The places where I’ve learned more about the Bible or Kingdom history have made my favorite vacations.
A trip to Israel in February 2010 added a new dimension to my study of the Bible. I’ve never read the Bible the same since then. A trip to Istanbul, Ephesus and Athens last August provided me visual references to pair with important events in Kingdom history.
With that in mind, I list my top 10 Kingdom travel cities. These are cities or places whose significance is rooted in the Bible or the growth of the kingdom of God.
If my list seems limited it’s because I’ve only included those cities I’ve visited. Here they are:
1. Instanbul, Turkey (Constantinople). This city was the heart of Christendom for more than 1,100 years. When two ambassadors from Russian visited in the 10th century they reported back, “We knew not whether we were on heaven or earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men . . .” We spent 4 days here and still didn’t see all there was to see.
2. Jerusalem. See where Jesus walked and see the gospels come alive. Enough said.
3. Ephesus (Kusadasi, Turkey). Some of the best preserved ancient ruins in the world. Here, one gets a sense of what the city actually looked like when the apostles Paul and John walked the streets because so much of it is preserved. Also, John’s tomb is here.
4. Capernaum (Israel). Jesus, Peter and the guys lived here and this is where much of Jesus’ ministry took place. Seeing it brings to life to many of the events in the gospels.
5. Caesarea Phillipi (Israel). Here you can see the “gates of Hades” Jesus referred to in Matthew 16:18. I learned here the meaning of this verse and that meaning, rooted in this place, is what earns it such a high ranking as a Kingdom travel city.
6. Athens. Walk where the Apostle Paul walked and preached in the market place. Stand where Paul stood when he preached on the Areopagus and realize the boldness it required because he was standing in the shadow of one of the most famous pagan temples in the world. The Byzantine Museum is a also a must-see.
8. Edinburgh (Scotland). The Reformation is an indispensable part of Kingdom history, and the Scottish Reformation is one of the best examples of how the gospel transformed a nation. In Edinburgh you can see the home of the greatest Scottish reformer, John Knox, and you can see his grave, which is lies unmarked under a parking spot in an paved parking lot.
What cities would you add to the list? GS