Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Apostle Paul's 3rd Missionary Journey & the Fourth to Rome

The third journey (Acts 18:23-21:17) took about 6 years (A.D. 53-58).

The fourth journey to Rome (Acts 27-28) was due his appeal to Festus to see Caesar (AD 60/61).
(Acts 25:12 After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!")
Interestingly, if he had not appealed, he would have been set free. (Acts 26:32 Agrippa said to Festus, "This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.")

In our human interpretation, we heave a sigh of frustration as we follow the story that Apostle Paul could have been set free there and then. But God has a different purpose than ours. He (Paul) needs to go to Rome!

Third Missionary Journey

Fourth Journey to Rome

Another interesting point to note it that Paul always had travelling companions with him.
First journey: Barnabas, John, Mark
Second journey: Silas, Timothy, Priscilla and Aquila, Luke
Third Journey: Timothy, Luke, and other disciples
Fourth journey to Rome: Luke, Roman guards and others
It shows the necessity of us not walking alone in our journey of faith. In other words, we need each other for encouragement.

Do you have any idea the distance Apostle Paul travelled? Here's an approximation:

First journey 1,400 miles (2,250 km)
Second journey 2,800 miles (4,500 km)
Third journey 2,700 miles (4,340 km)
Fourth journey to Rome 2,250 (3,620 km)
Approximately with a total of 9,150 miles (14,700 km)

Our North-South Expressway (NSE) is about 1000 km in distance. So Apostle Paul would have traverse from Johor Baru to Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah, back and forth about fifteen times! By then, the Roman Empire had such good road system that it facilitated the evangelism of the Gospel throughout the Empire. As the saying goes "All roads lead to Rome" played an important part in the spreading of the Gospel. There was also a common language of Greek that can be used throughout the travels. God knew this and He timed it such!

By the way, this does not include his other journeys:

Macedonia to Illyricum: 1 Timothy 1:3
Troas and Miletus: 2 Timothy 4:13, 20
Crete: Titus 1:5
Mission to Spain: circa AD 63-66: Romans 15:28
Nicopolis: Titus 3:12

Back to Rome and martyrdom: 2 Timothy 1; death June 29, AD 67

As we come to the end of Acts, we see God's hands in the evangelism of the known world then. This is our rich Christian heritage, that from the lives of faithful men and women, we are where we are today: Our names are written in the Book of Life!

Hebrews 12:1-3
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

We are surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses, which includes those walking in the times of Acts. They are watching us. Let's run with the same perseverance!


  1. Oh no, I am not hungry for God's word. But thanks for asking.

  2. wa...Pastor Chris...this post is so cool and informative!

  3. This is some good information. Thanks!

  4. Very interesting with some nice stats. I didn't realise that's how far Paul travelled on his missionary journeys.

  5. Good article, and nice points about Paul's travelling companions.