Thursday, May 28, 2009

Apostle Paul's First Missionary Journey (Acts 13-14)

One of the good thing about journalling is that we often take note of what is not so obvious, something we can miss if we tend to take only the 'popular verses'. In this first missionary of Paul and Barnabas, note Acts 13:2 .... "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work".

Then in verse 9: "Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit,...", we saw a switching of names. It is customary to have a given name, in this case Saul (Hebrew, Jewish background), and a later name, Paul (Roman, Hellenistic background). From then on Saul is called Paul in Acts. The order in which they are mentioned now changes from "Barnabas and Saul" to "Paul and Barnabas." This may be due to the fact that they are now entering the Gentile phase of his ministry. Interestingly, upon their return to the Jerusalam church, the order reverts to "Barnabas and Paul" (Acts 15:12). See how deliberate and intentional every word is in the Bible.

Then in this first missionary journey, see the map enclosed, we see the land route of Attalia - Pisidian Antioch - Iconium - Lystra - Derbe. In your reading, you would notice there were many conversions and persecutions as well. In Acts 14:20 in Lystra we note: "But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe."

Did you know that young Timothy may have been present in the crowd? We know from Acts 16:1 that he's from Lystra. We read in 2 Tim 3:10-11:
You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.

Now you know!

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