This page is a verse by verse study of Acts 21:1-17. These verses briefly describe Paul’s journey from Miletus to Jerusalem, as his third missionary journey draws to a close.
Journey from Miletus to Jerusalem
¶ "Upon our final parting from the Ephesians, having set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. Having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail. When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre, for there the ship was to unload her cargo."(Acts 21:1-3).
Landed at Tyre. The voyage from Miletus to Tyre ran generally south-east, following the coast to Patara, then continuing without landfall until reaching Tyre.
¶ "We found disciples at Tyre, and we stayed there seven days. These disciples kept telling Paul, through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. When our time was up, we departed to continue our journey. They all, with wives and children, brought us on our way until we were out of the city. Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed. After saying goodbye to each other, we boarded the ship, and they went back home."(Acts 21:4-6).
Through the Spirit. The message to Paul was a prophecy given by the gift of prophecy, one of the spiritual gifts imparted to some early Christians (1Corinthians 12:4-11).
That he should not go. This was not meant as a directive by the Spirit, but as a warning. Were it a command to stay away from Jerusalem, Paul would have obeyed it. The Holy Spirit knew that Paul was determined to go to Jerusalem, and did not forbid him, but only sought to disuade him.
Brought us on our way. The whole church at Tyre went with Paul to the ship to see him off. This was not merely out of respect, but also to to protect and encourage him. They were concerned that his life was in danger.
¶ "Our voyage from Tyre ended at Ptolemais. Arriving there, we greeted the brethren, and stayed with them one day. On the next day, those of us accompanying Paul departed, and came to Caesarea. We entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. This man had four maiden daughters who prophesied."(Acts 21:7-9).
Voyage ended at Ptolemais. After a day with the disciples at Ptolemais, Paul and his companions began the journey by road to Jerusalem and arrived in Caesarea.
Philip the evangelist. In Caesarea, Paul and his companions visited Philip. We have have heard nothing of him since he baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch, found himself at Azotus, and preached his way to Caesarea (Acts 8:40).. Some twenty years later, he was living there and gave Paul hospitality.
Maiden daughters who prophesied. No doubt these daughters, being prophets, helped Philip in his ministry. The gift of prophecy was not confined to telling the future. People who prophesied were divinely guided and inspired in their teaching.
¶ "We stayed with Philip several days. While we were there, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he came to visit us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands with it. He said, “The Holy Spirit says that the Jews at Jerusalem will likewise bind the man who owns this belt, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” When we heard Agabus say these things, we and the people there begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Since he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”"(Acts 21:10-14).
Prophet named Agabus. Agabus was the prophet who, many years earlier, had gone to Antioch in Syria and foretold the great famine (Acts 11:27-30). Now Agabus added his voice to the warnings that when Paul went to Jerusalem he would suffer.
People begged Paul not to go. Paul became upset and exasperated at yet another case of many disciples trying to disuade him from going to Jerusalem. Paul did not deny the prophesies; but to Jerusalem he was determined to go, no matter what awaited him there.
The Lord’ will be done. The Lord’s will was, apparently, that Paul should warned strongly of the trouble awaiting him in Jerusalem; that an effort should be made to persuade him not to go; that if he still remained determined, then he should go with the Lord’s blessing.
¶ "After these days with Philip, we packed our bags and went up to Jerusalem. Some of the disciples from Caesarea also went with us. They brought along Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge. When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly."(Acts 21:15-17).
We packed our bags. Included in the luggage would be some of the collected contributions for the needy saints in Jerusalem. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why some of the disciples from Ceasarea went with Paul and his companions —to discourage robbers.
Brethren received us gladly. If Paul was in any doubt of his welcome among the brethren in Jerusalem, his mind was put at rest. They were glad to see him. Safe lodging in Jerusalem for Paul and his companions had already been arranged in Caesarea.
Arrived in Jerusalem. Paul had wanted to be in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Acts 20:16). He appears to have made it with not a day to spare, according to the days elapsed from Philippi to Miletus (Acts 20:6-16), and from Miletus to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1-8,15-17). Pentecost is the 50th day from the Passover. So starting with 50 days...