The Apostle Paul
Philippians 4:14-15 ESV
Acts 8:3 ESV
Acts 9:1-2 ESV
Acts 9:3-9 (Conversion of Saul to Paul)
Acts 9:19-20 ESV
Acts 9:26-27 ESV
Paul travels to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1 to 9:29), Tarsus (Acts 9:30), Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:21), Antioch (Acts 11:25), and back to Jerusalem (Acts 11:30)
Galatians 1:23b-24 ESV
Acts 11:30 (Paul travels back to Jerusalem)
Acts 13:1-4 ESV
Acts 15 (Second Missionary Journey)
Philippians 4:13 ESV
Philippians 16-19 ESV
In the fourth chapter of Philippians the Apostle Paul shared information about how the church in Philippi had a special place in his heart.
Looking at Paul’s missionary journey’s and ministry today we might be tempted to think that even when he started out his journey he charted a course based on his fame and requests he had received,
However, we learn from Philippians 4:14-15 that was absolutely not the case. Paul shared, “it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.”
When Paul started his ministry he didn’t have a salary. He didn’t even have food. Even though Paul (born Saul) was raised in a life of privilege he walked away from everything he had known after his conversion on the road to Damascus.
Saul was highly educated. Before his conversion experience he was living in Jerusalem studying under the famous rabbi and Pharisee Gamaliel. In addition to that he was born a Roman Citizen. At some point he also learned the trade of being a tent-maker (https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-do-we-know-about-paul-before-his-conversion.html).
Paul had a bright future and led a charmed life.
Now as a follower of the people of The Way (what early Christians were called) he turned his back on his previous life and when he began his only means of support would have come from making tents. The people of The Way and the disciples of Jesus would have been highly suspect of his claim to conversion.
He would have had to earn their trust since Paul was known for his persecution of the people of The Way.
We learn from Acts 8:3, “Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.”
And we are told in Acts 9:1-2, “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
It’s absolutely no surprise that the followers of Jesus didn’t trust Saul who now called himself Paul.
Following Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:3-9, Saul/Paul stayed in Damascus. Acts 9:19-20 we learn, “and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
Suddenly the shoe was on the other foot.
Folks, I don’t know about you, but I would be tempted to think this was a trick to get the people of The Way out in the open so he could arrest them.
In Acts 9:26-27 we learn the other disciples were indeed suspicious of Paul, “And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.”
We find Paul travels to Jerusalem (Acts 9:1 to 9:29), Tarsus (Acts 9:30), Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:21), Antioch (Acts 11:25), and back to Jerusalem (Acts 11:30).
While Paul was preaching in those areas, his reputation with the original disciples improved. We learn from Galatians 1:23b-24, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.”
In Acts 11:30 Paul and Barnabas traveled back to Jerusalem to distribute relief funds during famine.
We read about Paul’s 1st Missionary journey in Acts 13:1-4, “Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.”
On his second missionary journey (Acts 15) Paul traveled from Jerusalem in Israel, North through Syria, northwest through Turkey, North to Philippi and other parts of Europe, South to Greece, and then he made his way South back to Jerusalem.
We note that Philippi is located in modern day Greece. The ancient town that Paul visited is an archaeological site today. The nearby town is now called Filipino in Greece. After Paul went to Philippi during his Second Missionary journey it became known as a central place for Christianity (https://www.worldhistory.org/Philippi/).
Paul was certainly not the same man he was when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus in 33 C.E. Near the end of his journey he wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul no longer relied on himself. He knew His strength came from the Lord. It’s believed that Paul wrote the Letter to the church at Philippi in 62 C.E.
Philippians 4:16-19 tells us, “Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul knew God supplies our every need. Paul loved God/Jesus and he loved the church.
God supplied his every need. Always.
Paul was martyred in Rome around the age of Sixty. Because Paul was a Roman Citizen they were not allowed to crucify him so he was beheaded by Nero’s soldiers (https://www.gotquestions.org/how-old-was-Paul-when-He-died.html).
Even in death God supplied his every need.
Spiritual Practice: Let God
Let God Supply your every need.
In God, Deborah