The Three Missionary Trips of Paul

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Throughout the book of Acts we read of a man who notoriously persecuted Christians; being present at Stephens death, however would become in a way one of the greatest of Christians. Luke captures the three mission trips of this great man in the book of Acts starting in the 13th chapter. In a recent conversation with a close friend of mine we spent a brief time dedicated to talking on missions. Both my friend and I have both been on short mission trips out of the country; when I brought up the idea that I might travel on and pursue another trip. He said to me "I think everybody has a heart for missions, but very few people dedicate themselves and actually devote themselves to doing it." After thinking about it, missions today is nothing compared to that of Paul's time. In order to plan a mission trip, Paul must have been extremely dedicated and must have had a passion for what he wanted to see done. Not saying that missions of today are an easy task, however what better way to try to understand Paul's dedication through studying his three mission journeys.

The first missionary trip of Paul took place in the area of AD 45-49. At this time Paul is abiding in the capital of the Roman province, Antioch. Antioch lays just over three hundred miles to the north of Jerusalem and is quite a large city at the time Paul resides there (Arnold 404). In the first century many Jews made their home in Antioch, and some of them along with many non-Jews became the founding fathers of a Christian church (or churches) there. The church in Antioch was started shortly after Stephen's death by men persecuted in Jerusalem (Elwell 239). Barnabus and then later Paul would assume the leadership of the Antioch church (Carson 226). After a season of prayer around AD 47 the Holy Ghost led Barnabas and Paul out on a preaching and church planting mission trip (Elwell 239). After the church of Antioch laid hands on Paul on Barnabas in prayer, they were sent off (Acts 13:3).

From the church of Antioch, Barnabas and Paul departed for the island of Cyprus (Acts 13: 4-12). Upon there arrival at Cyprus from Antioch they "preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews" (Acts 13:5). John Mark cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10) helped preach in Salamis, on the isle of Cyprus (Arnold 335). Barnabus was familiar with the land of Cyprus because this was his original homeland (Acts 4:36). The first bout of opposition came from a charlatan named Barjesus, a false prophet and sorcerer. Barjesus was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus (Arnold 336). The proconsul, a very intelligent man sent for Barnabas and Saul because he desired to hear the word of God (Elwell 239). Barjesus opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from his faith. Then Paul being full of the Holy Ghost said to Barjesus: "O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season." (Acts 13: 10-11). Immediately following these words a dark mist fell upon Barjesus and he groped about looking for someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what was happening, he believed for he was amazed at the teaching of God (Acts 13:12).

From Cyprus "Paul and his company" (Acts 13:13) sailed north to the mainland of Asia Minor, stopping at Perga in Pamphylia. Upon arrival to Perga John Mark returned to Jerusalem for unknown reasons (Elwell 240). Though losing John Mark, Paul and Barnabus continued on through Roman province of Galatia. The towns of Galatia that they taught at included Antioch (near Pisidia, not that of Syria), Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. In Galatia they had to deal with uncivilized heathens (Smith 490). Their message to the people focused on God's preparation for Christ's saving ministry through the Old Testament times and Jesus death and resurrection (Acts...
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