A ‘city of Lycaonia’ in Asia Minor, personally visited two times, or perhaps three, by the apostle Paul.
Probably sometime prior to the winter of 47-48 C.E., during his first missionary journey, Paul arrived at Derbe after a severe stoning at nearby Lystra. At Derbe, he and Barnabas ‘declared the good news’ and made “quite a few disciples,” including, possibly, “Gaius of Derbe,” who is later mentioned as a traveling companion of the apostle. While secular history indicates that after 41 C.E. Derbe was the easternmost city of the political province of Galatia, Luke’s description of it in this account as a ‘city of Lycaonia’ is apparently in a regional or ethnographic sense. (Ac 14:6, 19-21; 20:4) A number of months later, after the Jerusalem council concerning circumcision (c. 49 C.E.), and while on his second tour, Paul returned to Derbe. (Ac 15:36; 16:1) Though not singled out by name, Derbe may also have been a stop on Paul’s third tour when he strengthened the disciples in “the country of Galatia.” (Ac 18:23) There is no record of Paul’s meeting physical resistance at Derbe, and he makes no mention of the city many years later when recounting his sufferings at other places in its vicinity.—2Ti 3:11.
Derbe is now identified with Kerti Hüyük 21 km (13 mi) NNE of Karaman (ancient Laranda) and about 100 km (62 mi) SE of Konya (ancient Iconium). As to whether Derbe was included in Paul’s letter addressed “to the congregations of Galatia,” see GALATIANS, LETTER TO THE.—Ga 1:2.