Paul's Third Missionary Journey--A Geographical Overview
From which city did Paul begin his third missionary journey?
Where did Paul first go? What was his purpose?
Where did Paul then go?
The city of Ephesus lay at the foot of two mountains, Pion and Coressus. The theater mentioned in Acts 19:29, which was the scene of Demetrius’ riot, was built into the side of Mount Pion and seated over 25,000 people. The city was founded by the Carians, a people of Asia Minor, at the mouth of the Cayster River where it flowed into the Aegean Sea. The Ionian Greeks later intermingled with the Carians and absorbed their population. The city presently lies seven miles from the Aegean, because of the build-up of silt by the river. Ephesus was known as the "first and greatest metropolis of Asia." The city prided itself in being the "Temple Warden of Artemis." The original temple to Artemis had been burned in 356 BC by a young man named Herostratus, whose sole purpose was to have his name remembered down through history. It was replaced through the financing of King Croesus with what would become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world--a temple four times as large as the present day Parthenon in Athens. It was four hundred feet long and two hundred twenty feet wide with one hundred twenty-seven pillars supporting the roof, each pillar being sixty feet tall. The Austrians have been carrying on archeological digs for some time and uncovered much of the city.
How long did Paul remain in Ephesus?
From Ephesus where did Paul go? What again was his purpose?
How long did Paul stay in Greece?
From Greece where did Paul intend to go?
Which areas and cities did Paul visit while on his return trip?
Macedonia (cf. Note 50); Philippi (cf. Note 52); Troas (cf. Note 51)
Assos--This ancient city stands on a conical-shaped rock about 700 feet high along the southern coast of Troad. The rock is covered by natural and artificial terraces and is so steep that an ancient writer named Stratoricus wrote of it, "If you wish to hasten your death, try and climb Assos." It was founded by Greek settlers and as early as 500 BC issued its own coins. One of its rulers, Hermeas, gave his niece in marriage to Aristotle and the Greek philosopher lives there for three years. The city had many imposing buildings, but as it declined in influence other cities dismantled the buildings to use the stone elsewhere.
Mitylene--This island city on Lesbos had two harbors and a strong fortress. It was noted in ancient times for its high culture and zeal for the arts and sciences. While it was highly fortified, it suffered defeat by the Athenians, Persians, and Macedonians. It became a free city under the Romans. It remains a city of 15,000 inhabitants today.
Chios--This island south of Lesbos and very close to the mainland of Asia Minor boasts a mild climate and beautiful blue marble. Chios was the home of several Greek writers, among them the tragic poet Ion, the historian Theopompus, and the sophist Theocritus. They are noted as a people for their good humor, as stated in an ancient proverb, "It is easier to find a green horse than a sober-minded Sciot."
Samos--This rugged and mountainous island lay at the mouth of the bay of Ephesus between the cities of Ephesus and Miletus. It was noted in ancient times for its luxury, due in great part to its advantageous shipping location.
Trogyllium--This is a promontory extending from the mainland out into the Aegean Sea towards the island of Samos. The strait separating the island and the mainland is about one mile wide at this point.
Miletus--This was a rather famous city before Paul’s time. It was a trading center at the mouth of the Meander River and boasted at one time of establishing 75 colonies. The importance of the city declined after the time of Alexander the Great, but it did remain until long after Paul’s time.
Cos--This island lies off the coast of Asia Minor. It was known for excellent wine, wheat, ointment, silk, and clothing. It had a famous hospital and was the birthplace of Hippocrates. It was a center of financial business and the home of a large Jewish population.
Rhodes--This island off the coast of Asia Minor boasted one of the seven wonders of the ancient world--a giant bronze statue dedicated to Helios stood over its harbor. It was made by Chares about 290 BC at a cost of 300 talents ($300,000.00). It stood 104 feet high. The statue was destroyed by an earthquake in 233 BC, but was restored by the Romans.
Patara--This coastal trading town in Lycia served as a point of entry to the interior of the province. There was supposedly an oracle of Apollo in the city to which many came for advice.
Tyre--This city was founded about 2700 BC. It was divided into two sections, one on an island off the coast and the other on the mainland. The island had two harbors and was strongly fortified. The Phoenician sailors of Tyre founded colonies such as Carthage in North Africa. It has changed hands over the years, but remains even today a major city on the Mediterranean.
Ptolemais--This is an important seacoast town along the eastern Mediterranean. It lay across a large bay about eight miles north of Mount Carmel. It acquired importance politically as the key of Galilee and as a seaport at the end of commercial routes to Decapolis and Arabia. It had a large Jewish population and quickly became a center of early Christianity.
Caesarea (cf. Note 53)
Paul frequently revisited the congregations he had established in the past. Why were these visits important? How might Christians today profit by Paul’s example?
Compare the length of Paul’s stay in Ephesus with the time he spent elsewhere on his missionary journeys. Discuss the possible reasons for the difference.