Journey to Pisidia -- By: Raymond L. Cox
BSP 7:4 (Autumn 1978) p. 122
Journey to Pisidia
[Raymond L. Cox, a frequent contributor to BIBLE AND SPADE, is pastor of the Salem, Oregon Foursquare Church. He has traveled extensively in Bible lands and has written over 1650 articles on biblical and archaeological subjects. In addition, he is the author of four books.]
Paul and Barnabas probably encountered “perils of waters, perils of robbers, perils in the wilderness,” besides “weariness and painfulness,” “hunger and thirst,” and probably even excessive “cold” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:26, 27) as they hiked from the malarial coastlands of Pamphylia to the highlands of Pisidia, but I have nothing but fond memories of my journey to Pisidia.
“I drive today where apostles walked,” the thought struck me as I steered my Hertz Volkswagen along the last 50 miles of roads and tracks which led to the ruins of Antioch. The highways Paul plodded likely were better than some of those I encountered in following his steps in modern Turkey, for he used Roman roads which were excellently engineered, well paved, and kept in good repair. But the difference between 40 miles an hour which I managed to drive and four miles an hour — the rate at which the apostles walked — more than made up for the dust and bumps of inferior tracks.
“Throughout ancient history,” wrote W.M. Calder, “we find the Pisidian mountains described as the home of a turbulent and warlike people, given to robbery and pillage” (p. 2400, vol. iv, International Standard Bible Encylcopedia). The Romans enlisted Galatian king Amyntas to subject the region, and when Amyntas died in 25 B.C. they annexed Pisidia, along with the king’s other possessions, into their own province of Galatia. Pisidian Antioch was the westernmost of the churches planted by Paul that the apostle addressed in his epistle to the Galatians.
Here was territory with a real “wild west” atmosphere. Throughout most of the region of Pisidia Roman occupation was strictly military. Numerous inscriptions attest to the presence of armed policemen and soldiers charged with keeping the peace in
BSP 7:4 (Autumn 1978) p. 123
the area, and several mention attacks by highwaymen or rescues from drowning in rivers. Secular authorities confirm conditions to which Paul alluded, as both Conybeare and Howson and Sir William Ramsay point out.
How times have changed. There are few places in the world now where a foreigner would be safer travelling alone than here. The Turks, because of their warlike past, have a ba...
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