Sunday, September 30, 2018


The Jews Plot to Murder Paul

Having failed in their efforts to kill Paul by mob attack and trial before the tribune, a group of 40 Jews took an oath to kill him by ambush. The would not eat or drink until Paul was dead. This is how much they hated Paul and how much they hated the gospel.
Paul’s nephew heard about the plot, however. (Here we learn one of the few facts about Paul’s family: he had a sister and a nephew.) The nephew told Paul, then the tribune about it. The tribune instructed the nephew to keep quiet about informing the him, then made plans to move Paul and keep him safe.

Paul Goes to Felix

The tribune took the threat seriously. He sent 470 men to move Paul: 200 soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen. The soldiers took Paul by night to the city of Antipatris, about half way to Caesarea, where Felix ruled as governor. Paul spent the night there. The soldiers then returned to Jerusalem and the horsemen took Paul on to Caesarea. (31-32)

The horsemen delivered Paul to Felix with a letter from the tribune. (33) The letter absolved Paul of any crimes. But the tribune did send the Jews to Felix for another trial. Felix agreed to hear the case and had Paul confined in the praetorium. The praetorian was the governor’s mansion built by Herod. It also contained quarters to confine citizens who awaited trial.

The praetorian is being excavated today. You can see how it was built with a view of the ocean.

The Jews State Their Case

The Jews chose a man named Tertullus to make their case. Since this name is Roman, the man was likely a lawyer hired by the High Priest to present the case. He accused Paul of stirring up riots all over the world as the ringleader of the Nazarenes. He also accused him of attempting profane the temple.

Paul’s Defense

Paul denied that he disputed with anyone or stirred up trouble. He, in fact, believed everything the Jews did. (15) (Of course, he believed more than they did.) Not only that, but he brought alms to give to his people and to make offerings.

Then Paul turned the tables, accusing the Jews from Asia, who conveniently had not come before Felix, of stirring up trouble.

Paul In Custody

Felix put off making a decision until the tribune made it to Caesarea. Paul was kept in prison, but given some liberty and allowed to have friends contribute to his needs. (23) Since there were believers in Caesarea, including Philip and his family, it is likely Paul did have visitors.

Interestingly, Luke records that Felix had accurate knowledge of the Way. (22) He and his wife, who was Jewish, had Paul speak to them about faith in Christ. (24) So Paul spoke to them, including talk about the coming judgment. (25) Talk of the judgment alarmed Felix and he sent Paul away. (25)
So we see that Felix heard the gospel and experienced fear of judgment, but did not believe unto salvation. His carnal nature was in play also, as he hoped to get a bribe from Paul. (26) Paul ended up staying in prison for 2 years. When Felix was removed from his position, he left Paul in prison to do the Jews a favor, maybe at the request of his Jewish wife. The next governor was Festus.
The Jews Press Their Case
Time did not lesson the desire of the Jews for Paul’s death. When Festus visited Jerusalem, they presented their case to him. They asked that Paul be brought to Jerusalem because they intended to ambush and kill him. Festus kept Paul at Caesarea, though, and invited the Jews come go there and present their charges against Paul.

Paul Before Festus

Festus began a new trial. Likely, he could do this because Felix never rendered a verdict. The Jews made their case, but could not prove anything against Paul. Paul presented his case of innocence.
Festus tried to use Paul for political advantage while not going so far as to violate Roman law. He could not force Paul to submit to a trial in Jerusalem, but he could offer it to gain favor with the Jews. (9)

Paul was too smart for that, knowing that they plotted to ambush and kill him. He appealed to Caesar to deprive Festus of further jurisdiction to act. (11) Festus was evidently not happy about that, for he conferred with his council before ruling. But he could find no way out, so he agreed that Paul would go to Caesar. (12)

“Caesar” at this point is Nero, the Emperor, who reigned from 54-68.

Agrippa Comes to Town

Agrippa II was a king, but not of this region. He is sometimes referred to Herod Agrippa II because he was a descendant of Herod the Great. He was actually the last Herodian king.

