Paul's Missionary Journeys
(Acts 13 & 14)
Bible Study of Acts - Lesson 12
Welcome to Lesson 12 in your Bible Study of Acts. In this lesson we look at the first of Paul's missionary journeys.
As you know, in the history of the early church (and in Acts), Paul became the principal character in evangelizing the Mediterranean world, particularly the Gentile populations.
Paul traveled extensively throughout his career. The Book of Acts records three separate missionary excursions: one to Galatia, one to Europe and Greece and a third to the city of Ephesus.
Paul's Missionary Journeys Mark An Important Juncture
mention at the outset that this is an important juncture in the Book of Acts:
1. The gospel is moving into
completely Gentile populations – Prior to this, the gospel was preached primarily
to Jews, Samaritans (near-Jews) and God-fearers (Cornelius) who sympathized
2. From Chapter 13 forward, Luke is
more interested in narrating how churches are planted than in how different
groups were converted as before.
3. Luke dedicates the rest of his
book to the Gentile mission in some form or fashion. From Chapters 13-20, he is writing about Paul
and his mission. From Chapter 21-28, he
is writing about Paul’s trials and trip to Rome.
We will briefly summarize the first of Paul's missionary journeys here in this study. In later studies we will slow down to study the individual narratives in Acts 13 and 14.
Read Acts 13:1-3
- What details does Luke provide
about the church in Antioch? Describe
the process by which the church sent out its first missionaries? Who are the people and what roles do they
have in the church? What exactly did
they do prior to and in sending out the first missionaries?
- How exactly did the Holy Spirit
tell the church, “set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have
- Are there “prophets and
teachers” in your church today? Why or why not and how exactly do you know when
someone is gifted in this way?
- Is the process described in Acts
13:1-3 more or less the way your church sends out missionary candidates? Should it be?
Why or why not? How should a
church send out its missionaries today?
First of Paul’s Missionary Journeys by City
- Look at the map of the ancient
world (above) and trace the path of Paul’s first missionary journey in Chapters 13 and
14: Starting with Antioch, Paul went to Seleucia, then Cyprus => Salamis => Paphos => Perga (in Pamphyla) =>
Pisidian Antioch => Iconium => Lycaonia=> Lystra =>
Lystra => Iconium =>
Antioch of Pisidia => Pisidia and Pamphyla => Antioch.
- What happened to Paul at Paphos (describe very briefly)
- What happened to Paul at Lystra? (describe very briefly)
region through which Paul traveled on his first journey is considered the
region of Galacia. This is the same
region where Paul first directed one of his first letters.
letter to the Galatians was the first serious doctrinal challenge that Paul
faced. There, certain Jewish Christians
wanted the Gentile Christians to conform to the law of Moses as part of their
Christian faith. Paul denounced this
requirement as a false gospel saying, the righteous shall live by faith.
Read Acts 14:21-23, 15:36, 41; 18:23
- Compare the locations of these
passages with the locations of previous stops in the first of Paul's missionary journeys (Acts 13 and 14). What is happening in these passages?
- What is Paul primarily doing
here with the churches he has planted?
- How does this relate to Jesus’
final commisson to his followers to “make disciples”? Is it possible to make disciples by only sharing
the gospel and planting a church? How should these verses impact our church
planting and mission sending strategies as a church body?
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