Short church visits

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During his third missionary journey, which he began in 53 A.D., the Apostle Paul was able to visit the church in Corinth and the surrounding area a second time. After visiting for a period of three months (Acts 20:2 - 3), he desired to leave the area and sail to Syria in order to reach Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 20:16). This route was thwarted, however, when he discovered some Jews had hatched a plan to either arrest or kill him just before he sailed off (verse 3).

Paul had good reason to fear the Jews, especially in the area around Corinth. His teachings when he first visited Corinth, during his second missionary journey, split the local synagogue (see Acts 18) and formed the seed of a new church. The Jews, no doubt angered at their loss, had Paul arraigned before Gallio. His aquittal added more fuel to their irritation with him and the progress of Christianity. Paul wisely decided to retrace his steps and make the long journey back through the various churches his started north of the Aegean.

Paul paid a quick revisit to churches in Berea, Thessalonica and Philippi on his way back to Asia. The companions on this leg of his journey were Sopater, a native of Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus, both of Thessalonica, with Gaius of Derbe and Timothy, and two Christians from the province of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus (Acts 20:4).

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From the order in which Paul's companions are mentioned, and the notice of the specific places (churches) to which they belonged, we should be inclined to conjecture that they maybe had something to do with the collections which had been made at the various towns on the route. As Luke does not mention the collection, we cannot expect to be able to ascertain all the facts.

Since Apostle Paul, however, left Corinth sooner than was intended, it seems likely that all the arrangements regarding the collection were not complete (see 1Corinthians 16:1). It seems Sopater was charged with the responsibility of gathering the funds from the Berean church, while Aristarchus and Secundus took charge of those from Thessalonica. Luke himself was at Philippi, and the remaining people in the party were connected with the interior or the coast of Asia Minor.

The journey through Macedonia had been rapid, and the visits to the other churches had been short. The whole of this company, however, did not cross together from Europe to Asia.

It seems Luke stayed to serve the church in Philippi during the Days of Unleavened Bread (Acts 20:6) and then travelled to Troas. Paul, however, continued traveling and was in Troas during the Days of Unleavened Bread (DUB). How do we know this for sure?

The King James Bible and other translations errorneously render the Greek in the first part of Acts 20:7 as "the first day of the week." An accurate translation of the Greek however, shown below, shows that the phrase in question should be rendered "the first day of the weeks." This is important because "the first day of the weeks" is a reference to the Biblical Wave Sheaf Day (Leviticus 23:10 - 11, 15 - 16) which begins the count of days to when Pentecost should be kept each year.

Now on the first day of the weeks, when the disciples had assembled to break bread (eat a meal), Paul preached to them; and because he was going to leave in the morning, he continued speaking until midnight (Acts 20:7, HBFV).

The Wave Sheaf Day in 58 A.D. began at sunset after the weekly Biblical Sabbath (which ends at sunset Saturday) that is within the Days of Unleavened Bread had ended. This meant that Paul's message began at sunset on the Saturday that occurred within the DUB. His talk to the church continued until midnight (Acts 20:7).

Unbeknownest to Paul, an accident during his message before the church in Troas would lead to one of the rarest and greatest miracles recorded in Scripture!

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