Paul Heads Home, Then Heads Out on a Third Missionary Journey
November 8 - Nº 312 Acts 18:18 – 19:10
When Paul’s work in Corinth was finished, he decided to return to his home church in Antioch. Aquila and Priscilla accompanied him as far as Ephesus. During the short time he was there, Paul went into the synagogue and taught about Jesus. The Ephesian Jews begged him to spend more time with them, but he refused. As he left, he promised that he would return if God allowed him to. Then he sailed back to Israel. Before going to Antioch, Paul headed to Jerusalem to greet the church leaders. He reported all that had happened as he traveled through the Gentile countries. He described his visits to the churches he planted in Galatia; his trip across Asia; then how God led him all the way to Macedonia, Achaia, and Greece. This second missionary journey had taken three years. Paul spent a year and a half in Antioch before he set out on a third missionary journey. Once again, he began the trip by visiting the churches in Galatia and Asia. As Paul was traveling and teaching, a man named Apollos arrived in Ephesus. He was a well-educated, public speaker from Alexandria, Egypt. He knew a lot about the Old Testament, and he believed that Jesus was the Messiah that the prophets had said would come. He also understood that John the Baptist had baptized people who were ready to repent and turn back to God (see #215 - August 3). So, he had been baptized with water the way John baptized, but he had never received the Holy Spirit. When Apollos entered the synagogue in Ephesus, he began to teach the things that he knew. Aquila and Priscilla heard him. They invited him to their home and explained to him the role of the Holy Spirit. This excited Apollos, and he asked to be baptized in Jesus’ name so that he could be filled with God’s Spirit. No longer did he speak with just his own passion and ability—he spoke with the power of the Holy Spirit. When it was time for Apollos to leave Ephesus, the believers sent letters to Achaia asking the Christians in that province to welcome him. Apollos was well received, and people from all over Achaia grew in the Lord because of his teaching. He helped them understand and defend the faith Paul had first taught them. One of the cities he taught in was Corinth. Meanwhile, Paul returned to Ephesus as he had promised he would. The first thing he did was baptize some of the believers. As they were baptized in Jesus’ name, they were empowered by the Holy Spirit just as Apollos had been. Paul stayed in Ephesus for several years. For the first three months he taught boldly in the synagogue. But then some of the Jews opposed him and began to antagonize the believers. So Paul moved his base of operations to a Gentile school run by a man named Tyrannus. For two years he taught in the lecture hall every day. More and more people came to learn from him. Soon all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia had heard the word of God!
When God closes one door, He always opens another. Paul experienced this over and over. Teaching in Tyrannus’ school allowed him to minister to many more Gentiles than he ever would have met in the synagogue. We must see closed doors as openings for new and better opportunities.