Agrippa did not have jurisdiction, but came at the request of Festus to help sort out the Jewish issues. He as a Hellenistic Jew.

He came to Caesarea with his sister Bernice. Festus presented Paul’s case to Agrippa. He cast it as a theological dispute that he was unable to investigate. All of this interested Agrippa and arrangements were made for Paul to stand before Agrippa the next day. (22)

The next day, amid much ceremony, Festus presented Paul to to Agrippa, stating that he found nothing worthy of death in Paul’s behavior and that Paul had appealed to Caesar. And, so, Paul was able to make his defense.

The Lord continued to direct Paul's steps to accomplish his will that Paul testify before the Roman leaders, including the Emperor Nero. Although the Lord protected Paul, it was not without suffering on Paul's part. Although he appears to have been treated fairly well, he was confined in various prisons. He lived under the threat of assassination. His ethnic people turned against him.

Yet, Paul did not waver. He stood strong in the faith, using every opportunity to witness to the Lord Jesus. His eyes were on Christ, not his circumstances. He was faithful.

May we all seek to imitate his faithfulness. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

If the gospel is true, none of us comes to the table with rights. The only way in is flat on your face. If I want to hold on to my fundamental right to self-determination, I must reject the message of Jesus, because he calls me to submit completely to him: to deny myself and take up my cross and follow him (Luke 9:23).

Rebecca McLaughlin

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The right question to ask about finding God's will according to Jen Wilkin.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Paul in Jerusalem
The tribune, or commander, was surprised when Paul spoke Greek to him. He thought Paul was an Egyptian Jew that had led a revolt that was put down by Felix the governor. So, it was a good thing Paul spoke to him. His ability to speak Greek and his status as a Roman citizen got him the privilege to speak to the crowd.
It is interesting that Paul wanted to speak to the crowd. Most people in this situation would be happy to be taken away from the crowd and put in a safe place. But Paul always wanted to share the gospel. He believed, as Peter would later write, that believers are “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you”. (1 Peter 3:15)
Paul also had a burden for his own people, the Jews. He wanted them to come to Christ. He wrote “Bothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved”. (Romans 10:1) And he knew they would not believe unless someone preached to them. (Romans 10:14-15) Having no regard for his safety, or even his life, he wanted to share the gospel with them, hoping they might be saved.
The tribune granted permission and Paul spoke to the crowd in their language. “Hebrew language” here probably means the language of the Hebrews, as opposed to Hebrew itself. The language of the average Jews was Aramaic, so Paul likely spoke that. We see how educated Paul is here. He spoke Greek and Aramaic, but also likely spoke and wrote Hebrew, since he was an Old Testament scholar and the scriptures were written in Hebrew.
Paul addressed the crowd with the same words Stephen used to address the Sanhedrin: “brothers and fathers”. (Acts 7:2)

Paul’s testimony
Paul did not go into a theological discussion with the Jews. Instead, he gave his testimony. He told them the story of his conversion. While every believer should work to be able to explain the gospel theologically, it is also true that giving your testimony is an effective way to communicate.
The theme of Paul’s testimony is: I have been a good Jew and then I met the Lord. So, he told them he was born a Jew but raised right there in Jerusalem, the spiritual home of Judaism. He had a first rate theological education, studying with Gamaliel. He was a revered teacher and a member of the Sanhedrin. Paul was trained as a Pharisee, observing the strict manner of the law. Paul was born a Jew, raised in the center of Judaism, and educated by the leading teacher of the Pharisees. His preparation to be a Jewish leader was impeccable.
Not only was Paul raised and trained as the ultimate Jew, helped as one. His proof of that is is persecution of “this Way”, of Christianity. It was this role as persecutor that brought him to Damascus. (5)
It was on the way to Damascus that things changed, Paul encountered Jesus in a bright light. Most of this story has been told by Luke previously in Acts 9. Jesus told the blinded Paul to go into Damascus to be told all that “is appointed for you to do”. (10) Jesus had plans for Paul.
Ananias restored Paul’s vision and told him God appointed Paul to do 4 things:
to know his will;
to see the Righteous One (Jesus);
to hear his voice; and
to witness for him to everyone of what he saw and heard. (15)
Two new facts are given us that are not related in Acts 9. The first new fact that we have here is that Paul was evidently baptized. Ananias urged Paul to call on Jesus’ name and be baptized. (16)  The implication is that Paul did those things.
The second new fact is that, when Paul returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, he had a vision of Jesus telling him to leave Jerusalem quickly because they will not accept his testimony. (17) The parallel to Isaiah is notable.

