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Missionary travels of Saint Paul

            The journey of one of the most eloquent ambassadors for the cause of spreading the Gospel did not begin as one would expect of a missionary. Saul (the name of the apostle before conversion), was born into an affluent family of the Israelite tribe of Benjamin (Bible Study). The young Saul was then sent to the school of the Pharisees, under the mentorship of one of the greatest teachers of the Law at the time, Gamaliel (Bible Study). Gamaliel is described in Scriptures as one who was held in great esteem by the people as a teacher (Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church). Here Saul was taught by Gamaliel about the Law eventually becoming a Pharisee himself (Eternal Word Television Network).

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            His journey as a missionary began with his fanatical hatred of Christians carrying him to Damascus, accepting a commission to carry out the persecutions he so rabidly followed (Eternal Word). On this trip, Jesus appeared to the young Pharisee on the road to Damascus that blinded him temporarily (Saint Paul’s). This experience left him physically impaired, but with a new direction and life calling (Saint Paul’s). After his dramatic conversion by no less than the Lord Jesus Christ, he was made a number of the church of Damascus, the very church he set out to destroy (Saint Paul’s).

The First Missionary Journey (46-48 AD)

            In the Book of Acts, chapter 13, verse 1, the church is expanding its influence into Turkey (Seven Churches Network). The elders of the church in Antioch appointed Paul and Barnabas for the evangelistic ministry (Seven). In 47 AD, they set off in their missionary travels with John Mark, arriving at the port of Seleucia Piera (Seven). From here, the party set sail to the home of Barnabas at Salamis (Regal Travel Agency, 2005) in Cyprus (Seven). It is here at Paphos that some events of note are listed (Seven).

            Paphos was known as a place where the citizens practised loose morals (Regal). It is here that Saul first used his name Paul (Seven). The fact that Paul was a Roman citizen made the instances that he was known by both names was a tradition with the Jews at the time (Biola University). His change of names from Saul in the Hebrew to Paul in the Greco-Roman was helpful to the apostle as he carried out his missionary work (Biola ). His pedigree as a Pharisee earned him the respect of the Jews while his Roman citizenship made him well-respected among Gentiles (Biola ). The Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus, after meeting with Paul, accepted the faith and became a believer in the Way (Regal).

The Second Missionary Journey (49-52 AD)

            It was the desire of the apostle to revisit and reinvigorate the Galatian believers (Seven). Paul and Barnabas had separated after the latter insisted that they take along John Mark again on the journey (Seven). With his new companion Silas at hand, Paul travelled to Phrgyia and Galatia, all the way to Philippi in a cross continental trek across Europe (Eternal). Luke the physician had joined the group, and he chronicles the events in the Book of Acts (Eternal). Here in this stage of the journeys Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia urging Paul to come to them, giving directions to the group after the Holy Spirit on several occasions forbade them from going to other places (Seven).

            In Athens, the capital of Greece, Paul engaged in a debate with the Stoics and Epicureans while preaching at the Areopagus (Eternal). These individuals were attracted more by the idea that Paul was expounding to them rather than the message itself (Eternal). After his work in the area of Macedonia and Achaia, Paul, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila, left for Asia (Eternal). It is also here at Corinth that Paul began to write his first missionary letters (Eternal).

The Third Missionary Journey (52-56 AD)

            God had determined that Paul was to travel to Ephesus (Seven). After looking on the churches at Galatia and Phrgyia, the pair of Paul and Silas arrived at the city of Ephesus (Seven). Ephesus at the time was one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire, with an approximate population of 300,000 (Seven). It is also in this city where the worship of the goddess Diana was thriving (Eternal). In his preaching of the Gospel, the silver smiths that were making images of the goddess were making a protest against the preaching of the Gospel by Paul (Eternal).

The End for God’s Ambassador

            When he was arrested, Paul, by virtue of his Roman citizenship, appealed to the Roman Emperor, thus was sent to Rome (Eternal). The end of the Book of Acts picture Paul awaiting to be heard by the Emperor (Eternal). Here the picture of the apostle still about his Master’s work, teaching and evangelizing, faithful to the end (Saint Paul’s). Finally, Paul was executed, by the account of Pope St. Gregory the Great, on the banks of the Tiber, on the road going to Ostia, and was buries under the altar of St. Paul Outside the Walls (Saint Paul’s).

References

Bible Study. (n.d.). Timeline of apostle Paul’s life and missionary journey; from birth to Paul’s    first missionary journey. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from

            http://www.biblestudy.org/apostlepaul/timeline1.html

Biola University. (n.d.). Paul’s missionary journeys. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from

            http://unbound.biola.edu/acts/index.cfm?fuseaction=frames;lang=english

Eternal Word Televison Network. (n.d.). Saint Paul apostle to the Gentiles. Retrieved October   8, from

            http://www.ewtn.com/library/MARY/PAUL.HTM

Regal Tours. (2005). First Missionary journey of Paul. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from

            http://www.regalholiday.com/biblicalinfo1.html

Saint Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church. (n.d.). Saint Paul apostle to the nations. Retrieved            October 8, 2008, from

            http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/saintpaul.html

Seven Churches Network. (n.d.). First journey. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from

            http://sevenchurches.org/index.php?id=31

Seven Churches Network. (n.d.). Second journey. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from

            http://sevenchurches.org/index.php?id=30

Seven Churches Network. (n.d.). Third journey. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from

            http://sevenchurches.org/index.php?id=29

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