Verses about the Apostles'

Part 14
ACTS 20-21
Paul's Third Missionary Journey - Concluded

Location Map

Map - Paul’s Third Missionary Journey, concluded c AD53-58

Map Key:
7. Paul's return from his Third Journey as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. Also in text in [red square brackets]
Stages 1-6 have already been covered in Paul's Third Missionary Journey. Stages 7-22 cover the return to Jerusalem


Acts 20:3b-12 - Then (after staying in Greece and Corinth for three months ...) when he was on the point of setting sail for Syria the Jews made a further plot against him and he decided to make his way back (by land) through Macedonia [7] (Map 21). His companions on the journey were Sopater a Beroean, the son of Pyrrhus, two Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and two Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus.

These companions include representatives of various churches taking gifts to Jerusalem - Sopater from the town of Berea, Aristarchus & Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe (or possibly Doberus in Macedonia), and Tychicus & Trophimus from Ephesus. There are no representatives from Corinth or Philippi - perhaps Luke represented Philippi as he appears to have lived there for some years;

- The following verses include the second of four "We" sections (Acts 20:5-15), in which Luke, the author of Acts apparently gives an eye-witness account:

 ..... This party proceeded to Troas to await us there while we sailed from Philippi [8] after the days of unleavened bread. and joined them five days later at Troas [9], where we spent a week.

Paul's enthusiasm leads to an accident

 On the first day of the week, when we were assembled for the breaking of bread, Paul, since he intended to leave on the following day, began to speak to them and prolonged his address until almost midnight. There were a great many lamps burning in the upper room where we met, and a young man called Eutychus who was sitting on the window-sill fell asleep as Paul's address became longer and longer. Finally, completely overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground from the third storey and was picked up as dead. But Paul went down, bent over him and holding him gently in his arms, said, "Don't be alarmed; he is still alive."

Then he went upstairs again and, when they had broken bread and eaten, continued a long earnest talk with them until daybreak, and so finally departed. As for the boy (Eutychus), they took him home alive, feeling immeasurably relieved.


Acts 20:13-18a - Meanwhile we had gone aboard the ship and sailed on ahead for Assos, intending to pick up Paul there, for that was the arrangement he had made, since he himself had planned to go overland. When he met us on our arrival at Assos [10] (Map 21) we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene [11]. We sailed from there and arrived off the coast of Chios [12] the next day. On the day following we crossed to Samos [13], and the day after that we reached Miletus [14]. (End of the second "We" section. Verse 16 continues ....) For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus with the idea of spending as little time as possible in Asia. He hoped, if it should prove possible, to reach Jerusalem in time for the day of Pentecost.

Paul's moving farewell message to the elders of Ephesus

At Miletus he sent to Ephesus to summon the elders of the Church. On their arrival he addressed them in these words:

- Paul reminds the elders in Acts 20:18b-35 (Part 45.1) of his mission to both Jews and Greeks in the province of Asia. He knows that going on to Jerusalem will bring persecution, but he must finish the ministry given to him by Jesus Christ. He warns them against the rise of false teachers -

Acts 20:36-38 - With these words he knelt down with them all and prayed. All of them were in tears, and throwing their arms round Paul's neck they kissed him affectionately. What saddened them most of all was his saying that they would never see his face gain. And they went with him down to the ship.


Acts 21:1-15 - The third of Luke's four "We" sections (Acts 21:1-18), are included here in Part 14.34 and the following Part 14.35:

When we had finally said farewell to them (the elders of Ephesus) we set sail, running a straight course to Cos [15] (Map 21), and the next day we went to Rhodes [16] and from there to Patara [17]. Here we found a ship bound for Phoenicia, and we went aboard her and set sail. After sighting Cyprus [18] and leaving it on our left we sailed to Syria and put in at Tyre [19], since that was where the ship was to discharge her cargo. We sought out the disciples there (perhaps including the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was healed by Jesus all those years before) and stayed with them for a week. They felt led by the (Holy) Spirit again and again to warn Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. But when our time was up we left there and continued our journey. They all came out to see us off, bringing their wives and children with them, accompanying us till we were outside the city. Then kneeling down on the beach we prayed and said good-bye to each other. Then we went aboard the ship while the disciples went back home. We sailed away from Tyre and arrived at Ptolemais [20]. We greeted the brothers there and stayed with them for just one day. On the following day we left and proceeded to Caesarea [21] and there we went to stay at the house of Philip the evangelist (previously associated with Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch - Acts chapter 8), one of the seven deacons. He had four unmarried daughters, all of whom spoke by the Spirit of God. During our stay there of several days a prophet by the name of Agabus came down from Judea (25 years before, he had prophesied a major famine - Acts 11:28). When he came to see us he took Paul's girdle and used it to tie his own hands and feet together, saying, "The Holy Spirit says this: the man to whom this girdle belongs will be bound like this by the Jews in Jerusalem and handed over to the Gentiles!"

We all warn Paul, but he is immovable

When we heard him say this, we and the people there begged Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered us, "What do you mean by unnerving me with all your tears? I am perfectly prepared not only to be

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continuing the Apostle's "Travels and Acts", on to Part 15, Acts 21-26 OR back to Harmony of Jesus & Early Church