Bible Review 4:6, December 1988

Corinth & Ephesus

Why did Paul spend half his journeys in these cities?

By Dan P. Cole

Paul’s three missionary “journeys” form a standard feature in New Testament maps and histories. The impression that emerges from the account in Acts of the Apostles 1–21 in the New Testament is that Paul three times set out from Antioch in Syria on a succession of missionary “journeys,” during which he preached and founded churches in a dozen or more cities. On his first journey, he established churches on the island of Cyprus and in Anatolia (modern Turkey); on his second journey, in Macedonia and southern Greece; and on his third journey, in Ephesus.1

However, a closer examination of these chapters from the Book of Acts reveals a different picture.

Although it is rarely noticed, once Paul reached Corinth on his second journey, his strategy changed. For a time he stopped “journeying”; he spent approximately 18 months at Corinth (Acts 18:11) before moving on. His third “journey” was not so much a trip as an extended residence in Ephesus, where he spent at least two and one-half years (Acts 19:1–20).

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