Turkey Biblical Study Tour


Run in conjunction with the Book of Revelation for 8 credit points total.

Limited places (one place left for a female-twin share).

One semester, 4 credit points.
5-21 June 2019 (enquire about future years)
Tim Foster


This unique experience will bring the Bible to life as you study the Scriptures in their ancient context. Travel through Turkey walking in the footsteps of Paul as well as visiting the seven Churches of the Revelation. The tour now includes a week in two yachts following Paul’s sea journeys along the southern coastline visiting the ports of Patara and Myra (Acts 21:1 and Acts 27:5). Lectures and Bible studies at each site wPergamum Temple of Trajanill help you read the Bible with new depth and understanding. This unit is combined with another 4 credit point unit on the Book of Revelation which is is taught the following week at our Mediterranean Campus in Antlaya, Turkey (total for both units is 8 credit points).

The tour is led by Tim Foster from Ridley College and Mark Wilson from the Asia Minor Resource Center.

Credit: FEE-HELP ($6,498) (twin share) for NT445/645 only
Non-credit (audit): ($4,800)
Plus airfares, lunches & visa (approx. $2,200)
Single supplement: $1,080

  • 16 day tour of Turkey including 7 days of sailing
  • Comprehensive sightseeing tours and onsite lectures as outlined in the itinerary including all entrance fees.
  • hotel accommodation in twin share rooms. Single supplement is available for an additional charge.
  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches & 6 dinners.
  • Transportation by air-conditioned private coach.
  • Tips for the drivers and guides.


Wed 5 June
Depart Australia. Recommended flight details below.

Thu 6 June to Sun 9 June, 2019. Theme: Empire & Christendom
We arrive in Istanbul and take a private transfer to Sultanahmet; the Old City of Constantinople. In AD 330 Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire here, and it lasted a further 1,122 years. As the empire was Christian during this period the city became the most important Christian centre, quickly eclipsing Rome. Many of the most significant events in early church history happened right where you will be standing: two-thirds of the Nicene Creed was written, John Chrysostom preached, the Cappadocian Fathers defended Trinitarian Orthodoxy and the iconoclastic controversy was fought for 110 years.

Over three days we will learn of its significance as we visit the Hagia Sophia Church, Hagia Irene Church and the Hippodrome. We will also spend time at the Archaeological Museum, Blue Mosque, Chora Church and Topkapi Palace. We will also relax as we take a street food tour, cruise the Bosphorous and visit the New District. Our hotel will be in Sultanahmet, in sight of the Blue Mosque. Dinner will be at local restaurants.

Accommodation: Erguvan Hotel, Sultanahmet (Old City)
Breakfast included. Lunch and Dinner ($40/day = $120)

Sun 9 June. Theme: Persecution/Martyrdom. Scripture: Rev 2:8-11; 13:11-18
We transfer to the airport and fly to Turkey’s second largest city, Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna. Here we visit the first of the Seven Churches of Revelation. We will read of their struggle against their Jewish persecutors, and discover why Judaism was so prominent in Western Asia Minor and its significance for the growth of the gospel. We also see first century graffiti and learn how these discoveries help our understanding of early Christianity and our reading of Revelation, especially the identity of the Beast and the number 666. Uncovered in 2005 this is still being excavated this small site in the middle of a major city is revealing many important finds. Smyrna is also the site of Polycarp’s martyrdom. We will read of his faithfulness, his dramatic trial and martyrdom.

Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch: $12
Flight: Approx. $75
Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton, Izmir.

Mon 10 June. Themes: Imperial Cult; Sexual Immorality. Scripture: Rev 2:12-17; 18-29
We take a full day tour to the site of Pergamum. High on an acropolis and accessible by cable car this is a vast and impressive site. We read about the struggles of the early church, addressed in Revelation 2:12-17, and learn why they faced a different threat to the church in Smyrna. We will visit the temple of Hadrian, the site of the Alter of Zeus, the Pergamum Library and the steepest theatre in the Greco-Roman world. No site gives a better sense of the struggle against paganism that the early church faced than here. Time permitting, we will visit the Asklepion. Then we head to Thyatira. This is a small site which provides a shady place to consider the text of Revelation 2:18-29, find out about the nature of sexual immorality in the ancient world and why it was such a threat. We head back to Izmir to walk the waterfront and enjoy the atmosphere of this unique city.

