- Acts 15:36-18:11
Apparently soon after Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians, he began a second trip which is commonly referred to as “Paul’s Second Missionary Journey.” Paul approached Barnabas suggesting they return to the Christians in the towns where they’d preached in order to see how they were doing. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, but Paul disagreed because John Mark had deserted them during their first trip. Paul and Barnabas got in a heated argument over the decision, and they decided to go separate ways.
Paul took a Christian named Silas and went to Syria and Cilicia to strengthen the churches. Then they went to Derbe where they met a young Christian named Timothy. This would be the beginning of a strong friendship between Paul and Timothy. Paul took Timothy with them as they went from there. The Holy Spirit guided the group where they should go, revealing to Paul one night through a vision that they should preach Jesus in the region of Macedonia. They got up immediately and left for Macedonia in obedience to the vision.
In the city of Philippi, they taught a woman named Lydia who sold purple cloth from Thyatira, and she was baptized along with those in her household. Paul, Silas and apparently Timothy stayed with Lydia. Later, there was this slave girl who had an evil spirit which enabled her to predict the future. Her owners were becoming rich because of this spirit. The girl followed Paul and company shouting that they were servants of the Most High GOD and were telling the people the way to be saved. After many days of putting up with this, Paul turned to her and commanded the spirit to come out of her in the name of Jesus Christ. Immediately the spirit left her.
This made the owners very mad because they lost their means of wealth, so they brought Paul and Silas to the authorities who threw them in jail, with their feet fastened in stocks (metal bracelets which prevented movement). About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to GOD when a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. The prison doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosened. The jailer awoke from sleep and, fearing the prisoners had escaped, drew his sword to kill himself when Paul shouted to him to stop because they were all there.
The jailer rushed in with lights and immediately asked what he must do to be saved. He took Paul and Silas to his house, washed their wounds, and immediately he and his family were baptized. The next day, Paul and Silas were released. From there they went to Thessalonica. Paul taught in the Jewish synagogue three Saturdays, and some believed, but the Jews were jealous and stirred up a riot in the city. That night, Paul and Silas went to Berea. There, Paul taught in the synagogue and found them to be willing to listen and study to the things he taught them. A number of Jews and respected Greek men and women believed, but unfortunately, Jews from Thessalonica came and stirred up trouble which resulted in the group splitting up, temporarily, as Paul went to Athens and Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea.
Paul preached at the Areopagus, a Greek temple, where they had a statue to “An Unknown God.” The crowd was divided over Paul’s teaching, asking to hear him again later. From there, Paul went to Corinth where he met a couple named Aquila and Priscilla. They were tent makers and Paul stayed and worked with them, reasoning in the synagogues on Saturdays. Eventually, Silas and Timothy joined Paul there in Corinth, after which Paul spent all his time preaching. The Jews opposed him and he decided from that point on to focus exclusively on the Gentiles.
Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed and was baptized, as were many other Corinthians. One night Jesus spoke to Paul in a vision and told him not to be afraid, to keep speaking, because no one would hurt him there. Jesus told Paul that He had many in that city. Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 months, teaching them the word of GOD.