Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey, A.D. 53

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey; 20 Years after the Crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of God’s Holy Messiah

In A.D. 53 the church in Antioch had once again raised enough financial support to send Paul out from Antioch on a third missionary journey to visit all the churches he had helped to found, and to reinforce their faith.

Paul left Antioch and he once again travel north through the Amanus Mountains via the Syrian Gates into Cilicia, to his home town of Tarsus. From there he continued north through the Cilician gates in the Tarsus mountains, into the province of Galatia and then west back through the towns of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and of Antioch of Pisidia (i.e. to the Galatian Christians). He then went further west into the province of Phrygia to establish the church in Laodicea, and then on Ephesus, on the west coast of Anatolia, which was the thriving commercial metropolis of the region (and where the Disciple Timothy was now the Bishop of the Christians in the region). Paul stayed in Ephesus for more than 2 years (Acts19:10), and he is thought to have written the Epistle of First Corinthians and the Epistle of Second Corinthians and the Epistle to the Romans while he was there.

Map of the Apostle Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (from the Holman Bible Atlas)

In A.D. 56 Paul left Ephesus and traveled north up the coastal road through Smyrna, and Pergamum, to Troas (a.k.a.: the current name for the city Troy from the Homeric legends) and he then sailed to Macedonia and revisited the churches he had established in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, etc. From there he traveled south into Greece to revisit the church at Corinth. A plot on Paul’s life forced him to re-trace his route back through Macedonia, and across to Troas where he restored the life of the unfortunate Eutychus after he fell asleep in one of Paul’s sermons, and then suffered a fatal fall. Paul continued south to the port of Assos, and then sailed south via the Samos Straights to Miletus where he said farewell to the elders of Ephesus. He then sailed south to Cos (of Hippocrates fame), Rhodes, Patara (in the Provence of Lycia), and then to Tyre, Caesarea, and on to Jerusalem (5th trip) in A.D. 57.