PAUL'S THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY -Leaving Ephesus, Paul Again Revisits Macedonia and Corinth
The uproar over Diana is dated in the spring of A.D. 57. In the early summer, Paul left Ephesus and headed west toward Macedonia (20:1). On his way there, he stopped briefly at Troas (see p.127), but felt impelled to leave this fruitful field to move quickly into Macedonia in order to meet Titus (2 Cor. 2:12-13). Paul wanted to know how the carnal Corinthians had responded to his first Epistle.
The first major stop in Macedonia would be Philippi. Undoubtedly, it was here that Paul came in contact with Titus, who relieved him immeasurably with the reassuring news which he brought from Corinth (2 Cor. 7:5-8). The Corinthians had come to deep repentance.
While residing in Philippi of Macedonia, Paul wrote his Second Epistle to the Corinthians in the fall of A.D. 57.
In his epistle he told them he was on his way for a third visit (2 Cor.12:14, 13:1). From Philippi, Paul continued south to Greece (Corinth was in Greece). Coming to Corinth, Paul stayed there for three months (Acts 20:3, 2 Cor.13:1) — perhaps from December to early March. While in Corinth he resided in the house of his friend Gaius (probably the Gaius Titius Justus of Acts 18:7, Romans 16:23).
During His Three Months at Corinth—Paul Writes Galatians and Romans
As soon as Paul arrived at Corinth, intelligence reached him informing him that all the churches in Galatia had been infected by the Judaisers and had turned away from him. Therefore, in December of A.D. 57 while at Corinth for a third visit, Paul wrote his Galatian Epistle. Several months later, while still in Corinth, Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans. Romans would be dated in the early spring of A.D. 58. Galatians and Romans were written at nearly the same time, from the same location, and both epistles were occupied with the same thoughts.
In his Roman Epistle, Paul expressed a tremendous burden he had for Jerusalem (Rom. 9:1-3, 10:1), and also his desire to visit Rome and then Spain (Rom.1:9-13, 15:24-28). Paul had already determined to visit Jerusalem and Rome a year earlier (Acts 19:21). Shortly after writing his Epistle to the Romans, Paul did visit Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost, but was arrested there in May or June.
Paul Makes Arrangements For Bringing a Collection to Jerusalem
Among the other things that Paul accomplished in Macedonia and Greece at this time, he completed arrangements for bringing the collected gifts from the churches of these provinces to Jerusalem. The only hint which Luke gives of this collection appears in Paul's words to Felix (cf. Acts 24:17). For Paul's own sense of the importance of the collection see 1 Cor. 16:1-3, 2 Cor. 8:1, Rom.15:25. Paul fully intended to go to Jerusalem in person with the collection.
Paul had resided in Greece (Corinth) for three months (20:3). It was now March of A.D. 58. and Paul's heart was fully set on going to Jerusalem to bring a collection to the saints there. He was about to set sail in the direction of Syria, a route which picked up (at all the principal ports) those who wished to be in Jerusalem for the forthcoming feast of Passover. But detecting a plot by the Jews to kill him when once he was on board this ship, he changed his plan and decided to go back to Macedonia and sail from there. In all probability, Paul's original plan was to be in Jerusalem for the Passover in April. When the delay caused by the Jews' plot made that impossible, he determined at least to arrive there in time for Pentecost (cf. 20:16). Thus, Paul would work his way through Macedonia to Troas to Ephesus, and then go on to Jerusalem.
Paul's original plans for the future were these:
• He intended to go to Jerusalem at the Passover, and bring a collection to the saints. Because of the plot to kill him, he took another route and would come to Jerusalem at Pentecost.
• From Jerusalem, he planned to go to Rome (Acts 19:21).
• From Rome, he desired to go to Spain (Rom.15:24-28, 1:10-15).
All this he told the Romans in his epistle (March 58), just before attempting to go to Jerusalem. As it turned out, when Paul came to Jerusalem at Pentecost, he was arrested and then imprisoned in Caesarea for two years. Paul came to Rome as a prisoner, having requested a hearing before Caesar.
Paul was not going to make his trip to Jerusalem unaccompanied. Seven brethren went with him who were probably representatives of the various churches that had contributed to the relief fund for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Luke rejoins Paul again in Philippi (Macedonia) and together they went on to Troas where the seven brethren mentioned by name awaited them.
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