Isaiah had a vision of the Lord in the temple also. He saw the Lord, he heard his voice, and he was appointed to go and preach to the people. (Isaiah 6) He was also told that his people, the Jews, would not listen to him.

Paul protested to Jesus, saying the Jews knew how he persecuted Christians and observed the stoning of Stephen with approval. (20) But Jesus insisted he go and speak to the Gentiles.

The Angry Crowd
At this point, the crowd erupted. Preaching to the Gentiles was the last straw for them. They again called for his death. The shouted, threw off their cloaks and flung dust in the air. It must have been quite a sight. The tribune had to bring Paul back into the barracks.

Paul and the Tribune

The Tribune was still not sure what was goin on, so he took Paul into the barracks, intending to question him by flogging. In other words, he intended to beat the truth out of him. (24) But, Paul asserted his citizenship again. And again we see a centurion cast in a good light, for he went to the Tribune to caution him against being a Roman citizen who had not been to trial. You can see how important Roman citizenship was because the Tribune was afraid.

We will see that Paul’s claim to citizenship and his rights of trial will define what happens to him.

We also see that the sovereign God appoints us to certain work and he will make sure we are at the right place and time. It is our job to faithfully serve him wherever he takes us, whether we expected to be there or not. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018


Paul Goes To Jerusalem

Paul in Tyre

Chapter 20 ended with Paul leaving the Ephesian elders in Miletus. He sailed from there to the island of Cos, then to the city and island of Rhodes, and to Patara. There they changed ships and sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to Tyre. Tyre was under the governance of Syria at the time, so Luke said they sailed to Syria. (3)  Today it is the 4th largest city in Lebanon.

While the ship’s cargo was unloaded, Paul and his companions found some disciples. (4) Christianity had spread there, likely as a result of the persecution that occurred after the death of Stephen, when many Jewish Christians left Jerusalem. We know also that Jesus spent some time in the area. (Matthew 15) They stayed with them for 7 days.

Luke wrote: “through the Spirit they were telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem”. (4) What does this mean? It cannot mean that the Spirit was telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem, for Paul previously stated that he was constrained (bound) by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. (20:22) It seems, then, that the Spirit, through local prophets, continued to tell them and Paul that he would be arrested in Jerusalem, as prophets in other cities had done. Because of this, those in Tyre thought Paul should not go. But Paul believed the Spirit wanted him to go even though he would be arrested. As Jesus did, He set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51)

At the end of the 7 days, the disciples walked Paul back to the ship. In a poignant scene, they all knelt on the beach and prayed together before saying good bye. Paul and his companions then got back on the ship and sailed to Ptolemais.

Paul in Caesarea

From Tyre, Paul sailed to Ptolemais. This is the Old Testament city fo Acco. It is known by that name today, though it is spelled often as Akko. He stayed there one day to visit with the disciples. Then it was on to Caesarea. In Caesarea, Paul stayed with Philip the evangelist. This is not Philip the apostle, but Philip who was one of the seven elected to assist the apostles. (6:1-7)

Philip went from delivering food to widows to mission work. He evangelized the Ethiopian Eunuch, then was taken by the Spirit to Azotus on the coast, and evangelized all the way up to Caesarea. (8:40)  Evidently he stayed there. He lived there with 4 daughters who prophesied.

