What Are Some Important Facts Regarding Paul’s Second Missionary Journey?
The biblical book of Acts can be read like an exciting travelogue. As part of his second missionary voyage, Paul went around the eastern part of the Mediterranean. From Jerusalem, he went north via Syria, west into Turkey, and finally southwest to Greece. In the end, he returned home by way of the coasts of Greece and Turkey.
When Did the Apostle Paul Make His Second Missionary Attempt?
A first missionary voyage by the Apostle Paul occurred around the year 47 or 48 AD. Then, about 49–52 AD, he set out on his second missionary voyage. The second missionary voyage is detailed in Acts 15:36–18:22.
While doing so, he went back to some of the churches he had spoken at before. It’s important to follow up with new believers to make sure they’re being taught correctly. While he was constantly preaching, he was also searching for new converts. During this missionary voyage, the faith of many Churches was strengthened, and the Church itself grew by the day. The Apostle Paul authored 1 and 2 Thessalonians during his stay in Corinth.
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey: Some Background Information
Paul and Barnabas split up at the outset of this new missionary tour. John Mark was taken to Cyprus by Barnabas. In order to complete his voyage across the eastern Mediterranean, Paul brought Silas along. Finally, in Syria and Cilicia, Paul found and began mentoring young Timothy. The believers in Lystra and Iconium were instructed to imitate the apostles’ actions in Jerusalem.
At first, Paul and Silas planned to travel to Asia, but they weren’t sure if God was calling them to do so. At that point, Paul had a vision of a person in Greece who needed assistance, so they set sail for that country. In between Samothrace and Neapolis and Philippi, they made a pit stop. Lydia, a native of Thyatira, was one of the people they encountered, and they subsequently converted her entire family.
They came across a slave girl who was under the influence of a demonic spirit. The girl kept calling out to them and wouldn’t stop. At last, they invoked Jesus’ name and commanded the demon to leave her body. It did! Her lord took offense to this and began making negative statements against the work of the Apostle Paul and his companions. This lord had them incarcerated in the prison’s deepest dungeon, where they were forced to stand on iron cleats. But neither Paul nor Silas gave up their resolve. Despite being incarcerated, they did not stop worshiping their God with song. And somewhere close to midnight, the prison was shaken by an earthquake. The prison doors burst open like a fly! The links in their chains had broken. The jailer awoke to find that all of his inmates had fled and was about to commit suicide out of shame when he heard Paul call out to him. The warden couldn’t believe that he hadn’t lost any of his inmates. He concluded that there must be a powerful God behind the unbelievable event and sought advice from Paul and Silas on how to enter God’s kingdom. They persuaded him to put his faith in Jesus Christ, and he and his family promptly requested baptism. By daybreak, Paul and Silas had been formally released.
They kept on their way and stopped in at Amphipolis, Apollonia, and Thessalonica. During his time in Thessalonica, Paul went to a Jewish synagogue and argued with the congregants by quoting from the Bible. He elucidated the Scriptures and declared categorically that the Messiah they await must die and be resurrected. The rabbi sought to convince them that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Paul spoke to audiences of both Jewish and Greek listeners, and some of them were won over. The good times, though, weren’t uninterrupted. Jealous Jews who didn’t get Paul’s message tried to track him and his companion Silas down. They were unable to track them down, but they did learn that Paul had been at Jason’s house, so they went there and reported Jason and his pals to Caesar’s soldiers. However, other citizens of that city spoke out on their behalf, and Jason was eventually set free.
Paul and Silas then traveled to Berea, where they were welcomed by a receptive audience. These believers were committed to the truth of God’s Word, so they investigated Paul’s claims thoroughly to confirm their accuracy. As a result of these people’s commitment, many more Jews and Greeks accepted Christianity. More believers means more people to keep preaching the good news.
However, there were other Jews who didn’t agree with Paul’s message and so they accompanied him all the way to Athens. They went back to Berea to recruit Silas and Timothy for the mission with Paul.
The Apostle Paul was much distressed by the abundance of idols he encountered at Athens. Plenty of arguments might be made, too. The Epicurean and Stoic thinkers who lived there relished a good philosophical debate. Despite Paul’s best efforts, most of his listeners failed to grasp the significance of Jesus’s resurrection.
Paul made some attempts to clarify the situation for them in a way they could grasp. The Athenians built numerous temples and altars across the city. Noting that one of them read “To an Unknown God,” Paul explained that this was the God he was talking about. The Supreme Being who fashioned the universe and all its components. Each and every living creature depends on him for sustenance. He can supply any and all requirements. His ultimate goal was that everyone would come to recognize Him as their ultimate source of fulfillment. This same God, however, is also a just God who has made repentance for sins a condition of salvation for His people. For the truth is that there is no such thing as a sinless man.
When they heard this, some of them laughed it off in disbelief, while others stated they wanted to hear more later and eventually joined Paul as believers. Gospel preaching can only be effective if it is given to receptive hearts. Patience and time are required.
Afterward, Paul went to Corinth, where he reunited with Silas and Timothy and met Aquila and his wife, Priscilla. Paul kept on preaching the Word, and if he ran across opposition, he would shake it off and move on to the next audience. Paul witnessed an increasing number of individuals accepting Christ and following his example by being baptized.
As Paul was sleeping one night, the Lord appeared to him again. In His infinite wisdom, God assured his people, “Be not afraid! Do not be silent. It’s time to speak up! In light of the fact that many residents of this city are My followers, you need not worry about being attacked and harmed. As a result, Paul continued to teach and preach in Corinth for another 15 months. Eventually, Paul and Priscilla and Aquila left to return to their homes in the port of Caesarea and Jerusalem.
To What End Does This Missionary Trip Serve?
- Maintain hope and trusting in your God even when it seems like your circumstances couldn’t be worse, like when Paul and Silas were sent into prison for no apparent reason. If you have faith, a miracle could appear before your eyes. The earthquake that freed Paul and Silas from jail was miraculous, but the transformation of the prison guard’s heart was much more amazing.
- The power of the gospel is in the cross and resurrection, so learn to preach it simply and clearly.
- Follow the example of the faithful of Berea. Verify the claims being made for you by searching the Bible to ensure they are true. Never assume that what you hear at a church is the gospel truth.
- Keep in mind that many people will scoff and even laugh at you if you speak about the gospel and God’s methods. You shouldn’t let their naiveté bother you. Just brush it off your feet and keep on talking about the God you know so well and praying to him. For the simple reason that not everyone will be a skeptic and others will choose to have faith.
- Visualize Jesus as He said to Paul, “Don’t be scared! Do not be silent. It’s time to speak up! In light of the fact that many residents of this city are My followers, you need not worry about being attacked and harmed. This is a daily affirmation from God to His people, so take heart.
- Read 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians as Paul’s personal letters of encouragement to you.
The Final Stop on Paul’s Second Missionary Tour
On his second missionary journey, Paul reconnected with old acquaintances, made new disciples, preached to thousands of people, encountered resistance from some, and saw miracles. God was present in every interaction. Not unlike from the Christian life we lead now. When we interact with others, Jesus is still at the center. With His assistance, you can tell others about Him.
Despite suffering hardship and opposition, Paul made it his life’s mission to carry out Jesus’ great commission. He persevered on his journey, secure in the knowledge that he was following the True Path that leads to Eternal Life. In the same way, you can.
While with his disciples, Jesus announced, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. To this end, I command you to evangelize the world and baptize people of all races into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Raise up a new group of followers and instruct them to follow my every instruction. Know that I am with you always, right up until the end of the age. NIV Version of Matthew 28:18-20