We are going to begin our study of the events that transpired on what is termed the Second Missionary Journey. The beginning of the journey is really found in Acts 15:40 and continues through Acts 18:22. In Acts 15:40 Paul chose Silas to be his companion. He and Silas were both Roman citizens. This would help out later in the narrative. They were sent out by the Antioch church to do the work of evangelism. Verse 41 of the 15th chapter tells us they went through Syria and Cilicia strengthening the churches.
We must now turn our thoughts to the 16th chapter. WE invite all who read to follow along in their Bibles. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us guidance.
PAUL AND SILAS AT DERBE AND LYSTRA: ACTS 16:1-3
In verse 1 Luke tells us that Paul and his company came into the cities of Derbe and Lystra. From our study of the first missionary journey we learned that these were two of the cities that Paul and Barnabas did evangelistic work. In Acts 14:6 the cities are given in the revere order. The reason is that here in the 16th chapter the missionaries are coming from Cilicia rather than from Pisidian Antioch.
In the first verse we are introduced to one of the most important characters in the New Testament. He will become one of Paul’s staunchest workers. We’re told his name is Timothy. Luke informs us that his mother is a believer. Her name, according to 2 Timothy 1:5 is Eunice. His father was a Greek. Timothy would become a well valued laborer, along with Paul and Silas.
Verse 2 informs us that Timothy was well-spoken of in Lystra and also as far as Iconium. It is the view of this writer that perhaps Timothy and his mother were converted during Paul’s visit to Lystra on the first missionary journey. Paul calls him “my son” in 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:1. He was Paul’s son in the faith.
Paul decides in verse 3 to take Timothy along to assist in the work of evangelization. It is here that he circumcises Timothy. Timothy would be a much-added addition to the evangelistic team.
PASSING THROUGH ICONIUM AND PISIDIAN ANTIOCH: ACTS 16:4-5
Luke tells us as the missionaries passed through the cities of the region they delivered the decrees resulting from the decisions made at the Jerusalem Conference. They left a copy with each congregation. Verse 5 says that the churches were being strengthened in the faith. We’re also told that many were being added to the church. This was happening daily. The power of the Gospel was reaching. Unbelievers for the Risen Lord. It can be the same today. The simple plea to be Christians only is the only way to bring about the unity our Lord prayed for in John 17.
THE JOURNEY THROUGH PHRYGIA AND GALATIA HEADING TO TROAS: ACTS 16:6-8
In verse 6 we’re told that the missionaries traveled through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia. From the text it’s apparent that they wished to preach the Word in the region of Asia but were forbidden by the Holy Spirit. Verse 7 tells us that they came to Mysia and were attempting to spread the Gospel into Bithynia. The text tells us that they were hindered by the Holy Spirit. F. F. Bruce wrote the following,
“Possibly the methods used to communicate the Spirit’s will on the. 2 occasions were different. It may be that on the second occasion the communication took a form closely associated with the exalted Christ.”
Whatever the reason, the Lord wanted Paul and Silas to introduce the Good News to the European continent.
In the 8th verse they passed through Mysia and came down to Troas. Concerning the city of Troas, Garreth Reese writes the following,
“This city bears the name of ancient Troy, but was about four miles south of site of the famous city. This Troas, called Alexandria Troas (in honor of Alexander the Great), had been built by Antigonus, one of the successors of Alexander. It was a Roman colony and a free city. ‘Came down’ suggests they have come down from the highlands to the seacoast. As the missionaries are travelling westward, they would be looking out over the Aegean Sea.”
THE EVENTS AT TROAS: ACTS 16:9-10
It was at Troas that Paul received the Macedonian call. In verse 9 a vision appeared to Paul. In this vision a man of Macedonia was standing and urging Paul to come over to his land and spread the Good News. Immediacy, Paul sought to go. It is here Luke starts using the term “we” in the narrative. This means that Luke is now their traveling companion. He’s an eyewitness to the events transpiring. The text says that Luke was a preacher of the Gospel also. The Good News is about to be preached in Europe.
ON THE WAY TO MACEDONIA: ACTS 16:11
Luke relates that they set sail from Troas and ran a straight course to Samothrace. Garreth Reese writes.
“The direction they were sailing was to the Northwest, and the nautical word ‘straight course’ implies they had the wind in their favor…it (Samothrace) is an island in the Aegean Sea about half-way between Troas and Neapolis… The island can be seen from both continents…After the manner of navigation at the time, the missionary party put into the harbor for the night…Samothrace, thus, the end of the first day’s journey.”
We’re told that on the next day they departed for and landed at Neapolis. Concerning Neapolis, Reese further writes,
“Another day’s sailing northwest from Samothrace, and they have come to Neapolis. Neapolis was the regular landing place for those proposing to travel by the Egnatian Way, the great Roman military highway stretching some 490 miles across Macedonia, linking the Adriatic and the Aegean Sea.