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Why Foreign Missions? 19. The Pauline Missions According to Acts

Why Foreign Missions? 19. The Pauline Missions According to Acts

Luke presents the mission of the Church beyond Israel largely through journeys of Paul and his companions. The Gentile mission is anticipated from the beginning of Acts, as Jesus declares that his disciples will be witnesses from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the ends of the earth (Acts 1.8; thus fulfilling Is. 59.6). This Gentile mission starts with the diaspora Jews visiting on Pentecost, who take the Gospel back to their home regions (Acts 2.5-11).  It continues as the Gospel is taken to Samaritans (Acts 8.5, 25), to an Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8.27ff), and to a Roman Centurion's family (Acts 10.1ff).  This study, however, presents the data from Acts for the Pauline missions and offers some external data that helps us to ascertain the dates for these missions.


     Antioch to Seleucia to Cyprus (13.4-6) (from Salamis to Paphos)
     Paphos to Perga in Pamphylia to Pisidian Antioch (13.13f; Mark quits the mission,
     Pisidian Antioch to Iconium (13.51).  Considerable time (14.3)
     Iconium-Lycaonian cities of Lystra to Derbe (14.6, 20)
     Derbe to Lystra to Iconium to Antioch (14.21)
     Pisidia to Pamphylia (Perga) to Attalia (14.25)
     Attalia to Antioch (14.26) Stayed at Antioch a long time


     Antioch-Phoenicia-Samaria-Jerusalem (15.3)
     Jerusalem-Antioch (15.30, 35)

     From Antioch through Syria to Cilicia (15.41)
     To Derbe, Lystra, Iconium (16.1f)
     Throughout Phrygia and Galatia (not Asia Mysia or Bithynia) to Troas (to
          Macedonia) (16.6-10)
     Troas to Samothrace to Neapolis to Philippi (16.11f) several days
     Philippi through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica (17.1)
3 Sabbaths (17.2)
     Thessalonica-Beroea (17.10)
     Beroea-Coast-Athens (17.14f)
     Athens to Corinth (18.1) Aquila and Priscilla recently expelled from Rome (18.2)
                  Paul stays one year and six months (18.11)
                Gallio proconsul of Achaia (18.12)
     Corinth-Syria (18.18)
Corinth to Cenchrea (18.18) to Ephesus (18.19) to Caesarea (18.22) to Antioch (18.22); some time in Antioch

     Antioch throughout Galatia and Phrygia (18.23)
     Road through interior to Ephesus
          While Apollos is at Corinth (19.1), Paul 3 months in Ephesian synagogues (19.8)
          2 years discipling in lecture halls of Tyrannus (19.10)
     Ephesus through Macedonia and Achaia to Jerusalem (19.21)
               Plans to go to Rome after trip (19.21)
          Ephesus-Macedonia (20.1)
          Through Macedonia to Greece (20.2f), 3 month stay
          Greece-Macedonia (20.3)
          Philippi-Troas (20.6)        After Unleavened Bread, 5 day journey, stay of 7 days.
          Troas-Assos (on foot) to Mitylene (by ship) (20.13f)
          Mitylene (one day)-Chios
               (one day)-Samos (one day)-Miletus (20.15)
               Paul in hurry to get to Jerusalem by Pentecost (20.16)
          Miletus to Cos (one day) to Rhodes to Patara (21.1)
          Patara-Phoenicia (on a new ship) (21.2)
               Route:  Patara-south of Cyprus-Syria
          Tyre (21.3)                        7 days
          Tyre-Ptolemais (21.7)       1 day
          Ptolemais-Caesarea (21.8) a number of days
          Caesarea-Jerusalem (21.15)


Day 1  Reception (21.17)
Day 2  Meeting with James (21.18)
Days 3-10  7 Day Purification nearly completed (arrest) (21.26f)  Commander
Claudius Lysias
     Day 1 (after arrest)  Sanhedrin (22.30)
     Day 2  Revelation of testimony in Rome (23.11)
     Day 3  Jerusalem to Caesarea (23.12, 23)
     Day 4  Paul’s hearing set in Caesarea (24.31-33)
     Day 9  Ananias states case against Paul (24.1)
                 "12 days ago I went to Jerusalem" (24.11)
                  Governor  Felix--governor "for many years" (24.10)
     Several days later Paul’s 2nd hearing with wife Drusilla (24.24)
     2 years later change of governor to Festus (24.27)
     Day 3 of Festus’ rule: Festus goes to Jerusalem (25.1)
     Day 11-13  Festus goes to Caesarea (25.6)  "8-10 days later"
     A few days later Agrippa and Bernice visit for several days (25.13f)
     (Next day after explaining Paul’s case) Paul speaks (25.23ff)


     Adramyttium-Sidon (one day by ship) (27.3)
     Sidon, under lee of Cyprus, past Cilicia and Pamphilia, to Myra in Lycia (27.4f)
     Myra (new ship) to off Cnidus (several days) to under lee of Crete off Salmone
(27.7f) (a number of days as the wind was against them)
          Fair Havens near Lasea (27.8) "a long time" (27.9)
          Day of Atonement already past (27.9)
     Along Crete toward Phoenicia (Crete) for winter (27.12)
          Storm; blown to lee of island Cauda (27.16)
          Driven along by wind (hoping to avoid sandbanks off coast of Syrtis) (27.17)
          Next day:  Cargo overboard (27.18)
          Next day:  Ship’s equipment overboard (27.19)
          Many days (27.20)
          14th night:  driven in Adriatic Sea (27.27)
          15th night:  shipwreck at Malta (27.39; 28.1)
                    Chief Official at Malta: Publius (28.7)
                    3 months on Malta (28.11)

     Malta-Syracuse (3 days) (28.12f) to Rhegium (28.13)
Next day:  Rhegium-Puteoli (2 days) (28.13) 1 week (28.14)
     Puteoli-Rome via Forum of Appius and Three Taverns (28.15)

          Day One:  Arrival
          3 days later:  meeting with Jewish leaders (28.17)
          2 yrs. in rented home preaching (28.30)
     Externally Ascertainable Dates for a Pauline Chronology

I.  Edict of Claudius (Acts 18.2)
     A.  References:
         1.  Suetonius, Life of Claudius 25
         2.  Dio Cassius 60.6.6
         37  Orosius (5th c. Church Historian, History 7.6.5)
     B.  Conclusions:
         The evidence of Acts and the dating of Orosius would place this edict Jan. 25,
                49-Jan. 24, 50.

II.  Gallio Proconsulship (Acts 18.12)
     Archaeology: Gallio Inscription
     Gallio was evidently in Corinth between July 1st,  51 and July 1st,  52.  Paul was in Corinth at this time
and stayed there a total of 1 and 1/2 years.

III.  Egyptian Rebel and 4,000 Zealots (Acts 21.38)
     A.  Josephus, Ant. 20.158ff
     This happened before Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem, under Felix, after Claudius’ death. 
     B.  Paul’s arrest must have happened after 55.

IV.  Paul’s Hearing Before Felix and Festus (Acts 24.10,  27; 25.1)
     A.  References:
         1.  Tacitus, Ann. 12.54
         2.  Josephus, Bell. 2.232ff; Ant. 20.182.
     B.  Felix took office 52/53.  Festus replaced him probably in the summer of 59 or 60.

V.  Encounter with Ananias (Acts 23.1-5; 24.1)
     A.  Josephus, Ant. 20.125-133, 179.
     B.  Ananias was appointed high priest in A.D. 47.  His appointment was questioned
                in 52, but he probably continued in office until 59.

VI.  Dates for other rulers:
     A.  The Herodians
         Herod the Great      37 BC - 4 BC
         Herod Antipas        4 BC - AD 39               (Mk. 6.14ff; 8.15; Lk. 3.1; 13.31; 23.6ff)
         Philip (Mk. 8.27)    4 BC - AD 34
         Herod Agrippa I      AD 37-44
               (Acts 12)
         Agrippa II           53-100 (?)
               (Acts 25.13ff)
     C.  Emperors (dates of rule, always ending by their deaths)
         Augustus         27 BC - AD 14
         Tiberius         14-37
         Gaius Caligula   37-41
         Claudius         41-54
         Nero            54-68

VII.  King Aretas (2 Cor. 11.32)
     A.  Josephus, Ant. 16.294
     B.  Ruled Nabataean Kingdom 9 BC - AD 38-40.  When was he likely to have ruled
Damascus?  Tiberius’ policy discouraged client kingdoms in favor of provinces (e.g., Syria), whereas Caligula favored client kingdoms.  Thus it is likely that Aretas ruled Damascus only during Caligula’s rule.
     C.  So Paul’s conversion must have happened between 37-40.


     +Jewett, Robert.  A Chronology of Paul's Life.  Philadelphia:  Fortress Press, 1979.
     +LΓΌdemann, Gerd.  Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, I:  Studies in Chronology.  Trans. F. Stanley
                Jones.  Philadelphia:  Fortress Press, 1984.