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From Corinth to Assos

 

The plot against Paul's life dictated that he retrace his steps through Achaia/Greece and Macedonia, eventually to Jerusalem. He left Corinth for Athens, then Berea, Thessaloniki and Philippi.

According to Acts 20:4, "he was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia." These men were returning to their homes in Asia Minor  and were probably appointed to accompany Paul and his famine-relief collection.

At Philippi, in the spring of 58 AD, Paul remained for the five-day Passover observation (in the "days of unleavened bread"), while the others sailed ahead from Neapolis to Alexandria Troas. They remained until Paul could rejoin them. The "we/us" passages in Acts resume in 20:5, indicating that Luke met up with Paul at this point. He would remain at his side from this point on.

Below, remains of the Agora at Philippi

Philippi agora

Paul and Luke left Philippi for Neapolis and sailed to Alexandria Troas to rendezvous with the others. The voyage took 5 days; it only took 2 days going the opposite direction on the second missionary journey.

 

In the footsteps of Paul — Alexandria Troas

At the time of Paul, Alexandria Troas (simply Troas in Acts) was a Roman colony, independent of provincial administration, with a governmental organization modeled after that of Rome. It was an important seaport for connections between Macedonia and Greece on the one hand and Asia Minor on the other. At some point, maybe after Paul's second missionary journey or on his third, a church was started there. Today the extensive, but rather overgrown site of the ancient city occupies a lonely area 50 miles south of Çanakkale. The remains, dating mainly from the Roman period, include the theater, city wall (6 miles in circumference), aqueduct and a bathhouse constructed by Herodes Atticus (below).

herodes Atticus baths ruins

 

Paul preaches the Gospel in Alexandria Troas

This was Paul's third time in Alexandria Troas and he remained seven days to commemorate the Lord's Supper with the believers there. Paul had much to say to them and, because he intended to leave the next day, he launched into a marathon sermon:

"On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted" (Acts 20:5-12).

Possibly because he wanted to spend as much time as possible with the Christians in Alexandria Troas, Paul arranged to go on foot across the peninsula from Alexandria Troas to Assos, about 20 miles, while his companions went by ship, a journey of around 40 miles. Thus Paul was not far behind.

Below, view from the area between Troas and Assos. Paul would have seen the ship carrying Luke and the others to Assos.

view of agean sea from road to assos

Below, along the road between Troas and Assos

road to assos

Below, Assos acropolis

assos acropolis

Below, Assos fortifications

Archaeological explorations at Assos have uncovered a temple to Athena (6th century BC) high on the acropolis overlooking the harbor (Doric columns below).

temple of athena

Below, view northward from Assos

Road to Assos

At the Assos harbor, below, Paul met up with the ship carrying Luke and the others...

Assos harbor

Journey from Assos to Miletus