Last January I got the incredible privilege to go with some scholarly and playful people to Greece. While there, we studied the massive amounts of historical locations, delved into the rich culture, and got to retrace the steps of Paul as he evangelized through the countryside of Macedonia. It was life changing. The places were beautiful. Our leaders were intellectual and well versed in their topics. The dancing and the food was fun. The most transformative time for me, though, was to be able to tangibly stand in the places mentioned by the scriptures. We would be reading an excerpt in Acts of the Apostles, and walking on the ground were it was addressed the next minute. Walking through the ancient ruins of Philippi, and standing up on the Acropolis in Athens all of the sudden painted the scriptures in a new light I hadn’t ever seen. There was somehow now a sense of historicity paired alongside the spirituality vested in the holy scriptures of the Bible. Paul of Tarsus is no long JUST an author, he’s a human. With feelings. And emotions.
I remember reading a specific passage from Acts 17:22-28:
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out  their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

What was special about reading this passage was that the group of us were reading in on the Areopagus. The exact place that Paul was preaching from. Here, Paul is addressing the different schools of thought within the agora, a Roman town center. Being able to view the locations and the temples where Paul was mentioning in Athens as well as Corinth, Philippi, and Thessaloniki was quite the experience. We could almost picture in our heads the mannerisms and the emotion Paul would have displayed during this speech. We saw the temples he would have pointed to regarding the different deities worshiped. We could see him motioning at the Athenian wall when regarding the different boundaries to their lands. And finally, we could feel the emotion, the courage, and the radicalness of his message in a whole new context. It was so beautiful.

Visiting these places has given me a fresh translation of the Bible. The people that wrote the Bible were just like me. Living and traveling in the same world. With very real lives. How much more relatable is everything they wrote down after that truth is grasped? From that trip on out, reading the Bible has turned into something that is not only more relatable and transformative, but it is also comprehended on an entirely different level.



  1. Reply
    Karen Huber says

    I shared your experience – only years before…. Had the great opportunity to travel to Greece and like you was stunned to walk where THEY walked…. and saw what THEY saw. Standing in the middle of the marketplace of Corinth I could almost hear the sellers bantering at each other as they enticed people to buy their wares…. And to stand on a hill in Rhodes and look down into the bay where Paul’s ship had been anchored while he spoke there…. I was in awe to stroll through Knosses on Crete and see remnants of a civilization that left frescos and beatiful paintings!
    To actually BE in those places where there are huge columns laying in parks over 2,000 years old is life changing…..

  2. Reply
    Carol Landon says

    Never having been to Greece, I thank you, Jacob, for your amazing description of being in such a historical place & to feel the spirituality ✝️

  3. Reply
    Carolyn Keefer says

    We, too, have never visited this part of the world. Thank you for painting this wonderful picture for us through your writing.

  4. Reply
    Nancy Decker says

    What a privilege to learn of your many Christian experiences in and near Greece. Thank you for sharing your experiences, especially those related to those in the New Testament of the Bible. Nancy Decker

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