2nd Missionary Journey


Summary of the Second Missionary Journey
(Acts 15:36-18:22 c. 49-52 AD)

When Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch in Syria at the conclusion of their first missionary journey, they reported on how God had "opened the door of faith to the Gentiles" throughout Galatia. Meanwhile, some of the Jewish Christian began insisting that Gentile believers must be circumcised in accordance with Jewish law in order to become part of the church. This controversy was settled by a church council in Jerusalem where it was agreed that the new Gentile converts be excused from being circumcised, while suggesting that they abstain from eating the meat of animals killed in pagan sacrifices, from sexual immorality and from eating the meat and blood of strangled animals. A letter outlining the decision was sent to Antioch with Paul, Barnabas, and two Christians from Jerusalem, Judas Barsabbas and Silas.

Bolstered by the council's decision, Paul proposed a second missionary journey to Barnabas to strengthen the churches they established on their first journey, and to pass on the decision of the Jerusalem council. But an argument between them over giving John Mark a second chance ended with them splitting up. Barnabas took John Mark with him on a separate mission to his native Cyprus, while Paul chose a new partner, Silas, who helped deliver the decision from the Jerusalem council. The net result: two missionary expeditions instead of one.

Silas or Silvanus, like Paul, was a Roman citizen and an influential member of the Church of Jerusalem, With Paul he embarked on a journey that began by revisiting the places Paul had worked on his 1st journey. They traveling to Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and the regions of Phrygia and Galatia, then on to Troas, where Paul received a vision calling him to Macedonia. Paul headed west through Philippi, Berea and Thessaloniki to Achaia and worked in Athens. After Athens he went to work in Corinth where he met Aquila and Priscilla. From Corinth Paul went to Ephesus. He took a ship to Caesarea, then back to Antioch in Syria.


The Journey Begins: Antioch to Galatia

Paul and Silas left Antioch in Syria and started overland northward, probably first to Paul's hometown of Tarsus and then across the Taurus Mountains through the famed Cilician Gates. In previous centuries Hittite, Assyrian, Persian, Greek and Roman armies had marched through this narrow pass (barely 65' wide) on their way to conquest. Now it was just two men on their way to a more lasting conquest.

Below, intact section of the Roman road north of Tarsus

Roman road norrth of Tarsus

Below, Taurus Mountains from Tarsus

Tarus mountains

Below, Cilician Gates, the famed pass through the Taurus Mountains.

Cilician gates

Once on the high Anatolian plateau (roughly 3,300 feet above sea-level), Paul and Silas turned westward to revisit the cities of Galatia Derbe  and Lystra, Iconium and Pisidian Antiochwhere Paul and Barnabas had previously established congregations.

At Lystra (below), where Paul had nearly been stoned to death on his first mission,
a young man named Timothy was asked to accompany them as a co-worker.

Lystra mound

After stopping in Iconium and Pisidian Antioch (below), the trio intended to go
into the Roman province of Asia — roughly the western third of what we now call Turkey.

Pisidian Antioch site with mountains

Instead, the Holy Spirit redirected their efforts and they found themselves heading
for Troas in northwest Asia Minor, ten miles southwest of ancient Troy (of Homer's
Iliad fame).



Continue to Troas