9 June. Acts 16:6-8

9 June. Paul, Silas & Timothy travel across Phrygia to Troas

"Paul and those with him went through the areas of Phrygia and Galatia [see 3 on the map] since the Holy Spirit did not let them preach the Good News in the country [the Roman province] of Asia."

"When they came near the country of Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not let them."

"So they passed by Mysia and went to Troas."

          (Acts 16:6-8)



From Lystra to Troas is about 400 miles / 650 km across the Anatolian plateau. That's approximately the same distance that Paul and Barnabas travelled between Perga and Lystra on Paul's 'first' missionary journey in 46-48AD. Luke took 60 verses (Acts 13:13 - 14:20) to tell us about Paul's adventures over this distance on his 'first' journey. He covers the same distance in 50AD (which would have taken at least two or three months to walk) in three short verses!

What are we missing? Wouldn't it be interesting to 'read between the lines' and know something more about Paul's encounters - what he taught; how the people reacted; who was healed; who believed in the risen Lord Jesus in the numerous towns and villages he passed through or stayed in during that two or three months?

But Luke is silent! When we drove from Perga to Antioch-in-Pisidia while re-tracing Paul's 'first ' journey, it took us about 3 hours to drive the hundred or so miles. It would have taken Paul and Barnabas 3 weeks to walk it, staying overnight in 20 or so different villages on their way. Yet Luke simply says, "They continued their trip from Perga and went to Antioch, a city in Pisidia." (Acts 13:14)

It's only when you travel in Paul's footsteps (or look more closely at a map) that you realise the huge distances that Paul travelled on his missionary journeys, and you begin to realise that Luke's account only skims the surface of what actually happened. The account of Paul's endeavours in the 'Acts of the Apostles' is, in fact, just a very brief summary of all that happened in reality. So much that Paul said and did is simply unknown to us.

When writing to the Christians in Corinth, for example, Paul refers to suffering three shipwrecks and five punishments of 39 lashes given by hostile Jews. Yet Luke only tells us about one shipwreck in his account of Paul's journeys, and you won't find five accounts of 39 lashes!

So what DOES Luke tell us? Only that the Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching in the Roman province of Asia, and the Holy Spirit (the “Spirit of Jesus”) would not allow them to enter Bithynia. We're simply told that they followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and finished up at Troas.

But perhaps we CAN 'read between the lines' a little! Alexandria Troas was founded by Antigonus, one of Alexander the Great’s commanders, in 310BC, and became a Roman ‘colonia’ – a colony populated by veteran soldiers and their families – during the reign of the Emperor Augustus. It would have been a place of fascination and mystery to an educated Greek speaking man such as Paul, as it was close to the site of the fabled ancient city of Ilium (Troy).

Paul would have been familiar with Homer’s account of Helen – the beautiful wife of King Menelaus, abducted by the Trojans and later rescued by the Greeks who sailed across the Aegean Sea and built a wooden horse in order to gain entry to the city.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit decided to give Paul a bit of a treat before launching him on the next momentous step in his missionary journey!

The map shows the route taken by Paul on his 'second' missionary journey.

You can read more about Troas @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/10…/paul-travels-to-troas/.

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