Nearly all the biblical story takes place around or near the Mediterranean, in the (modern) countries of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malta, Syria, and Turkey.

Ancient Anatolia (corresponding roughly with the modern nation of Turkey) is ever in the background of the O.T., with a number of explicit references to the powerful Hittite Empire centered here. Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were located here: the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (where the goddess was worshipped for 1000 years), as well as the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

But it is in the N.T. that Turkey emerges front and center on the biblical stage. Paul ministers extensively in Asian Minor, as does (later) the apostle John (based in Ephesus). In fact, skim the Book of Acts and the N.T. letters and it quickly becomes clear that the greatest number of congregations were established in Turkey: Ephesus, Colossae, Hierapolis, Laodicea, Smyrna, Pergamum, Miletus, Philadelphia, Sardis, Thyatira, Lystra, Derbe, and many more. Provinces in Turkey familiar to N.T. readers include Asia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Pamphylia, and Galatia.

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