Breakfast and dinner. Lunch: $7
Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton, Izmir.

Tue 11 June. Theme: Paul’s Imprisonment Scripture: Rev 2:1-8; Acts 19:1-41
Today we visit Ephesus, without doubt the highlight of the tour. Walk through the agora where Paul worked with Priscilla and Aquilla, and see how the drama of Acts 19 would have played out. Enter the huge theatre, walk over recently excavated houses of wealthy people where the early church may well have met, see the iconic Celsus Library and dozens of other important buildings that make up this vast ancient city.  More inscriptions were found here than any other site, and Mark Wilson will show you some that shed important light on our reading of the NT. We will stop to consider Revelation 2:1-8 as well as the possibility that this city was the place where Paul wrote the Prison Epistles. We then head to the Ephesus Museum featuring coins, statues and other items from the Ephesus site. We visit the remains of the Church of St John which may be where the Apostle John was buried. From here we can see the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. All that remains today is one column! Lunch is at a Christian outreach restaurant. We have two nights at a spectacular hotel on the Aegean Sea.

Breakfast and dinner. Lunch: $7
Overnight Charisma Deluxe Hotel, Kusadasi.

Wed 12 June. Theme: Leisure. Scripture: Exodus 20:8-11
Free Day!
Breakfast and dinner. Lunch: $8
Overnight Charisma Deluxe Hotel, Kusadasi.

Thu 13 June. Theme: Compromise. Scripture: Rev 3:1-6; 7-13; 14-21
We head inland stopping at Sardis. The site has several very interesting features and sheds light on Revelation 3:1-6. We see the remains of the largest synagogue in the ancient world which raises questions about the place of Judaism in this society and the relationship of Jews and early Christians in this city. We stop by Philadelphia to read the most upbeat of all the letters to the Seven Churches and “unlock” some of the key phrases in the passage, such as the meaning of the one who “holds the key of David.” Our last stop at Laodicea provides more recent archaeological discoveries, and its location illuminates the meaning of “hot”, “cold” and “lukewarm.” See why most commentators and just about every preacher get the meaning wrong!

Breakfast and dinner. Lunch: $5
Overnight Doga Thermal Hotel, Pamukkale.

Fri 14 June. Theme: Religion in the Ancient World. Scripture: Col 4:13
The site of Hierapolis is the largest on our tour. We walk through its necropolis and enter the city gates. The shifting of the gates reveals depopulation and provides an opportunity to consider the population dynamics of cities and reasons for their growth and decline. We follow the Pilgrims Way to the Martyrium of St Philip where we evaluate the claims of an archaeologist to have found the Apostle’s tomb. We will see the recently discovered Plutonium, one of just nine such entrances to Hades in the ancient world. There is a bonus swim in the thermal Pool of Cleopatra and you can join the tourists for a paddle through the spectacular calcium formations. We head to nearby Colossae which is yet to be excavated, but it prompts us to think about the challenges faced by archaeologists and to consider the relationship between Paul and the three churches in this area. We then transfer to the coast and spend the night at Fethiye.

Breakfast only. Lunch & Dinner: $40
Overnight: Infinity City Hotel, Fethiye

Sat 15 June to Sat 22 June.
Themes: Shipping under the Roman Empire. Paul’s Captivity Journey. Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey.
Scriptures: Acts 21.1-7; 27.1-44.
After food shopping for the week we board our yachts for seven days sailing along the Aegean coastline. No sailing experience is necessary, and you will quickly learn how to sail the boat (or, if you don’t want to, you can just relax). We cover about 3 hours sailing most days, with two longer 7-8 hour days. The sea is usually calm at this time of the year, especially in the mornings. This section of Mediterranean coast is spectacular and offers some very interesting stops at ancient and medieval sites. This is the coastline that Paul sailed in his Third Missionary Journey, and again, in the other direction during his captivity journey We will visit the two harbours where he changed ships (Patara (Acts 21:1) and Myra (Acts 27:5)). Patara was a large and significant city famous for its oracle. Many of its features are in remarkable condition, including the theatre, main street and temple. Myra is now famous as the city of St Nicholas (Santa Claus) who was bishop here in the 4th century. Along the way we will snorkel among sunken Roman ruins, hike to the abandoned Greek Village that inspired the book, Birds Without Wings, climb up to 2,500-year-old Lycan tombs carved into the rocks, and dine alfresco as your Turkish host barbecues fish caught that day.