Paul encountered another prophet also. His name was Agabus. He arrived there from Judea. He acted out the binding of Paul and repeated the message that the Holy Spirit had been giving, that the Jews in Jerusalem would arrest Paul and deliver him to the Gentiles (Romans). (11) This set off another wave of protesting by Paul’s friends, who did not want him to go. (12)

Paul remained committed to going, but the protests and crying had an effect. He said it broke his heart. (13) Finally, the friends said “let the will of the Lord be done”. (14)

At the end of this stay, Paul and his companions went to Jerusalem. Some from Caesaria went with him and brought him to the house of an early disciple, who let them stay there. (16)

With The Believers In Jerusalem

The believers in Jerusalem were happy to see Paul. (17) Paul then went to see James and the elders of the church at Jerusalem. (18) Notice that no apostles are mentioned. They must have all left Jerusalem to go to other countries and evangelize, following the example of Peter.

Paul told them all the great things the Lord had done among the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry. They all glorified God for this. (20) Since Paul’s companions were Gentile converts, the elders could see a representation of this. Additionally, though Luke does not record it here, the Gentiles had brought a gift of money to the Jerusalem believers, who were suffering in poverty.

The elders were concerned, however, because the could see a conflict between the Jewish believers and Paul. The Jewish believers were still zealous for the law. (20)  They believed Jesus was the Messiah, but still practiced the Old Testament law. Furthermore, they had heard tat Paul had told the Jews in other countries to abandon the law. (21) And Paul had, indeed, told believers they were free from the law. His letter to the Galatians affirms that.

As a remedy they advised taking 4 men who had made a vow and to purify himself along with them as well as paying their expenses to shave their heads. (23) This is the Old Testament Nazarite vow. They could not drink, touch dead bodies, or cut their hair. So, they often shaved their heads first to show they were under the vow. At the end of the vow, they offered a sacrifice.(Numbers 6:1-21) This was a demonstration that they had set themselves apart to the Lord.

Paul was not taking the Nazarite vow, but had to purify himself from his contact with Gentiles. So, he purified himself along with them. This was all to show the Jews that Paul lived in observance to the law so the Jews would not be angry with him. (24) Paul did it, but it turned out to be pointless.

The elders reiterated their earlier instruction to the Gentiles to assure Paul and the others that they had not gone back on that.

Paul’s Arrest

Once the Jews from Asia, in town for Pentecost, saw Paul, they stirred up the crowd and grabbed Paul as they had done in the cities of Asia. (27) These were likely Jews from Ephesus. They accused him of teaching against the law and the temple. They even accused him of taking Greeks into the temple and defiling it. (28) Gentiles could go no further than the court of the Gentiles, the large outer court.

There was even a sign at the gate to the next courtyard telling them they could not enter on pain of death. Two of those signs have been found. A picture of one of them is below.

Paul had not taken Greeks into the temple. But the Jews had seen him with a man from Ephesus, whom they likely recognized as a Greek, and assumed Paul had brought him into the temple. They priests even shut the gates. They crowd dragged Paul out of the temple and sought to kill him, evidently by beating him to death.

The Romans heard of the riot. The tribune of the Roman cohort came with solders and centurions. (32) A cohort is 1,000 soldiers. They would have been quartered in the Tower of Antonia (named in honor of Mark Antony) which was next to the temple.

The Jews stopped beating him when they saw the soldiers. The tribune arrested Paul, presumably for disturbing the peace. He brought Paul into the barracks for his protection and so the tribune could question him.(35)

Ironically, the crowd yelled out “away with him”. (36) This was the same cry of the crowd demanding the death of Jesus, not far from the same spot, about 27 years before. (Luke 23:18)

The efforts of the elders to avoid conflict were useless. In fact, it was not Jewish believers who were the issue, it was non-believing Jews who knew of Paul and opposed his teaching about Jesus. Jesus plainly told the disciples this would be an problem.

Jesus said “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:18)

Christians should expect persecution. They should be faithful like Paul, willing to face persecution when the Spirit says to do so. Above all, the believer should faithfully affirm Jesus as Lord regardless of the opposition.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


Speech to the Ephesian Elders

Paul Sent For the Elders

Miletus was not far from Ephesus (30 miles), so Paul called the elders to come to him so that he could speak to them, knowing he would not likely return to them. He had spent three years with them, so he had developed deep relationships. He wanted once last word to encourage and prepare them for the future without him.

