Paul’s 2nd journey begins in Acts 15:36. Paul is ready to go back and visit the churches they had just been to on their 1st missionary journey. But, there was problem. Barnabas wanted to bring his cousin Mark along. If you remember Mark had abandoned the first journey at Perga in the region of Pamphylia.. Paul did not think it would be wise to bring him along. Barnabas thought he was right and Paul thought he was right and neither would budge on their decision. Put yourself in their shoes for just a minute. Barnabas may have been thinking that Mark deserved a second chance to go all the way this time and that if he didn’t come along he might become even weaker in his faith. Paul was possible looking out at from the view that he didn’t want someone that had quite the work to come along and once again quite and run back home. He wanted someone he could rely upon and not have to baby sit on the crucial work that was being done for the word of God. Whatever the reason these 2 can’t come to an agreement so the separate from one another and go their separate ways. Barnabas takes his cousin and goes to Cyprus and Paul teams up with Silas. Their disagreement was not over doctrine but was over personal judgment. They did not let it distract them from spreading the gospel. Who was right or wrong we simply do not know. 15:40 may indicate that the brethren there may of thought that Paul was correct in his judgment because the church commended them but nothing is said about Barnabas and John. This separation did not affect the love and respect that Paul had for Barnabas because in 1Cor 9:6 Paul speaks of Barnabas being worthy of support as worker for the Lord. Paul speaks of Mark to the church of Colossae telling them if he comes to welcome him in Col 4:10 and Paul finds Mark useful in 2Tim 4:11. Sometime division may occur over personal judgment but let us be like Paul and Barnabas and not let it effect our work for the Lord and let always continue to love one another and keep pressing forward to the goal of winning souls to Christ. Even though we may differ in personal judgment lets always be united as one when it comes to doctrine.
Paul and Silas go through Cilicia strengthening the brethren. They come to Derbe than Lystra where they meet up with Timothy. Timothy joins the team and labors side by side with Paul. Paul does have Timothy circumcised not because it was a salvation issue but out of expediency so that this would not be a stumbling block to the Jews. Paul would do it what it took to further the gospel as long as what was done was not against the word of God. 1Cor 9:20-23. Paul did not have Titus circumcised because he was a Greek. Gal 2:3.
This is probably when Paul laid his hands on Timothy giving him a spiritual gift to be used in his ministry. 2Tim 1:6. Its is also probable that this is when the elders laid their hands on Timothy as well 1Tim 4:14 but not to impart a spiritual gift but to formally send him on his way on this mission trip just like the elders did back in Acts 13:3 with Paul and Barnabas as the began the First missionary journey.
The 3 of them make their way through the Galatia and Phygia region when they try to go to Asia the Roman province the Holy Spirit forbid them to go there and when they came to Mysia they were going to go to Bithynia but again the Holy Spirit forbid them to go there. Even thought Paul initiated this 2nd journey it was still being directed by the Holy Spirit. We do know that latter on that Bithynia and Asia haves the word preached to them from 1Pet 1:1. We do not know why they were forbidden at the time to go to these places but we can rest assure that God had a good reason. So they go on to Troas (the main seaport for NW Asia Minor) where Paul has a vision of Man in Macedonia asking for help. Luke joins up with them and they set sail to Samothrace a hilly island about 69 square miles. It was the home of a mystery cult which celebrated and worshiped false Gods. Services were at night and visitors were welcome. One can only wonder if these Paul and his crew may of observed what went on there that night. From there they go on to Neapolis. Then they go to Philippi. When the Sabbath day came along they went to the riverside where prayer was customarily made. This would indicate that their wasn’t many male Hebrews here and that there wasn’t a synagogue here which would take a lest 10 Hebrew men to constitute one. In situations like this the Jews had a custom to meet near a place of water. Here they meet Lydia and hears the word of God and accepts it. In fact her entire household accepted it and was baptized. She ask them to stay with her and they do.
Paul and Silias are praying and for several days a slave girl that was demoned possessed who was a fortune teller for her master kept on saying "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." Paul cast the demon out and the master of the slave girl get angry because his hope of prophet is gone. So they drag Paul and Silias to the Magistrates and they are stripped and beaten and thrown into jail. My favorite part of this story is the fact that these guys had been beaten and humiliated yet we find them singing their prayers unto God. The guard is asleep and an earthquake happens and only the doors and chains come open on the prisoners. The guard wakes up sees the doors opens and assumes the prisoners had escaped so he starts to commit sucide but Paul hollers at him not to kill himself. They teach the jailer and his household the word of God and they accept it and are baptized. The next day the magistrates try to send Paul and Silias away privately but Paul informs them that he was a Roman and they want them to come release them themselves. They had broken Roman Law by doing these things to Paul and Silias and so they come and beg them to leave. They go back to Lydia’s house and encourage the brethren there and depart for Thessalonica passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia. Luke remains in Philippi and its believed that he stays there for the next 5 years working with the church there. Now its unclear if Timothy stays with Paul and Silas at this time, we do know that he is with them in Berea latter.
Paul and Silas arrive at Thessalonica. Thessalonica was the 2nd largest city in Greece with an estimated population of 200,000. The city was named after “Thessalonica” the half-sister of Alexander the Great. Paul speaks to the Jew here for 3 consecutive Sabbath days in the Synagogue reasoning from the scriptures show that Jesus was Christ.
This is an effective way to teach others because Christianity is grounded in solid, provable history.
