Paul makes preaching tours by land and by sea
FOLLOWING his conversion, Paul eagerly declared the good news about God’s Kingdom
In Lystra, during his first preaching tour, Paul healed a man lame from birth. The crowds began crying out that Paul and his traveling companion Barnabas were gods. The two men could scarcely restrain the people from offering sacrifices to them. Influenced by Paul’s enemies, however, these same crowds later stoned Paul and left him for dead. Paul survived the attack and in time returned to that city to strengthen the disciples with encouraging words.
Some Jewish Christians argued that non-Jewish believers had to adhere to portions of the Law of Moses. Paul took the question to the apostles and older men in Jerusalem. After careful consideration of the Scriptures and with the guidance of God’s holy spirit, those men wrote to the congregations and admonished them to abstain from idolatry, from eating blood and unbled meat, and from fornication. Such commands were “necessary things,” but heeding these did not require following the Mosaic Law.
On his second preaching journey, Paul visited Beroea, now in modern-day Greece. Jews living there received the word eagerly, examining the Scriptures daily to verify his teaching. Once again, opposition forced him to move on, this time to Athens. Before a learned group of Athenians, Paul gave a powerful speech that is a model of tact, discernment, and eloquence.
After a third preaching trip, Paul went to Jerusalem. When he visited the temple there, certain Jews started a riot, wanting to kill him. Roman soldiers intervened and interrogated Paul. As a Roman citizen, he later made his defense before Roman Governor Felix. The Jews could present no evidence for the charges they brought against Paul. To prevent Festus, another Roman governor, from handing him over to the Jews, Paul said: “I appeal to Caesar!” Festus replied: “To Caesar you shall go.”
Paul was then taken by boat to Italy to stand trial. Shipwrecked on that voyage, he had to winter on the island of Malta. When he finally arrived in Rome, he stayed for two years in a rented house. Even though he was under soldier guard, the ever zealous apostle continued to preach about the Kingdom of God to all who visited him.