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St. Paul’s THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY. Difference to other missionary journey ….

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Difference to other missionary journey…

Paul’s third missionary journey was different from the first two.   On the first two journeys, Paul reached into new areas where he preached the gospel and planted churches. On the third journey, Paul visited no new areas, but went to strengthen believers in cities where he had already been


In Ephesus, the establishing of the Christian congregation in the city was largely done by the couple, Priscilla and Aquila. By the time Paul reaches the city on the third journey a thriving congregation was already in place. What remained, however, was an extensive evangelizing of the surrounding region around the city, which took place during the lengthy two plus year stay of the apostle there.



Acts 18:23 – 21:15

Length: 4 years ; 54 – 58 A.D.

Total miles traveled – Approximately 2,515+ miles

(1,190 by sea and 1,325 by land)


Paul spent some time, in Antioch be­fore launching out on the third trip. Now after the previous try to go directly westward to Ephesus, he is able to do this and arrives at Ephesus, the government center of the Roman province of Asia.

  • Although Luke does not record it, we know from Paul’s two letters to the church at Corinth that a trip from Ephesus directly to Corinth took place during this lengthy ministry at Ephesus. Additionally a total of four letters were written by Paul to the Corinthian church, the first two, and probably the third as well, from Ephesus. We have in our NT only the second and fourth of those letters.

The third missionary journey (ca. AD 52-57), Acts 18:23-21:16

  • Three main parts :
  • The Ephesus phase
  • The Macedonian and Corinth phase
  • Return trip to Jerusalem

Mostly from Paul’s writings in 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 we understand a major objec­tive for the third missionary journey: the gathering up of a massive financial offering from the Gentile churches to be given to the Christian leadership in Jerusalem for distribution among the Jewish Christian communities of the city and surrounding region.

This objective dictated that much of the trip be routed to already existing churches, and that the planting of new churches on this trip -- although it did happen some (Acts 19:10, 20) -- was a sec­ondary objective for this missionary journey.


- Ephesus with an estimated population of 400,000 to 500,000 inhabitants in the first century, it was an important trade and banking center for the very prosperous province of Asia during the first Christian century.

- Establishing a strong Christian community here would greatly enhance the spread of the Gospel throughout the entire province.

1 ministry of apollos acts 18 24 28

1. Ministry of Apollos, Acts 18:24-28

Apollos was a Jew.

“An eloquent man”

“Mighty in the Scriptures”

“Fervent in spirit”

Began to speak boldly in the


Paul would later write, “I have planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase.”

paul s ministry in ephesus acts 19 1 20 1
Paul’s Ministry in Ephesus Acts 19:1-20:1
  • The disciples of John the Baptist, Acts 19:1-7 : Twelve men who had known only the baptism of John were “re-baptized” Acts 19:1-7

Ministry locations in the city: Acts 19:8-10

  • He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.

When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

Acts 19: 9 -10


The best-preserved example of the lecture halls discovered in the Kom el-Dikka ancient academy complex..

Photo. M. Krawczyk (2004)


Note: the seven churches of Asia of Revelation 2 and 3 are all located in the general area of Paul’s work during his stay in Ephesus1. Ephesus2. Smyrna3. Pergamos4. Thyatira 5. Sardis6. Philadelphia7. Laodicea

miracles in ephesus acts 19 11 12
  • God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them.


        • The seven sons of Sceva Acts 19:11-12
  • Imitating Paul saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”
  • But the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
  • Guess what happened…?!?
The evil spirit was leaped on them and prevailed

They fled out of that house both naked and wounded. Acts 19:16

impact of gospel vv 17 20
Impact of Gospel: vv. 17-20
  • First, it created fear among the people
  • Second, this initial reaction of fear prompted them to magnify the name of the Lord Jesus.
  • Third, out of this awe over the name of Jesus came converts who made the ultimate expression of faith commitment to Jesus , so the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
  • Fourth, this open confession led in turn to one of the most amazing events described in Acts:
a book burning party

Scholars believe that the books gathered for burning at Ephesus may have resembled the Coptic magical texts that archaeologists have recovered in Egypt.


Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have gone there, I must also see Rome.” So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia.


Riot in the city, Acts 19:21-20:1

After spending some time in a city, opposition against him would explode into some kind of attempted violent reaction with the aim of getting rid of Paul.

- Demetrius, the silversmith maker or shrines of Diana caused an uproar.


The temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis was located in Ephesus, which was the center of worship for this deity in Asia

  • One of the larger pagan temples in the Roman empire
  • There is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.”

- When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

and the city was filled with confusion. and people rushed together to the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travel companions. Acts 19, 28-41

- that event triggers the apostle’s departure into Macedonia: 19:23-20:1.