Paul persuaded both men and women with his teachings. But, some of the Jews were very jealous and they went and recruited some evil men from the market place and formed a mob to drag Paul and Sillas before the city rulers. They went to Jason’s house to get them but when the came up empty handed they drug Jason and some other brethren before the rulers for being harbors of Paul and Silas. Acts 17:6 They say this about Paul and Silas "These who have turned the world (Roman province Lk 2:1) upside down have come here too. They went on to accuse them of saying there was another king besides Ceasar. This really shook them up because if the city accepted such a thing the Romans would consider it Treason. Jesus is a king but not of this world. Jason has to pay a bound what most scholars believe would be him guaranteeing that Paul and Silas would no longer create a further disturbance there, or perhaps that they should even leave town. This may be what Paul alludes to as being a hindrance in 1Thes 2:18. The brethren send Paul and Silas by night to Berea. Somewhere during this time Timothy is with them when they get into Berea.
As usually Paul goes to the Synoguge and speaks. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. These Bereans here are such good examples.
Under the careful examination of the scriptures with an honest heart many believed the gospel that was spoke to them. We as Christians today need to be like the Bereans and not take what a man says and believe without searching the word of God to see if it so.
Those Jews from Thessalonica find out Paul is preaching the word at Berea and they come there and start stirring up the crowds once again and the brethren there take Paul to Athens but Timothy and Silias remain there presumable to assist the church there.
When Paul makes it to Athens he sends the brethren that accompanied him back to Berea to have Timothy and Silias join him there. Paul is deeply moved to preach the word to this city as saw it was overtaken by idols. One historian noted that there were more idols in Athens than in the rest of Greece combined. An early writer by the name of Pliney stated that during this time Athens had around 30,000 public idols, not counting those in private homes. The population of Athens is estimated at 10,000 this means that there were 3 times as many idols as people. Paul once again reasoned from the scriptures in the Synagogue and the market place daily. Paul encounters some philosophers that take him before a group of people so they can hear this new thing that he speaking of. The bible tells us that these men here were always wanting to hear something new. Paul start speaking to them and its interesting how he uses their idols to teach them about God. Notice how Paul doesn’t start out saying you people are all going to burn in hell if you don’t get rid of these idols. No, instead he tells them that he perceives that they are very religious and that he notice one of their statues that was inscribed TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. He used this as way to teach them about the one and true God. He taught them that God created all things and how powerful God was. He tells them that God now commands all men to repent. He tells them about the judgment day to come and how God will judge the world through Jesus Christ. When he told them that we were assured of this by Jesus being raised from the dead this is when many mocked him but others said they wanted to here him again on this matter. His teachings were not as successful here as in other places but he still converted some of the men and women here. Now at some point Timothy is Athens with Paul because we see in 1Thes 3:1-2 that Paul sends Timothy the Thessalonica to establish the church there. After this Paul goes to Corinth.
Corinth was important commercial center due to it location. It had an estimated 300,000 citizens, together with another 460,000 slaves. It was the capital of the province of Achaia (awk – I- e- ya) and was known for its wickedness. The expression “to corinthianize” was equivalent to being immoral. Corinth was the center of worship of the goddess Aphrodite, whose temple at one point had 1000 sacred prostitutes. When Paul gets to Corinth he starts making tents to support himself and he runs into Aquila and Pricilla who was also tent makers and he stays with them. Paul, as usually went into the synagogues and reasoned from the scriptures and converted many men and women. Paul and Silas meet up with Paul here in Corinth. Paul begans to preach to the Jews about Jesus again and they reject him. From this point backward Paul would teach the word to the Jews first then to the gentiles but now after this he would focus more on the gentiles acts 18:6.
Paul goes to a man house by the name of Justus. His house was next to the synagogue and Paul more than likely used his house as class room. Paul had much success here as he even converted the ruler of the Synagogue Crispus who Paul personally baptized. 1Cor 1:14 and his whole household was converted as well. In fact the bible tells us many of the Corinthians heard the word and believed and were baptized. Some seem to think that that so many people were becoming Christians that Paul may have been getting nervous and was afraid that the saints there might face persecution. But the lord comes to him in a vision 18:9-11. God word held true. Some Jews grabbed Paul and brought him before the judgment seat of the proconsul Gallio hoping for justice. They only were accusing him of violating the law of Moses and the Romans could care less about this. So as Paul was going to defend himself but the Gallio sent them away because he only interested in judging wrong doings or crimes not the Jews law. These men really wanted to beat on someone so they beat on the ruler of Synagogue Sosthenes. Its quite interesting that it may be possible that Sosthenes was led to the truth if it him that is mentioned in 1Cor 1:1. Another point here to bring out is that because of Gallio decision this opened the door for him to preach all over the Roman Empire. During this time there he writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Paul, Aquilla and Priscilla decide to sail back to Syria. They go through Cenchreae and sail to Ephesus
Ephesus was the most magnificent city is Asia Minor. It covered an area 5miles east and west and 3 mile north and south. It had a population of around 200,000. It was famous for its political, commercial, and religious institutions. It had a stupendous theater, public baths, a library and paved streets. Paul arrives there he goes straight to the Synagouge and reasoned with them from the scriptures. He must of made a good impression on them because they wanted him to stay but he graciously refused and he leaves Aquila and Priscilla there. Paul tells the Ephesians that he will return God willing. He sets sail and stops at Caesarea and then goes to Jerusalem and greets the church there and then goes to Antioch where he stays a while.