Paul’s Ministry To Them

Paul first reminded them of how he served them. He served with humility. (19) He did not act important or entitled. He acted as a servant, both of the Lord, and of the church.

He served with perseverance in trials, not watering down the gospel or changing it to please his detractors. He preached a message of repentance and faith in Christ. (21) It was the same message Jesus preached: “repent and believe in the gospel”. (Mark 1:15)

The word for us here is that we do not change the message of God’s word for anyone or any reason. We do not change to prevent suffering or persecution. We do not change the gospel to please those who think we are ignorant. We do not even change the gospel to please those in our own church who come up with new ideas. We hold firm to the Word, knowing “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”. (Romans 1:16)

Paul Looked Ahead

Paul set his mind to go to Jerusalem. (22) He was “constrained” by the Holy Spirit to do so. “Constrained” means to bind. Paul strongly believed the Holy Spirit was directing him to go to Jerusalem and he must obey. He did not know the outcome, but would obey nonetheless. What he did sense was the Holy Spirit telling him he would suffer imprisonment and affliction (23) He may have had a direct revelation of this or he may have heard this from prophets he met along the way. We will see an example of such a prophet in chapter 21.

Although Paul believed he would face unpleasant things, he was not concerned about that. He said he did not even value his life as precious. (24) He was concerned instead with finishing his course, preaching the gospel everywhere the Lord led him. It is the picture of a race that Paul wants to finish, running strong. In Romans 15:30, which Paul wrote from Corinth before he left on this trip to Jerusalem, Paul asked the Roman Christians to pray for his deliverance from the unbelievers in Judea. He knew it was likely the Jews in Jerusalem would come after him.

Paul said the Ephesian elders would never see him again. (25) He knew he would either go to prison in Jerusalem or he would travel on to Rome and then Spain as he desired. Either way, he would not be back to Ephesus and Asia.

But Paul was leaving with a clear conscience that he had declared to them the whole counsel of God. (27) Therefore, he was innocent of their blood. Since he had proclaimed the gospel to them, they were responsible for believing and persevering.

Paul’s Charge to the Elders

Having laid the groundwork of showing them they had what they needed to continue in the faith, Paul warned the elders to pay careful attention to themselves and the flock. First, an elder cannot take care of anyone if he does not take care of his own spiritual life. He must continue in the Word. He must be faithful in prayer. He must pay attention to his spiritual condition, not taking it for granted.

He must also pay attention to the flock. He is an overseer or shepherd of the flock that the Holy Spirit has given him. He must watch. He must know what is going on both spiritually and theologically.

Paul also charged the elders to look after the flock, to care for the church. He has used the metaphor Jesus so often used, that of believers as a flock of sheep. The elders are shepherds. They take care of the sheep entrusted to them by the Holy spirit.

There will be attacks from outside the flock. Paul called them fierce wolves. (29) Wolves were natural enemies of sheep, hunting them to kill them. It was the job of the shepherd to keep the wolves away from the sheep. In the church, this is done by teaching sound doctrine so that the sheep recognize false doctrine. It is done by pointing out the attackers. For example, an elder may need to keep someone from speaking to the church if he realizes the speaker preaches heresy. The elder should be aware of and point out ideas in the culture that are not compatible with Christianity.

In Ephesus, the elders had to resist the attacks of the Jews who tried to impose the law upon the believers. They would face those who attacked Paul and the message he had preached. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, written later from prison, defends his calling and ministry to them. (Ephesians 2) They would face those who said believers could live the same way the pagans did, something Paul also refuted in his letter. (Ephesians 4:17)

Even more concerning, Paul said the elders would face attacks from inside the church, as men arose twisting the gospel to draw away the disciples. (30) That happens constantly in our time, as men and women seek to become popular or wealthy, perverting the gospel to achieve their own ends. Peter would later write:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.” 2 Peter 2:1-3)
If you want to see this, just turn on your television. You will hear lots of weird stuff that has no basis in the Bible.

