This lesson will be a summary of Paul's journeys. After his conversion, he spent time in Damascus, Jerusalem and Antioch. Then, he set out on what are now called his "missionary journeys." During this time, Paul preached to many Jews and Gentiles and helped establish churches. These journeys set the stage for the letters he would later write to check up on and correct issues that were occurring in the churches he established. Below is a summary of his journeys, adapted from the Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Timelines
Paul and Barnabus are Commissioned | Acts 13:1-3
The Holy Spirit told the church at Antioch in Syria that Paul and Barnabus were to carry the message of the Gospel to many different places. So they fasted, prayed, laid hands on them and sent them off. This is still a pattern practiced in many churches today as missionaries or ministers are set apart for service.
Paul's First Missionary Journey | Acts 13:4 - 14:28
Paul's first journey was primarily to Cyprus and Turkey. Barnabus and John Mark started the journey with him, but John Mark left them after their first stop. Major highlights of this trip include:
Paul's Second Missionary Journey | Acts 15:36 - 18:22
Paul wanted to go back and see the various churches with Barnabus they helped establish on their first journey. But this journey began with an argument that split Paul and Barnabus apart. Remember how John Mark left them shortly after they started their first journey? Barnabus wanted to bring John Mark along with them again, but Paul didn't trust him after what happened the first time. They had a sharp disagreement and Barnabus left with John Mark and went back to the island of Cyprus. Paul chose Silas and went north into modern day Turkey, but spent most of his time in Corinth. Major highlights of this trip include:
Paul's Third Missionary Journey | Acts 18:23 - 21:16
Paul's third missionary journey started in Asia Minor again (modern-day Turkey), where Paul traveled around encouraging the various churches in the area. Major highlights of the trip include:
Paul is Imprisoned and Sent to Rome | Acts 21:17 - 28:31
While Paul was in Jerusalem, the Jews finally succeeded in capturing Paul. They began to riot and tried to kill him, but the Roman commander stopped them and had Paul arrested. They carried Paul to Caesarea to keep him in prison (and presumably to keep him safe from the Jews). Paul stayed in prison in Caesarea for about 2 years while Felix, the governor there, was waiting for someone to pay him a bribe to let Paul go.
Eventually, Paul appealed to the fact that he was a Roman citizen and asked to be brought before the Caesar in Rome for a trial. So they took him to Rome on a boat with other prisoners. This journey was a tough one. A vicious storm erupted at sea and they were shipwrecked on an island. While they were on the island, even though Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake, God miraculously allowed him to live. After 3 months on the island waiting for conditions to improve, they finally made their way to Rome.
While in Rome, Paul took the opportunity to preach to many people, even while he was still under guard. His case was never fully settled, but the Romans allowed him to live in his own house under a guard's watch (house arrest, basically). He stayed there for two years preaching and teaching.
Have you ever been on a vacation? Where did you go? How did you get there?
In the lesson today, we're going to learn about many trips that Paul went on and some very exciting things that happened along the way!
This lesson summarizes a large portion of the book of Acts, so it is not really practical to read much of this directly from the Bible or even a storybook Bible. We encourage you to read the story summary above and present as much of it as you would like in a story format to the children.
We highly encourage you to use a Bible map while you are teaching this. Many Bibles have maps of Paul's missionary journeys in the back. Also, we recommend the Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Timelines, which has several large, high quality color maps detailing Paul's journeys. Additionally, you can find maps of Paul's journeys online. Here are some examples:
Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud Acts 13:1-3
First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?