Third Missionary Journey of the Apostle Paul
Described in Acts 18:23-21:7, Paul’s third missionary journey began in the spring or early summer of 52 and ended in the spring of 57 when he arrived in Jerusalem.
Paul and Silas traveled from Antioch north through the Cilician Gates of the Taurus Mountains and west to the district of Phrygia. They strengthened the disciples of Jesus, especially in and around Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch. From Pis- dian Antioch, Paul traveled a direct route to Ephesus (Acts 18:23, 19:1).
Paul ministered there for the next three years (Acts 20:31). During his ministry in Ephesus, the whole Roman province of Asia heard the good news of Jesus Christ and numerous churches were started. When the chaotic Artemis riot against Paul in Ephesus’ theater ended, he encouraged the Ephesian Christians and traveled up the Aegean coast to Troas (Acts 19:2-20:1).
From Troas, Paul’s team engaged in a mission journey through the European provinces of Macedonia and Achaia. They took a ship from Troas across the Aegean Sea to Neapolis. They revisited the churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Philippi and ministered three months in Corinth, where he wrote the letter of Romans. Because Jews were planning to kill him, Paul decided to travel back through the Roman province of Macedonia. Paul’s team traveled from Corinth to Philippi and then took a ship back to Troas. After one week in Troas, Paul walked to Assos, while his mission team took a ship down the Aegean coast to Assos (Acts 20:1-13).
Paul’s team sailed from Assos to Mitylene on the island of Lesbos, to the is- land of Samos, and landed at the harbor city of Miletus. From Miletus, Paul sent a message to the Ephesus elders, asking them to meet him in Miletus. When Paul finished his message to the Ephesian elders, he sailed to the island of Cos, to the island of Rhodes, and landed at Patara in the region of Lycia. From Patara, they sailed to Tyre of Phoenicia. In Tyre, Paul stayed with some Christian disciples for one week. Then Paul and his team sailed to Caesarea, where they stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven (Acts 6:5). They then walked from Caesarea to Jerusalem (Acts 20:14- 16, 21:1-17).
Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and taken to Caesarea, where he spent two years in prison (57-59) before being taken to Rome. After a treacherous sea journey to Rome, Paul was kept under house arrest for two years (60-62), during which time he wrote the letters of Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians. Released from the Roman prison in 62, Paul engaged in another mission jour- ney with his team. He was rearrested, likely in Ephesus, and imprisoned again in Rome, where he was martyred around 65 (Acts 21:18-28:31).