following up on his truncated visit.
When you visit Thessalonica you can view the Via Egnatia, the very road that Paul would have used to move about on his journeys. God providentially sent the gospel into the world in a time when travel and communication were readily available to citizens.
Paul spent 18 months in Corinth during his second missionary journey, in addition to writing at least four letters to them - two of which we have in the New Testament.
When you visit Corinth you can explore many aspects of Paul correspondence including the nature of meat sacrificed to idols, the reason women used head coverings in worship, and the way in which worship of Apollo and Aphrodite influenced converts.
What to See
Paul met Lydia worshiping along the banks of the Krenedis River. A church was planted in her home. Paul was imprisoned in Philippi but miraculously delivered by the Lord through an earthquake.
When you visit Philippi, you can visit the river where Paul met an baptized Lydia. You can also visit the prison reputed to be the place of Paul's incarceration.
While we have no record of a visit by Paul to Delphi, the city is filled with significant archaeological artifacts related to interpretation of the scriptures.
When you visit Delphi, you can visit one of the best preserved ancient stadiums - providing a better understanding of Paul's many athletic analogies in his letters. You can also see the location of the Oracle of Delphi - very helpful as background to Paul's instructions regarding ecstatic utterances in his correspondence with the nearby town of Corinth.
Greece has many places to visit which are not connected to the New Testament era but shed much light on your understanding of the Bible. The historical development of the the Greek Orthodox church has significant ramifications for Protestants attempting to understand people's beliefs in many eastern regions.
The monastery at Meteora is one of the iconic pictures of Greece and will introduce you to the eastern orthodox theological tradition.
Paul spent 3 years in Ephesus on his third missionary journey in addition to writing a letter to the Ephesian believers. Somewhat later the letters 1 & 2 Timothy were written to the young pastor as he served the saints in Ephesus.
The city is excavated to the Roman era in many places, providing a striking visual explanation of what the city might have looked like during Paul's time. When you visit Ephesus, you can stand in the theatre where the crowds gathered to respond to Paul's mitigation of their profit in idol making.
The book of Revelation is the only book of the New Testament which specifically records a known location at the time of writing. John may have been exiled or imprisoned on this island, as was the custom of the Romans.
Today you can visit this place of solitude and still sense some of the isolation which must have been a part of John's experience. As you travel there by boat, you can also see what Paul would have viewed during the portions of his missionary journeys undertaken by sea.
Costas Tsevas provides a sample of some of the places of biblical significance which can be seen on a visit to Greece. View the video for a December 2013 feature of "This Week at AMG".