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Paul At Sea

If the apostle Paul had served the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') today, he might have been called a "frequent flier." In his time however, ships were the only means of crossing large bodies of water. Paul's First Missionary Journey began in such a way, by sailing over to Cyprus from Seleucia.

Paul's First Missionary Journey

"13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus." (Acts 13:1-4 KJV)

After crossing the length of the island, Paul sailed from Paphos, on Cyprus, to Perga in Pamphylia.

"13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day [see Why Observe The True Sabbath?], and sat down. 13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on."

Paul's first missionary journey was through what is today Turkey (Paul himself was born there, in the Mediterranean city of Tarsus). When the mission of the missionary was completed, Paul sailed from Attalia back to Antioch, through Seleucia, where his journey began.

"14:24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 14:25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: 14:26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles." (Acts 14:24-27 KJV)

"We sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread"

Paul's Second Missionary Journey began overland - and Paul apparently intended for it to remain so, in Turkey. But the LORD had decided that it was time for Paul to take his work in the Gospel from Asia to Europe. Paul sailed from Troas to Neapolis.

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

"16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days."

Paul's second journey was completed with a sea voyage back to Caesarea, so that he could observe the Holy Days in Jerusalem (see the Calendar of Christ's Holy Days).

"18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will.

And he sailed from Ephesus.

18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch." (Acts 18:19-22 KJV)

Paul's Third Missionary Journey began overland through Asia Minor (i.e. Turkey), but then by making strategic sea voyages along and through the Aegean Sea. Paul had become a smart traveler; he made full use of the system of ports in Turkey and Greece that enabled him to cover a vast area in person. The sea also sometimes enabled Paul to quickly escape the deadly threats of those who opposed the Truth.

Paul's Third Missionary Journey

"20:1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. 20:2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, 20:3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. 20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas. 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days." (Acts 20:1-6 KJV)

"20:13 And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. 20:14 And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. 20:15 And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus. 20:16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost." (Acts 20:13-16 KJV)

Ironically, Paul's voyage back to Jerusalem would result in another voyage, from Jerusalem to Rome, as a prisoner of the Romans (see the Fact Finder question below).

"21:1 And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: 21:2 And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. 21:3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. 21:4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. 21:5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed. 21:6 And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

21:7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day. 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

21:12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. 21:14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

21:15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem." (Acts 21:1-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: What happened during Paul's voyage to Rome?
See Sailing To Phoenix and Paul's Crash Landing


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