The following itinerary is a guide, as it may change according to conditions.

Sat 15 June
We board our yachts and motor-sail 2 hours to Cold Water Bay. We enjoy dinner at a remote restaurant under the stars. We stay the night anchored in Cold Water Bay.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner $30.

Sun 16 June
We start early with a walk to a Greek Village, abandoned in 1923, and which inspired the book Birds Without Wings. Then sail across to Butterfly Bay for a swim, and along the coast to Kalkan stopping for lunch at one of the many bays – a total of 5-7 hours sailing. At Kalkan we visit the local shops and restaurants and will berth at the marina or anchor at a nearby bay.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner $25.

Mon 17 June
We take a local bus to Patara and spend a few hours exploring this large and significant site where Paul changed ships as he returned from his third missionary journey (Acts 21:1). We will consider how it was that Paul had some control over the ship’s itinerary on this journey, the reason Paul changed ships here, and the nature of coastal trading. A short two-hour sail brings us to the beautiful resort town of Kas. There is opportunity to explore the town and eat at one of its many restaurants. We berth at a marina.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner $25.

Tue 18 June
We leave port early and sail 3 hours to Adrianake where Paul changed ships on his captivity voyage (Acts 27:5). See one of the world’s oldest synagogues which was only recently discovered, a replica Roman ship, a cistern and huge Roman granary. This is an opportunity to consider the importance of grain to the Roman empire, the reason Paul changed ships here and the nature of the sailing season. We may take taxis to see the ruins at nearby Myra and the remains of the Byzantine St Nicholas’ Church. We then have a short sail to Kale Koy – our mooring for the night is at Likya, a family run restaurant.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner $25.

Wed 19 June
Begin the day by snorkelling the famous sunken Roman ruins of Kekova, before we head back towards Fethiye. We have 5 hours of sailing to Kalkan with a stop at one of the stunning bays along this stretch of coastline.  We berth at a marina or nearby bay.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner $25.

Thu 20 June
We have a long sail ahead of us to Wall Bay (about 7 hours). On the way we stop at St Nicholas Island, a significant pilgrimage site in Crusader times. See the remarkable ruins of the processional way and Byzantine churches. At Wall Bay we enjoy a special dinner and anchor in Wall Bay.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner $30.

Fri 21 June
Our last day is a relaxing one. We snorkel neighbouring Cleopatra Bay where sunken Roman ruins can be found. We sail to nearby Tomb Bay and hike up to the 2,500 year old Lycian Tombs. After a swim we sail across Fethiye Bay to our home port for the last evening. Head to the fish market for dinner.
Breakfast & Lunch included. Dinner $25.

Sat 22 June
We take the local 9am bus for a 4-hour tip to Antalya. On arrival we check into our home for the next 8 nights located in the heart of the Old City. We will take a walk around the old city, grabbing some lunch and then sail along the coastline on a pirate themed boat! You can have a swim at the waterfall.
Breakfast and dinner included
Bus: $10
Lunch: $7

Sun 23 June
Today we attend St Paul Union Church (11AM) (and hear a guest preacher from Australia!). Free afternoon.

Mon 24 June – Book of Revelation Classes begin

Tue 25 June. Theme: Paul’s First Missionary Journey. Scripture: Acts 13:4-14:28
Today we head to the incredible site of Perge, located just 30 minutes away. This is the city where Paul landed in Asia Minor on his First Missionary Journey. See some significant inscriptions in situ and many other well-preserved features. Then we head to the Taurus Mountains in search of the Roman Road taken by Paul on the way to Pisidian Antioch. Why did Mark leave Paul here? Why Pisidian Antioch? Which route did he take?

Thu 26 June-Sat 29 June
Revelation classes continue. Classes in the morning. Free afternoon except for Greek text.

Sun 30 June
Church (if you have a later flight) and departure.

We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Ridley College campus is built. Ridley College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS Provider Code 02650E. © 2020 Copyright. All Rights Reserved.