Elders again must know the Word well enough to spot heresy and confront it. Innocent but ignorant members must be taught and counseled. Those who knowingly seek to to mislead the block must be admonished and, if they do not repent, removed from the fellowship.

Therefore, the elders must be alert. (31) They must pay attention to what is going on in the fellowship and in the culture. Paul commended them to God and his word. That is where strength and stability reside. Elders must rely on God and stand firm on his Word. His word would build them up and empower them to persevere to the end, receiving their inheritance along with other saints. It is true for us also and for our elders. The word builds us up, makes us strong in the faith and resistant to false teachers.

Paul also set an example for them in not desiring money. He worked to support himself and even supported others. Paul extolled (praised) hard work and helping the weak who cannot work. He related that Jesus said it was more blessed to give than receive. We do not have those words written down in the gospels, so Paul must have heard that from the apostles who were with Jesus during his earthly ministry.

The Long Goodby

Paul ended the visit with prayer. You can tell how much the elders loved Paul. They hugged him and kissed him. They wept in sorrow of not seeing him again. They walked him to his ship.

Isn’t this moving! Paul poured himself into the Ephesians for three years. He preached and taught. He endured opposition from the Jews. He worked at his trade, but still worked to preach the gospel. And the Ephesians loved him for it. They understood his love and devotion for Jesus and for them, and they reciprocated, loving and appreciating him.

This is the way it should be.

Sunday, September 02, 2018


Paul’s Plans

Paul left Ephesus and sail to Macedonia (northern Greece) and Achaia (southern Greece), where Corinth was. From there, he planned to return to Jerusalem, and then go to Rome as a stop on the way to Spain.

We know from Romans 15:24 that Paul wanted to visit Spain after Rome. Spain was the western outpost of the Roman Empire.

Luke does not mention it here, but we know from other scriptures that Paul was going to Jerusalem with representatives from the gentile churches to present a gift of money for the poor in Jerusalem.

While Paul stayed a while in Ephesus, he sent Timothy and Erastus to Greece. Although Luke does not mention it here, Paul sent them with a letter to the church in Corinth. We know the letter as the Biblical book of 1st Corinthians. (1 Corinthians 16:10)

The Riot

Things turned bad for Paul at this point. The silver smiths, led by man named Demetrius, protested the loss of business for those who made silver statues of the goddess Artemis. They also did not like preaching which did not recognize the status of the goddess, who was widely worshipped in Asia at the time.

The temple to Artemis was located in Ephesus. It was considered one of the seven wonders of the world. It was four times the size of the Parthenon in Athens. It had 127 pillars, each 60 feet high.

The silversmiths made little silver niches containing a miniature sculpture of the goddess. They were dedicated in the temple and the silversmiths believed their guild was protected and blessed by Artemis.

As the silversmiths rioted, they grabbed two of Paul’s companions, Gaius and Aristarchus, and took them to the theater. (29) This theater was dug into a mountain and was large enough to hold 25 thousand people.

The other disciples restrained Paul from going into the crowd. The local leaders, referred to here as Asiarchs also urged him not to confront the crowd. Alexander, a local Jew, tried to make a defense but was shouted down. Apparently, even thought the crowed rioted, many were unsure of the reason why or who the enemy was. There seemed to be an anti-semitic attitude as well.

Finally, the town clerk got the crowd to quiet. The Romans would hold him responsible for the riot.He talked them into stopping the riot, arguing that Artemis was too great to be denied and that the men they seized had done nothing wrong. He warned them they could be arrested for rioting, something the Romans did not like at all. So they left.

After this riot, Paul encouraged the local disciples and left for Macedonia. (20:1)

So, we see through these passages that the gospel continued to spread. The Lord worked powerfully to establish Ephesus as a major center for the gentile church. God raised up other people besides Paul: Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos, Timothy and others. Faithful men and women witnessed to the truth of the gospel of Jesus and brought others to belief and salvation. May we do likewise.

