1. Home
  2. Bible Characters
  3. Paul
  4. Paul Part 12 – Second Missionary Journey

Paul Part 12 – Second Missionary Journey


Paul and Silas now began what is termed Paul’s 2d Missionary Journey. Traveling overland (see Paul’s First Missionary Tour), they called upon the churches in Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:40, 41).

nd 15:40  but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.

Hnd 15:41  And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Doubtless they visisted the believers in Paul’s home town of Tarsus, in the latter province. Arriving in the area of Derbe and Lystra, Paul found another traveling companion, *Timothy, a young man of good reputation, whose mother was Jewish and his father Greek (ch 16:1–3).

Hnd 16:1  Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.

Hnd 16:2  He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.

Hnd 16:3  Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.


From Derbe and Lystra Paul and his fellow missionaries “went through the cities,” informing the churches of the decisions arrived at by the Jerusalem Council (Acts 16:4).

Acts 16:4  And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.

These decrees, declaring that the Gentiles were not required to observe the ceremonial law, doubtless had much to do with the subsequent growth of the church in that region (v 5).

Hnd 16:5  So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Paul and his companions next traveled “throughout *Phrygia and the region of Galatia” (Acts 16:6).

16:6  Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.

It was at this time, according to the view adopted by this dictionary, that the church to which the Galatian epistle was addressed was established (see Galatia).

It was consequently during this itinerary into Galatia that Paul was stricken with the “infirmity of the flesh” referred to in Gal 4:13.

Gal 4:13  You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.

Gal 4:14  And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

Paul planned next to do evangelistic work in the area west of Galatia, known at that time as *Asia (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), but was forbidden to do so by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6).

Acts 16:6  Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.

Consequently, he and his companions turned toward Mysia in the northwest, intending to enter the region of  Bithynia (Paul’s First Missionary Tour) and preach there, but these plans were also thwarted by the Spirit (v 7).

Acts16:7  After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

So they bypassed Bithynia and Mysia and continued their journey until they came to the city of Troas (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), on the shore of the Aegean Sea (v 8).

nd 16:7  After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.


At Troas Paul’s labors were turned to a new and challenging field. In a night vision he was urged by a man of Macedonia to bring the gospel to that country (Acts 16:8,9).

Hnd 16:8  So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.

Hnd 16:9  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

Immediately he and his companions prepared to answer the call, which they recognized as being from God (v 10).

Acts 16:10  Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Boarding a ship bound for Neapolis in Macedonia (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), they arrived at that city on the 2d day (Acts 16:11).

Hnd 16:11  Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis,

From there they went to Philippi (v 12).

nd 16:12  and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days.


There was apparently no Jewish synagogue in Philippi (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), but learning of a certain place for prayer outside the city beside a river, Paul and his company resorted thither on the Sabbath, and Paul preached to a group of women gathered there (Acts 16:13).

nd 16:13  And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there.

As a result, a woman merchant named Lydia, a halfway *proselyte to Judaism, was converted and, with her household, was baptized. Her house then became the headquarters of Paul and his fellow workers (v 14).

Hnd 16:14  Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

nd 16:15  And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

Soon an incident occurred that halted Paul’s endeavors in Philippi. A young female slave, supposedly possessing certain supernatural abilities which were used to the financial advantage of her masters, began to follow the missionaries, crying out that they were the “servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:16, 17).

nd 16:16  Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

Hnd 16:17  This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”

The annoyance reached the point where Paul could tolerate it no longer, so in the name of Jesus he cast out the evil spirit that had been controlling her (v 18).

6:18  And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

Since her supposed oracular abilities were now destroyed, her masters were deprived of the income she had brought to them.

Incensed at Paul and Silas, they dragged the 2 before the civil authorities and accused them, as Jews, of teaching things inimical to the laws of Rome (vs 19–21).

nd 16:19  But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

Hnd 16:20  And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;

nd 16:21  and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”

This was sufficient to stir up the populace and the authorities against them. They were severely flogged and placed in stocks in an inner dungeon of the prison (vs 22–24).

nd 16:22  Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.

Hnd 16:23  And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.

Hnd 16:24  Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

At midnight, while Paul and Silas were engaged in prayer and hymns of praise, a sudden earthquake shook the prison, threw open the doors, and released the fetters of all the prisoners (Acts 16:25, 26), probably by loosening the chains from the walls to which they were fastened.

nd 16:25  But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

Hnd 16:26  Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

The prison keeper, awakened by the earthquake and seeing the doors open, concluded that the prisoners, for whom he was apparently responsible with his life, had escaped. He was about to take his own life when the reassuring voice of Paul informed him that not one had escaped (vs 27, 28).

nd 16:27  And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.

