PAUL'S "FOURTH" MISSIONARY JOURNEY by Newton Bush
PAUL'S "FOURTH" MISSIONARY JOURNEY
I. The Outcome of the Trial
A. The Favorable Reports of Roman Officials
1. Agrippa & Festus (Acts 25:13-22, 24-27; 26:30-32).
B. Paul's Optimism (Phil 1:25; Philem 22).
C. Paul Had Friends in Caesar's Household (Phil 4:22)and among the Praetorium Guard (Phil 1:13).
D. Seneca May Have Taken Some Interest Since Gallio Was His Brother.
1. Paul could cite the position of Gallio at Corinth (Acts 18:12-17).
2. "As the brother of Seneca, that decision would be pertinent and timely." Robertson
E. The Testimony of the Early Church Was that Paul Was Set Free.
F. The Pastoral Epistles
1. "...they settle what doubt may remain." Robertson
2. "They cannot be fitted into Paul's career up to the close of Acts." Robertson
3. "We have no right to assume that his life and work closed with the end of Acts. The very tone and temper of these Epistles call for a somewhat later time. They fit in exactly with a probably picture of Paul's closing days." Robertson
4. "For the present, therefore, they may be used as conclusive argument for Paul's release from the first Roman imprisonment and as material for the construction of the closing period of his ministry." Robertson
5. "Sometime during A.D. 63, therefore, we amy imagine Paul as free from chain and soldier. Some five years it had taken him to allay the storm raised that day in the temple at Jerusalem." Robertson
Paul is characterized as faithful to God even in adverse circumstances.
God is characterized in the Bible as a God who brings His people forth out of prison.
II. The Visit to the East
A. New Problems Had Arisen in the East
1. Trouble in the Lycus River Valley (cf. Colossians).
2. Judaistic Teaching in Philippi (cf. Philippians).
B. Paul Expressed Plans in the Prison Epistles to Go Back East.
1. Phil 1:24
2. Philemon 22
C. It Is Likely that He Went East (Speculation).
1. "He was needed in the East, and it would cheer him to revisit the scenes of his former labors." Robertson
2. "Refreshment of heart would come to him after the long hears of suffering and separation." Robertson
Paul went to help help his Christian friends who were suffering spiritually.
But even more so Paul went east to seek the glory of God (I Tim 1:17).
III. The Visit to Spain
A. Paul Had Planned to Go to Preach the Gospel There (Romans 15:22-29; cf. vv 24, 28).
B. The Testimony of the Early Writers Is that Paul Went to Spain.
1. Clement of Rome (I Clement 5:7; 75-110 A.D.) says that Paul "had gone to the limit of the West" before his martyrdom.
2. The Canon of Muratori (170 A.D.) says that Paul went to Spain.
3. "In the spring or early summer of A.D. 64 we may imagine Paul at last in Spain. He had reached the goal of his ambition after much tribulation." Robertson
4. "He was probably in Spain when the awful catastrophe befell Rome, July 19, A.D. 64." Robertson
Paul still has a strong desire to preach the gospel where it had not been heard before in fulfillment of OT prophecy (cf. Romans 15:18-24).
IV. The Burning of Rome (I Peter and Mark written with this background).
A. Nero "chose to lay the blame of his deed upon the Christians, perhaps brought to his attention by the trial of Paul, in order to shield himself from popular wrath." Robertson
B. "...the horrible details of Nero's persecution of Christians in Rome. Oil was poured over their clothing and they were tied to posts or trees and lighted at night like street lamps, while Nero rode furiously around in his chariot." Robertson
C. "Paul's release had virtually given Christianity a legal standing in Roman law as a from of Judaism. But now Nero had made a sharp distinction between Christians and Jews. Christianity was now religio illicita. To be a Christian was crime enought to deserve death...The fashion of persecuting Christians had the sanction of the imperial example and command. It was now no popular outburst in a distant province against a man who interfered with established custom or business interests." Robertson
"We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." I Peter 4:12-13.