Greece, Macedonia, Philippi : ACTS 20: 3-6

Paul stayed in Greece for 3 months.The Jew plotted against him so he departed.Paul third visit to Corinth from which he wrote Ephesians in the winter of 57 C.E and Romans in the Spring of 58 C.E




1. Initial Ministry

Essential point: established the church on the second missionary journey

Date: AD 50-51

Sources: Acts 18:1-17; 1 Thess. 3:6-13; 1 Cor. 2:1-5; 1:13-17; 2 Thess. 3:1-5; 1 Cor. 3:5-10; 11:2, 23, 15:1; 2 Cor. 11:7-9

2. Prior Letter

Essential point: written before 1 Corinthians, now lost; may be partially contained in 2 Cor. 6:14-71

Date: AD 52 (?)

Source: 1 Cor. 5:9

3. 1 Corinthians

Essential point: written from Ephesus while on third missionary journey to respond to questions from the household of Chloe (chaps 1-6) and the Corinthian delegation (chaps 7-16)

Date: AD 54-55 (spring time)


4. Painful Visit

Essential point: to try to correct ongoing problems in the church

Date: AD 55

Sources: 2 Cor. 2:1; 12:14; 13:1,2

5. Sorrowful Letter

Essential point: written from Ephesus after return from Corinth, possibly contained partially in 2 Cor. 10-13, but most likely lost

Date: AD 55

Sources: 2 Cor. 2:4; 7:8

6. 2 Corinthians

Essential point: written from Macedonia after leaving Ephesus on third missionary journey; prompted by joyous report from Titus regarding the relief offering etc.; possibly only containing chaps 1- 9, if 10-13 are a part of the ‘sorrowful letter’ (cf. #5)

Date: AD 56 (?)


7. Third Visit to Corinth

  • Essential point: mainly to collect the relief offering donation from the Corinthians
  • Date: AD 57
  • Sources: Acts 20:1-3

Over the time of the second and third missionary journeys the apostle Paul spent more time and effort with the Corinthian church than with any other congregation, even the church at Ephesus with his three year ministry to these folks. At least four letters were written to the Corinthian church by Paul, along with at least three visits to the city. Much of his efforts were focused on helping the church solve a wide range of spiritual and moral problems that plagued the congregation.


Why give so much of himself to this congregation? Paul’s answer comes in 2 Cor. 12:15:

  • “I will most gladly spend and be spent for you. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?”
  • His harsh condemnation of their sinfulness, as well as his excited joy over their positive accomplishments, came out of a heart of sacrificial love for the Corinthians.
paul s companions in corinth
Paul’s companions in Corinth:
  • Phoebe
  • Timothy
  • Lucius
  • Jason
  • Sosipater
  • Tertius
  • Erastus
  • Quatus
  • Stephanas
  • Achaicus
  • Fortunatas

Paul at Troas

ACTS 20: 6-12


The death and resurrection of EutychusActs 20:9-12

Eutychus fell down from the third floor as the apostle Paul preached on and on until midnight (Acts 20:6 - 10)


- At the end of that week long stay in Troas, Paul and those traveling with him met together with the believers in the city of Troas.

- Sitting on one of the window sills. probably for the fresh air was a young man. When Paul kept on talking well past midnight, Eutychus became very sleepy and dozed off while sitting in the window sill:. As Eutychus fell into deep sleep he unfortunately fell out the third story window, and it took his life

- Quite shockingly this interrupted the meeting so that Paul went down to the street to check on the young man But Paul went down, and bending over him took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.”

Amazingly this only momentarily interrupted the meeting, rather than stopped it: Once it was clear that Eutychus was okay, Paul then went back upstairs to the gathering place in order to continue the meeting.


An insula (apartment house) dating from the early 2nd century A.D. in the Roman port town of Ostia Antica


Paul in Miletus--Acts 20:13-38

Meeting with the Ephesian elders


Farewell to Ephesian leaders in Miletus, Acts 20:17-38

In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed.

There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38 grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship

this is paul s third visit to caesarea since becoming a christian

Caesarea: Act s 21: 8-15

This is Paul’s third visit to Caesarea since becoming a Christian


- (Act 21:8)

Visited Philip the evangelist and his four daghters.

One of the seven chosen in Jerusalem


Toward the end of that visit, a new person arrives in Caesarea from Judea: a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.

He came to us and took Paul’s belt, bound his own feet and hands with it, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.


When we heard this, we and the people there urged him not to go up to Jerusalem.Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”Since he would not be persuaded, we remained silent except to say, “The Lord’s will be done.”


Acts 21: 16-17

  • When we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren receives us gladly.

Acts 21: 18- 25 … he related one by one the things that God has done among the Gentiles through his ministry.


Acts 21: 26

  • … Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself with them…

Acts 21: 27-30

  • … they seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple and at once the gates were shut.