Hnd 16:28  But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

Convinced by now that Paul and Silas were men of God, the jailer secured a light and, falling before them, asked how he might be saved. Paul told him of salvation by faith in Christ.

Thereupon the jailer took the 2 apostles from the prison, treated their wounds, set a meal before them, and gathered his family to listen to their instruction. Before morning the jailer and all his family were baptized (Acts 16:29–33).

nd 16:29  Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

Hnd 16:30  And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Hnd 16:31  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Hnd 16:32  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

Hnd 16:33  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Hnd 16:34  Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

When morning came the civil authorities sent officers to the prison asking that Paul and Silas be released (Acts 16:35, 36).

Hnd 16:35  And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.”

Hnd 16:36  So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

But Paul refused to go, stating that he and Silas, as Roman citizens, had been illegally beaten and imprisoned without a fair trial, and that therefore the ones who had unfairly condemned and publicly mistreated them must come and make amends publicly.

Upon hearing this the city magistrates apologetically entreated them to leave the prison and the city. After visiting the house of Lydia and the brethren, the 2 men departed from Philippi (vs 37–40).

nd 16:37  But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”

Hnd 16:38  And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.

Hnd 16:39  Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city.

Hnd 16:40  So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.


Paul and party now journeyed westward (Paul’s First Missionary Tour) to the cities of Amphipolis and Apollonia, and finally to *Thessalonica (Acts 17:1).

Hnd 17:1  Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.

The statement that there was a Jewish synagogue at the latter place implies that there were none at the other cities; this probably explains why they did not stop there.

At Thessalonica Paul followed his usual custom of preaching Christ in the synagogue. This he did for 3 successive Sabbaths, with the resultant conversion of some Jews, “of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few” (vs 2–4).

nd 17:2  Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

Hnd 17:3  explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.”

Hnd 17:4  And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.

It would seem that Paul followed his trade of tent-making in the intervals between the Sabbaths (see Acts 18:3; 1 Th 2:9; 2 Th 3:8).

1Ts 2:9  For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.

But now a situation began to develop, the general pattern of which Paul was quite familiar with by this time.

Certain of the unbelieving Jews, jealous of the success of Paul, threw the city into an uproar by stirring up a mob against him and his companions.

This mob attacked the house of a certain Jason, where Paul and his friends had been staying. Failing to find them there, they dragged Jason and some other believers to the city authorities, accusing them of disturbing the peace and of setting up Jesus as a rival king to Caesar (Acts 17:5–7)

nd 17:5  But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

Hnd 17:6  But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.

Hnd 17:7  Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.”

nd 17:8  And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these


Accusations disturbed the citizens and rulers of Thessalonica. Consequently, Jason and the others were required to pay “security,” probably as a guarantee that they would keep the peace, and then were released (v 9),

Hnd 17:9  So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

The tense situation demanded that Paul and Silas leave the city. They traveled by night to Beroea (v 10).

Verse 10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

Arriving at *Beroea, Paul once again resorted to the synagogue, where he preached the gospel to the Jews.

Beroeans proved to be “more noble than those in Thessalonica,” in that they were willing to receive the gospel after verifying it from the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).

Hnd 17:11  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.

Consequently, a large group, including an unspecified number of Greek women, became Christians (v 12).

nd 17:12  Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

Meanwhile, word had gone back to Thessalonica of the work of Paul in Beroea, and so, not content with having expelled him from their own city, the Thessalonian Jews determined to drive him from Beroea also.

Going to the city, they stirred up the populace against Paul. The believers immediately placed the apostle aboard a ship bound for *Athens (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), to which he sailed, accompanied by some Beroean Christians. Silas and Timothy, however, remained at Beroea (vs 13–15).

Hnd 17:13  But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds.

Hnd 17:14  Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there.

Hnd 17:15  So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.


It would appear from Acts that Paul had probably not intended to preach in *Athens (Paul’s First Missionary Tour) but had planned merely to await the coming of his co-workers.

However, there is no mention in Acts of Silas and Timothy joining Paul in that city, although 1 Th 3:1–5 suggests that Timothy did go to Athens, but was almost immediately sent by Paul to the church at Thessalonica.

1Ts 3:1  Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone,

1Ts 3:2  and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith,

1Ts 3:3  that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.