The Last Trip To Greece

Paul left Ephesus after the riot and returned to Macedonia, the northern part of what is now Greece. He worked his way south into Greece, encouraging churches along the way. He ended up Greece for three months. This was probably in Corinth. He probably stayed through the worst of winter, when sailing was much more dangerous. (3)

Luke does not record this, but there is a theory that Paul went to Troas before going to Macedonia. Paul had heard of difficulties in the church at Corinth. He wrote them a forceful letter. We do not have that letter. It would have come between 1 and 2nd Corinthians. Paul’s letter evidently caused some pain in Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 2:3-4, Paul wrote “And I wrote as I did so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who hold have made me rejoice…For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love the I have for you”.

Worried about the reaction of the church in Corinth, Paul sent Titus from Ephesus to Corinth. He hoped to find Titus in Troas when he got there, bearing some news of the church. But, Titus was not there. So, Paul traveled to Macedonia overland, hoping to meet Titus on the road. (2 Corinthians 2:12) Paul met Titus in Macedonia. Titus brought good news to Paul that the Corinthians still loved him. And so Paul was willing to travel on the Corinth.

Paul stayed in Macedonia for some time, although Luke did not tell us how long. Romans 15:19 indicates that, at some point, Paul went north Illyricum, a province north of Macedonia. It may have been at this time. This would mean he took the Egnatian Way west to its end at Durres on the Adriatic Sea, then turned north to Illyricum. He ended up in Greece for three months (3). This was probably in Corinth.

In Corinth, Paul wrote his letter to the Romans. He wanted to prepare them for his visit, which he hoped to make after going to Jerusalem and on his way to Spain. (Romans 1:9; 15:22-29) This was 57 A.D. He stayed with a man named Gaius. (Romans 16:23) This is probably not the same Gaius Paul met in Derbe.

While in Corinth, delegates from the churches in Macedonia came to Corinth with money collected for Paul to deliver to the church in Jerusalem. Luke does not mention this. But this is likely why Paul wrote greetings to the Romans from “all the churches of Christ”. (Romans 16:16. All the churches of Macedonia and Greece were represented by delegates gathered in Corinth with Paul.

Paul intended to sail from Corinth to Syria, to return to Antioch, but found out there was a Jewish plot against him. (3) The plot must have been to trap him at the harbor, for Paul went north to Macedonia instead. He picked up a lot of friends to travel with him, some from Macedonia and some from Asia.(4) The companions sailed for Troas in Asia. Paul and Luke went to Philippi before sailing to Troas. They all met there in Troas and stayed for seven days.


At Troas, the church met. This is the first reference to the church meeting on the first day of the week (Sunday). They met at night since many were workers or slaves who could not get away during the day.

They ate a meal together, likely including the Lord’s Supper, then Paul preached until midnight. He planned to leave the next day, so he had a lot to say to them.

Eutychus was sitting in the window, possibly to get some air in a room filled with smoke from many lamps. He fell asleep and fell out of the window from the third floor and died. Paul raised him from the dead. He then continued preaching until  dawn, then left.

Traveling Toward Jerusalem

Paul sent Luke and his other companions by ship to Assos. They were sailing south down the coastline of Asia (Turkey). Paul went overland, met them there, and took the ship further down the coast to Mitylene on the island Lesbos.

They passed Chios without stopping. They also passed Ephesus because Paul did not want to be stopped there for a long time. He had many there who would want to hear him since he ministered there a long time. Instead, he wanted to hurry to Jerusalem and try to reach it before Pentecost. So, he sailed on down the last to the island of Samos and then to Miletus. He sent for the Ephesian elders to meet him there.

At this point, Paul had finished the first part of his mission, bringing the gospel to Europe and Asia. The second part of his mission will involve imprisonment. In our next lesson, we will look at Paul’s speech to the Ephesian elders, which will show us that Paul expected bad things to happen to him.

Yet, Paul was faithful and desired to finish the course the Lord had set for him. May we all be that faithful in our service to our Lord and Savior.