Scripture, Acts 13:1-14:28
+Preparation.+ -- First, on the part of Paul. About ten years have passed since his conversion. During this time we have few notices of him, but he was undoubtedly making ready for this very important work of a missionary. Second, on the part of the church. The first step had already been taken, in the conversion of Cornelius, in the giving of the gospel to the Gentile world. Third, Paul was brought to Antioch by Barnabas to assist the church in the great revival which broke out in that second early center of Christian work and teaching (Acts 11:21-26). Fourth, the large success of the disciples who went throughout Judea and Samaria, preaching the gospel, after the death of Stephen (Acts 7:5-8:4; 11:19-21) made possible this new aggressive movement to the regions beyond. Fifth, the Christian prophets and teachers at Antioch "ministered to the Lord and fasted." They desired to know the will of the Lord and it was made known to them by the Holy Ghost. "And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." "So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia (Acts 13:3, 4).
+Companions of the Journey+, Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2) and John Mark (Acts 13:5). Barnabas has been called the discoverer of Saul. He was probably a convert of the day of Pentecost. He was a land proprietor of the island of Cyprus and early showed his zeal for Christ by selling his land and devoting the proceeds to the cause in which he so heartily believed (Acts 4:36, 37). He early sought out and manifested, in a very practical way, his friendship for Paul (Acts 9:27; 11:22, 25, 30; 12:25). John Mark, who started on this journey with Barnabas and Saul, was a nephew of Barnabas (Acts 13:5, 13; 12:25; Col.4:10).
+Paul Comes to the Front+ when his company leave Paphos and ever after he has the first place (Acts 13: 13). Here also he is called Paul for the first time, a name which he retains.
+Extent and Time+ -- This was the shortest of the three journeys (about 1,400 miles). It extended over the island of Cyprus and a part of Asia Minor. In time it occupied about three years, 47-50 A.D.
+Rulers+ -- Claudius was the emperor of Rome, since 41 A.D. Herod Agrippa was king of Chalcis, Ananias was high priest in Jerusalem.
NOTE. -- The cities, which Paul visited in this and the other journeys, should be located upon the map by the student. It will greatly increase the interest to consult some good Bible dictionary and get well acquainted also with the history of the places.
+Salamis+, on the island of Cyprus, was the first place reached, after sailing from Seleucia (Acts 13:4, 5) the sea-port of Antioch. It was the natural thing to go first to this island as it had been the home of Barnabas and many Jews had settled there; it was about eighty miles to the southwest of Seleucia.
+Paphos.+ -- After passing through the island from east to west the missionaries came to Paphos. This city was the seat of the worship of Venus, the goddess of love. This worship was carried on with the most degrading of immoralities.
The chief incidents in the ministry here were the smiting of the Jewish sorcerer, Elymas, with blindness for his persistent opposition and the conversion of the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:6-12). Saul is filled with an unusual power of the Spirit for his work in this city and takes the name of Paul. It is now no longer Barnabas and Saul, but Paul and Barnabas.
+Perga in Pamphylia+ -- (Acts 13:13, 14). The missionaries take ship from Paphos and sail in a north-easterly direction across the Mediterranean Sea to this city of Asia Minor. John Mark, doubtless appalled by the difficulties which had already been experienced and now that the journey seemed to promise still greater hardships, left the company and returned to Jerusalem.
+Antioch in Pisidia+ (Acts 13:14-52) was about ninety miles directly north of Perga. It was a good-sized city with a large Jewish population. Luke's account of this visit is notable in that we have the chief points in Paul's speech in the synagogue set down. This address is worth study from the fact that it is the first sermon of Paul of which we have any record, and is probably the usual way in which he began his work in a great many Jewish synagogues. Paul is asked to speak to the assembled Jews. He begins upon the common ground of the history of Israel. He declares the promise of a Savior. This Savior is to be of the seed of David. Then Paul sets forth that Jesus is the promised Savior. He reminds them of the testimony of John and of those who had seen Jesus before and after His resurrection. He declares unto them the glad tidings of a Savior. He warns them of their peril in rejecting Jesus Christ. Paul is invited to speak upon the next Sabbath, but there is a division and those who oppose Paul try to drive him out of their city which they finally succeed in doing. But the Word has fallen into good soil and there is the beginning of a Christian church.
+Iconium in Lycaonia+ (Acts 14:1-5) is over one hundred miles distant from Antioch. The missionaries were now in a country of a people with strange ways. They remained here for some time and their ministry was attested by "signs and wonders." But againIt should be borne in mind, however, that while the question of the relation of the Gentile Christians to the law of Moses was decided at this council, it was one which came up again and again to hamper and bother Paul in his missionary work.
What is to be considered in the introduction to the three missionary journeys? By whom was the call to this work? What is the significance of the journeys? The extent and time? What can be said of the record? Were there other long journeys by Paul? What was the method of work and support? What was the message? The first journey; what was the preparation for it? Who the companions? Time and extent? Rulers? Give some of the incidents that took place upon the Itinerary, at Salamis, Paphos, Perga, Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe? What can be said of the return journey? Why was the Jerusalem Council necessary, and what was decided by it?