1Ts 3:4  For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.

1Ts 3:5  For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.

In any case the sight of the many idols in Athens provoked him to action. According to one ancient report there were more than 3,000 statues there in Paul’s day, the greater number of which were linked with pagan worship.

Paul began to preach in the synagogue and in the market place, or agora . He gained the attention of certain Greek philosophers who, wishing to know more of his teachings, took him to the *Areopagus (Acts 17:16–22), or Mars’ Hill, in the civic center of the city .

nd 17:16  Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.

Hnd 17:17  Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there.

Hnd 17:18  Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection.

Hnd 17:19  And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?

Hnd 17:20  For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.”

Hnd 17:21  For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.

Hnd 17:22  Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious;

nd 17:23  for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:

Hnd 17:24  God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

Hnd 17:25  Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.

Hnd 17:26  And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

Hnd 17:27  so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Hnd 17:28  for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Hnd 17:29  Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like

gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

Hnd 17:30  Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

Hnd 17:31  because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

Paul’s address, a portion of which appears in vs 22–31, was masterfully adapted to the thinking of his pagan listeners, but was successful only in causing them to mock him (v 32).

Hnd 17:32  And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.

He succeeded, however, in winning converts in that city (v 34).

Hnd 17:33  So Paul departed from among them.

Hnd 17:34  However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.


Following his experience at Athens, Paul journeyed westward alone to *Corinth (Acts 18:1). (Paul’s First Missionary Tour.)

Hnd 18:1  After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.

There he came in contact with Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, Jews who had recently come from Italy subsequent to a decree by the emperor Claudius banning Jews from Rome (v 2).

Hnd 18:2  And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.

Since these people, like Paul, were tentmakers, he stayed with them and plied his trade (v 3).

Hnd 18:3  So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.

Paul most probably arrived in Corinth early in a.d. 51; he remained there more than a year and 6 months (Acts 18:11, 18).

nd 18:11  And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

At first he labored with the Jews in the synagogue (v 4), as was his usual practice when entering a new city.

nd 18:4  And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

However, when once again the majority of the Jews opposed and reviled him, he turned from them and began to work more directly for the Gentiles (v 6).

Hnd 18:6  But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”

No longer able to preach in the synagogue, he held his services in a house owned by a worshiper of God (see Proselyte), next door to the synagogue (v 7).

Hnd 18:7  And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.

The gospel bore much fruit in that city, and among the converts was the ruler of the synagogue (v 8).

Hnd 18:8  Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.

Meanwhile Silas and Timothy had arrived with cheering news of the faithfulness of the Thessalonians (Acts 18:5; 1 Th 3:6).

nd 18:5  When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

These tidings inspired Paul, probably in a.d. 51, to write 1 Thessalonians, his first epistle that has been preserved. This was followed—possibly during late 51 or early 52—by 2 Thessalonians. See Thessalonians, Epistles to.

At last, active persecution, that had usually come so quickly in other cities, began to threaten Paul at Corinth also. His Jewish enemies accused him before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia, of teaching a religion not legally recognized by Rome.

However, Gallio drove the accusers away, refusing to become involved in a case that he regarded as a dispute over Jewish, rather than Roman, law. At this the crowd seized the ruler of the synagogue at that time and beat him in the sight of Gallio (Acts 18:12–17).

nd 18:12  When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat,

Hnd 18:13  saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”

Hnd 18:14  And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you.

Hnd 18:15  But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.

Hnd 18:16  And he drove them from the judgment seat.

Hnd 18:17  Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.

After an unspecified period, during which he was apparently able to preach without active opposition, Paul set sail for Syria (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18).

Hnd 18:18  So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

He tarried briefly in Ephesus, and preached in the synagogue. His message was received with favor by his hearers, who were probably both Gentiles and Jews, and he was invited to remain longer.

However, he decided to continue his journey, promising to return if possible. He took ship for Caesarea (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), leaving Priscilla and Aquila at Ephesus, doubtless to carry on the work begun there.

Landing at Caesarea  he briefly visited Jerusalem to salute the church, and then went on to Antioch, from which place his missionary journeys had begun (vs 19–22).

nd 18:19  And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

Hnd 18:20  When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent,

Hnd 18:21  but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.

Hnd 18:22  And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Thus ended Paul’s 2d Missionary Journey, which had lasted about 3 years, probably from some time in a.d. 49 to possibly late in a.d. 52.

Updated on 21st Mar 2022

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles