Asia Minor in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
Technically, it is only on sufferance that an account of
"Asia Minor" can find a place in a Biblical encyclopedia,
for the country to which this name applies in modern times
was never so called in Old Testament or New Testament times.
The term first appears in Orosius, a writer of the 5th
century AD, and it is now applied in most European languages
to the peninsula forming the western part of Asiatic Turkey.
The justification for the inclusion in this work of a
summary account of Asia Minor as a whole, its geography,
history, and the social and political condition of its
people in New Testament times, is to be found in the
following sentence of Gibbon: "The rich provinces that
extend from the Euphrates to the Ionian Sea were the
principal theater on which the Apostle to the Gentiles
displayed his zeal and piety"; and no region outside the
city of Rome has preserved to modern times so many records
of the growth and character of its primitive Christianity.
I. The Country.
1. Position and Boundaries:
Asia Minor (as the country was called to distinguish it from
the continent of Asia), or Anatolia, is the name given to
the peninsula which reaches out between the Black Sea
(Pontus Euxinus) on the North and the Mediterranean on the
South, forming an elevated land-bridge between central Asia
and southeastern Europe. On the Northwest corner, the
peninsula is separated from Europe by the Bosporus, the Sea
of Marmora and the hellespont. On the West the peninsula
borders on the Aegean Sea, whose numerous islands tempted
the timid mariner of ancient times on toward Greece. The
West coast, with its alternation of mountain and river-
valley, is deeply indented: there is a total coast line of
four times the length of a line drawn from North to South
The numerous land-locked bays and harbors of this coast have
made it the happy hunting-ground of Mediterranean traders in
all ages. On the East it is usual to delimit Asia Minor by a
line drawn from Alexandretta to Samsun, but for the purposes
of New Testament history it must be remembered that part of
Cilicia, Cappadocia and Pontus (Galatia) lie to the East of
this line (Longitude 26 degrees to 36 degrees East; latitude
36 degrees to 42 degrees North)....