Paul revisits new churches

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The Apostle Paul, after leaving Ephesus in the early winter of 57 A.D., continues his third missionary journey. His plan is to revisit the Macedonian churches he started during his second journey such as those in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. He also greatly desires to pay a second visit to the church at Corinth (Acts 19:21, 20:1).

Although Luke, in the book of Acts, offers only the briefest information about this period of the apostle's ministry (Acts 20:1 - 3), Paul letters do supply some additional details. He certainly visited Alexandria Troas on his way from Ephesus to Macedonia. In all probability he traveled from the one city to the other by sea, as we know he did on his second journey. Indeed, in countries in such a stage of civilization, the safest and most expeditious route from one point of the coast to another is generally by water rather than by land.

We are not informed who were Apostle Paul's companions on this journey. We find, however, that Tychicus and Trophimus (both Ephesians) were with him at Corinth (Acts 20:4) during the same apostolic progress, and returned thence in his company. It seems probable that they accompanied him at his departure from Ephesus. We find both of them remaining faithful to Paul through all the calamities which followed, both exerting themselves in his service, and executing his orders to the last. They are mentioned as his friends and followers, and are mentioned with his dying breath (see 2Timothy 4:12, 20).

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In such company, Apostle Paul came to Alexandria Troas. He sailed, therefore, once more from Troas to Macedonia and, landing at Neapolis, proceeded immediately to Philippi.


Sailing Boats near a Village
Sailing Boats near a Village

We might have supposed that the warmth of affection with which he was doubtless welcomed by his converts in Philippi would have soothed the spirit of the Apostle, and restored his serenity. For, of all his converts, the Philippians seem to have been the most free from fault, and the most attached to himself. In the Epistle which he wrote to them, we find no censure, and much praise. So zealous was their love for Apostle Paul that they alone (of all the churches which he founded) forced him from the very beginning to accept their contributions for his support.

Twice, while Paul was at Thessalonica, immediately after their own conversion, they had sent relief to him. Again they did the same while he was at Corinth, working for his daily bread in the same profession as Aquila. And we shall find them afterwards cheering his Roman prison by similar proofs of their loving remembrance (Philippians 4:16). We might suppose from this that they were a wealthy Church, yet such a supposition is contradicted by the words of Apostle Paul, who tells us that the church was rather poor (2Corinthians 8:1 - 3).

In fact, the church at Philippi had been exposed to very severe persecution from the first (Philippians 1:29). What they gave, therefore, was not out of their abundance, but out of their poverty. They did not grasp tenaciously at the wealth which was slipping from their hands, but they seemed eager to get rid of what still remained. Such were the zealous and loving friends who now embraced their father in the faith.

Apostle Paul continued to prosecute the labors of an evangelist in the regions to the north of Greece. He was unwilling as yet to visit the Corinthian Church a second time (having visited it the first time during his second journey), the disaffected members of which still caused him so much anxiety, and he would doubtless gladly employ this period of delay to accomplish any plans he might have formed. It seems on this journey he was also able to penetrate into the mountains of the northwest interior, and preach the gospel to those in the Roman province of Dalamatia (Illyricum, see Romans 15:19).

The time soon came when he determined to revisit that Church which had caused him so much affliction not unmixed with joy. During the course of his stay at Ephesus, and in all parts of his subsequent journey in Troas and Macedonia, his heart had been continually at Corinth. He would now have his chance to visit them again.

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