Paul had intended to be in Jerusalem by the Passover but was prevented in doing so when a plot against his life was uncovered (Acts 20:3). His second plan was to be there by Pentecost (Acts 20:16). Obviously, he would have more time to spare on his journey than if his first plan was fruitful. Since he spent the winter months at Corinth (Acts 20:3; cp. 1Corinthians 16:6), he would have been ready to embark from there to the Province of Syria in late February or the first week in March. However, due to the plot on his life Paul spent three or four weeks journeying through Achaia and Macedonia visiting the churches there and didn’t set sail from Philippi until after the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6). Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: Paul’s third missionary Journey
Awhile back I had addressed this in a blog entitled Did Paul Disobey the Holy Spirit. I haven’t changed my mind about what I said there, but I do believe I need to address certain implications that were perhaps not addressed in that blog. For example, the text says in Acts 21:4 the disciples in Tyre “said to Paul through the Spirit that he should not go up to Jerusalem.” This certainly seems like a direct command from God. Is it, and if so, why wouldn’t Paul be disobedient to the Holy Spirit by continuing on to Jerusalem? Read the rest of this entry »
I used to wonder, at times, what it would look like if a wolf in sheep’s clothing entered my church or perhaps my denomination. Does anyone else think of these things? I think it must be important, because both Jesus and Paul and every other writer in the New Testament warn of men entering the flock of Christ in order to steal people away for themselves. If the idea weren’t worth mentioning, why would this warning be given by every writer in the New Testament, and wouldn’t it be naive to simply brush it off, saying ‘it could never happen to me’? Read the rest of this entry »
Does God have blood? The Scriptures say the “life… is in the blood” (Leveticus 17:11). The actual quotation is the “life **of the flesh** is in the blood”, but Jesus tells us that God is Spirit (John 4:24), implying that God is not flesh. So, if this is an accurate conclusion, how should we understand Paul’s words – “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28 – emphasis mine)? Read the rest of this entry »
Paul told his believing audience from Ephesus, that they would see him no more (Acts 20:25), for he was committed in his spirit to going to Jerusalem, knowing full well that trouble, perhaps even death awaited him there (Acts 20:22-24). It seems that Luke intends to show in Paul’s life an image of Jesus going to Jerusalem to be rejected and killed (cp. Luke 9:51), and just as Jesus was committed to fulfill the plan of God, so was Paul. Paul conformed himself to the pattern he saw in Jesus, even to the point of betrayal (Acts 21:20-24)! Was it an accident or was it a conspiracy conducted by false brethren (cp. Galatians 2:4; 2Corinthians 11:26)? Luke doesn’t tell us, but leaves the whole matter shrouded in mystery undaunted by our curiosity. Read the rest of this entry »
In what remains of what we know as Acts 20, Luke treats us with Paul’s final speech as a free man. Furthermore, it is his only speech in Acts that is given before only a believing audience. So, we can expect his words here to be of greater depth than what he is shown to have said before at the Athenian Areopagus in Acts 17, for example or even before the Jews of Pisidian Antioch in Acts 13. Here at Miletus, a prosperous coastal city on the eastern Aegean Sea, Paul summoned the elders of the Ephesian church (Acts 20:17), for he sailed past the port at Ephesus not wanting to delay his course to Jerusalem longer than was necessary (Acts 20:16). Read the rest of this entry »
I am reminded at this point in Paul’s third recorded missionary journey of the beginning of his second. Originally, Paul had intended to evangelize Asia about six years earlier, but was drawn away by the Spirit to minister to other areas (Acts 16:6). Now, he intended to sail to Syria with an offering for the poor at Jerusalem, but, after discovering a plot against his life, Paul began a tour of the churches he had planted in Europe and Asia Minor with messages of encouragement, comfort and warning. None of these things we have in Acts 20:4-38 would have occurred had Paul been able to leave for Syria from Corinth. Read the rest of this entry »
Luke doesn’t mention the collection Paul made for the poor at Jerusalem, but this is understandable, since Luke’s addressee is Theophilus, Annas’ son and former officiating high priest at Jerusalem, because the Annas family had been mistreating the poor, especially the priests. They had sent men to rob them of their tithes, which some depended upon for life itself. The time is cir. spring of 55 CE, and Paul planed to continue at Ephesus for awhile to preach the Gospel, but he sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia (Acts 19:22) to confirm the churches of Europe concerning his intention to bring an offering from them to Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry »
According to the opinion of some that I have read, Luke may not have been addressing Theophilus, (Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1) the high priest, but his son Matthias, the high priest. This claim is supported by showing Luke calls Joseph, son of Caiaphas, by the name of Caiaphas, thereby allowing Luke’s intended addressee to be Matthias, son of Theophilus. I admit this is intriguing, but Paul implies in his second epistle to the Corinthians that Luke’s Gospel was written sometime before Paul’s 3rd missionary journey (54-58 CE), or possibly even before Paul’s second missionary journey (51-54 CE). This would have been about a decade before the tenure of Matthias, son of Theophilus, as high priest. If so, there would be no reason to address Matthias as “most excellent” etc. Paul’s implication is made in 2Corinthians which he wrote from Macedonia near the end of his 3rd missionary journey and on his way to Corinth to take the offering from the gentile churches to the poor at Jerusalem. Read the rest of this entry »
As I mentioned in my previous blog, Paul had intended to collect an offering for the saints at Jerusalem, and, considering the times and the account of Josephus, the offering was most probably for those priests who were denied their tithes by the high priesthood there, particularly guilty was the high priesthood of the house of Annas (Sceva in Acts 19). Notice what Josephus says concerning Ananias (Annas in the Gospels):
“…he (Ananias) also had servants who were very wicked who joined themselves to the boldest sort of the people, and went to the thrashing-floors, and took away the tithes that belonged to the priests by violence, and did not refrain from beating such as would not give these tithes to them. So the other high priests acted in the like manner, as did those his servants, without anyone being able to prohibit them; so that [some of the] priests, that of old were wont to be supported with those tithes, died for want of food.” [JOSEPHUS: Antiquities of the Jews; book 20; chapter 9; paragraph 2] (parenthesis mine).
It was in this context that the offerings from the saints in Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia were taken. Remember, Luke addressed both his Gospel and Acts to Theophilus, son of Annas and a former high priest himself, in the context of a prophet exposing the sins of a family to whom he is sent (Ezekiel 33:7-9). Read the rest of this entry »
As I turn to the end of Paul’s third missionary journey, I find myself considering the riot that occurred in Ephesus just before Paul left for Macedonia. I had been writing about how Paul’s ministry affected the Jews or believers in God, but now I wish to consider how his ministry affected the world. Read the rest of this entry »
Some have suggested the school of Tyrannus was a private synagogue, but this seems unlikely in that the text seems to imply Paul reasoned in the only synagogue in Ephesus. Rather, it was probably a private school run by someone named Tyrannus, and Paul was granted or perhaps rented the use of it for the afternoon hours of each day. We have an ancient text that adds information to the end of Acts 19:9, saying that Paul taught there “from the fifth hour to the tenth” [manuscript D Syriac (Western text)]. This was probably something that was written in the margin of a manuscript and ended up in the text itself through a copy error. The point is, the information probably represents either an authentic tradition that those were the hours Paul used to teach there, or those were the hours schools of this kind were normally unused by the owner and could be rented out for other public purposes. Read the rest of this entry »
After Paul had come to Ephesus during his third missionary journey, he disputed with and persuaded both Jews and God-fearers in the local synagogue, concerning those things about Jesus and his crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 19:8; cp. Acts 17:2-3). It wasn’t until he had been doing this for three months that the unbelievers among the Jews began speaking evil of the way that Paul taught.
I find it interesting that in Paul’s day Gospel growth was hardly welcomed in the established systems for learning about God. It is quite odd when one thinks of it. Isn’t it? As I consider this idea, I am thinking to myself, has it changed over the centuries? Now I am certainly not against denominationalism. I attend a major denomination of Christendom myself and enjoy very much worshiping there. However, as I consider what Paul did in Ephesus, and was indeed his practice wherever he went, that once he preached Christ among those whose name indicated they trusted in the name of God and taught his way to the ignorant, Paul was forced to leave. Read the rest of this entry »
As Paul started out to his next mission field, he began the third journey as he did the second, by passing through Galatia encouraging and strengthening the churches there (Acts 18:22-23). Meanwhile, in Ephesus Aquila and Priscilla became acquainted with Apollos from Alexandria (Acts 18:24-25). He was a spirited and eloquent man preaching out of the Scriptures according to John’s baptism. They instructed Apollos concerning Jesus, showing it was he of whom John had spoken. After his stay in Ephesus, Apollos decided to go over to Achaia and encourage the brethren there, so Aquila and Priscilla sent letters along with him to exhort the Corinthian church to receive him (Acts 18:27-28).
About the time Apollos was in Corinth, Paul was already on his way to Ephesus from Galatia and encountered some of what was probably Apollos’ disciples who were following the baptism of John (Acts 19:1-3), being ignorant of the existence of the Holy Spirit, or the indwelling of God. Paul instructed them in the way of the Lord more perfectly, and they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke with tongues (Acts 19:4-7). Read the rest of this entry »