Author: Ron Graham
—Missionary journeys and journey to Rome
Our study of the places in the book of Acts requires a supplemental summary of the journeys and periods of the apostle Paul.
Traditionally, Paul is said to have made three missionary journeys, plus a fourth journey to Rome. In the Acts Facts series, I have retained this traditional manner of dividing up Paul’s several journeys recorded in the book of Acts. This enables you to more easily relate our studies with other studies, references, and maps, which most likely adhere to the same scheme.
The four journeys of Paul are...
- 1st missionary journey (Acts 13:4 to 15:35).
- 2nd missionary journey (Acts 15:36 to 18:22).
- 3rd missionary journey (Acts 18:23 to 21:17).
- Journey to Rome (Acts 27:1 to 28:16).
The first two journeys start and end in Syrian Antioch. The third journey starts in Antioch and ends in Jerusalem. Starting from Jerusalem, the fourth journey ends in Rome. See also Paul's trips to Jerusalem.
A After Paul’s Conversion
In Acts 9, Luke records the period between Paul’s conversion and his first missionary journey. In this period Paul was known as Saul. Paul himself speaks of this period in Acts 22 and 26, as well as Galatians 1:13-17. Putting information from all these sources together, we find the following activities between Paul’s conversion and first missionary journey.
- After his conversion in Damascus, Paul very nearly lost his life (Acts 9:19-25).
- During three years that followed, Paul spent some time in Arabia. After that, Paul returned to Damascus for the remainder of the three years (Galatians 1:11-18).
- Paul then came to Jerusalem where he was assisted by Barnabas. Again his life was threatened, so he went home to Tarsus (Galatians 1:18-24, Acts 9:26-30).
- Paul next went to Antoch in Syria. From there, he was sent down to Judea with aid for the brethren in need because of famine (Acts 11:19-30).
- Paul and Barnabas then returned to Syrian Antioch (Acts 12:25).
- At Antioch, Paul and Barnabas are called to embark on what is known as the 1st missionary journey (Acts 13:1-3).
B The 1st Missionary Journey
- From Antioch’s seaport Selucia, they sail to Cyprus, and work throughout the island (Acts 13:4-12).
- Next they go to Pamphylia and the other Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:13-52)..
- They went down to Lycaonia, working in Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe (Acts 14:1-23).
- Passing through Pisidia and Pamphylia again, they then worked in Perga (Acts 14:24).
- They went down to Attalia and caught a ship back to Syrian Antioch (Acts 14:25-27).
C Period in Syrian Antioch
- Between the 1st and 2nd missionary journeys there was "a long time" in Antioch in Syria (Acts 14:28).
- During this period, Paul, Barnabas, and other companions had to go up to Jerusalem to attend a council of the apostles regarding the issue of Christians keeping the law of Moses (Acts 15:1-29).
- Paul returned to Antioch and worked there a while (Acts 15:30-35).
D The 2nd Missionary Journey
- Paul chose Silas and embarked on a journey that began by revisiting the places tPaul had worked on his 1st journey (Acts 15:36-41).
- They worked in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium. Timothy joined Paul and Silas.
- Paul, with Silas and Timothy, went through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia, then on to Troas (Acts 16:1-8)
- Paul received a vision calling him to Macedonia (Acts 16:9-40, 17:1-14).
- Paul went down to Achaia and worked in Athens (Acts 17:15-34).
- After Athens he went to work in Corinth where he met Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:1-17).
- From Corinth Paul went to Ephesus (Acts 18:18-21).
- He took a ship to Caesarea, visiting the church there, then went back to Syrian Antioch (Acts 18:21-22).
E The 3rd Missionary Journey
- After a time in Antioch, Paul set off again and visited with the churches again in Galatia and Phrygia (Acts 18:23)
- Paul next returned to Ephesus where his work caused an uproar (Acts 19:1-41).
- Paul then revisited Macedonia and Greece, and came to Troas and after that to Miletus (Acts 20:1-38).
- From Miletus Paul sailed to Caesarea and then went to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1-17).
F Period in Jerusalem and Caesarea
- In Jerusalem Paul had a meeting with James and the elders (Acts 21:18-26).
- Paul was caused trouble by the Jews (Acts 21:27-40).
- Paul told his story publicly and nearly got flogged (Acts 28).
- Paul went on trial and is escorted to Caesarea (Acts 23:1-35).
- He was imprisoned in Caesarea and goes before Felix (Acts 24)
- When he appeared before Festus he appealed to Caesar (Acts 25).
- Paul next appeared before Agrippa (Acts 26).
G Journey to Rome
- Paul sails for Rome under escort. On the way, he is shipwrecked (Acts 27)
- His journey from Malta to Rome (Acts 28:1-15).
- His house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:16-31).