V. The Return East for the Last Time
A. "...Paul would not go by Rome when he left Spain. He may, indeed, have remained in Spain till 66 when the first fury of Roman wild beast had subsided." Robertson
B. Paul "came by Crete with Titus and left him there (Tit. 1:5). He had probably had his interest in the island aroused at the time of the voyage to Rome when he could not tarry." Robertson
C. Paul in Asia Minor
1. "He came also to Miletus and probably did not go to Ephesus if one may judge by the directions given to Timothy (I Tim. 1:3)." Robertson
2. "Paul seems to have left Timothy at Miletus, where he left Trophimus sick (II Tim. 4:20)." Robertson
3. "Timothy, therefore, is in charge at Ephesus, but Paul later sends Tychicus there also who returned to Rome (II Tim. 4:12)." Robertson
4. "Paul touched also at Troas on his way (II Tim. 4:13). He had possibly expected to come back here and so left his cloak and books with Carpus." Robertson
5. "He was on his way to Macedonia (I Tim 1:3)." Robertson
D. "The Jewish War had begun in A.D. 66. Paul would be hated by the Romans not merely as a Christian, but as a Jew." Robertson
Paul took seriously the charge of the gospel given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ. Even dangerous conditions did not prevent him from returning to the east where the problems were.
Spiritual concerns, i.e. the things which concern the heart of Christ should be of top priority in our lives.
VI. Paul's Concern for Timothy and the Work in Ephesus: I Timothy
A. "Paul is apparently in Macedonia, and it is probably the late summer or early autumn of A.D. 67." Robertson
B. Paul had left or sent Timothy at Ephesus to minister there (I Tim 1:3).
1. Timothy "was with Paul most of the time during the second and third missionary journeys, went with him to Jerusalem with the great collection, and rejoined him in Rome. He was one of the most faithful of all of Paul's helpers and gave him much satisfaction." Robertson
2. "...Timothy was sent here (Ephesus) as Paul's special representative as Tychicus was later (II Tim 4:12)." Robertson
3. "The conditions which Paul foresaw when at Miletus years before (Acts 20:29ff.), and which he sought to rectify in the Epistles to the Colossians and the Ephesians, still demanded attention." Robertson
4. "'Certain men' at Ephesus (I Tim. 1:3) were preaching a 'different doctrine,' one devoted to 'fables and endless genealogies,' the same mixture of Jewish Gnosticism." Robertson
5. "Paul was anxious that Timothy should seek to rescue the church from the influence of this barren philosophizing." Robertson
6. Paul hoped to join Timothy but knew that he might be hindered (I Tim 3:14-15; 4:13).
C. Paul is concerned for Timothy that He Should Fulfill the Promise of His Youth (I Tim 1:18).
1. "...for others, alas, had made shipwreck, as Hymeneus and Alexander." I Tim 1:18-20.
2. Paul instructs Timothy not to let anyone despise his youthfulness. Rather he is to be the example of a believer in Christ in all things (I Tim 4:12).
Paul entrusts the great ministry which must be done at Ephesus to young Timothy.
Young people called and gifted by the Lord may serve him effectively in great matters. Here the great matters are doctrinal teaching and correction.
VII. The Cause in Crete: The Epistle to Titus
A. Titus, like Timothy (I Tim 1:2) Had Been Won to Christ by Paul (Titus 1:4).
B. Titus' Career
1. "Titus came into fellowship with Paul earlier than Timothy. He appeared at Jerusalem with him at the conference about A.D. 50 (Gal. 2:1, 3)." Robertson
2. "He was Paul's mainstay in the Corinthian troubles (II Cor. 7:13f.).
3. "He had been with Paul on his last visit to Crete (Tit. 1:5)." Robertson
4. "He had been with him again at Rome before leaving for Dalmatia (II Tim. 4:10)." Robertson
C. The Occasion for the Epistle
1. Paul had left Titus in Crete to put things in order (Titus 1:5).
2 "Paul is still in Macedonia (?) and expects to spend the winter in Nicopolis (Tit. 3:12). It is probably near winter (A.D. 67)." Robertson
3 "Zenas, the lawyer, and Apollos are possibly the bearers of the letter (3:13)." Robertson
4. The false teaching is about the same as that of Ephesus and Colosse.
Likewise Paul leaves the older, more experienced Titus to the valuable work in Crete to correct and establish the young churches there.
Churches need to be careful doctrinally right from their beginnings.Rob and Jenny Gerard
4177 Millikin Road
Hamilton, OH 45011-2229