ML 101 Paul's Mission Methods



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Introduction to the Lesson


Jesus Christ built His church as He predicted (Matt:16:18) and called the Apostles to extend the mission. The apostles preached the Gospel. Thus, the New Testament church commenced on the day of Pentecost at Jerusalem. The places where the churches were established and the history of the church growth in the first century A.D. are recorded by Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles. Especially, Apostle Paul’s missionary activities are well recorded. Paul’s life and mission are useful to every missionary and can be taken as a model throughout his life. This lesson is structured for the missionaries and Christian leaders to get to know these facts.


  Objectives of the Lesson


 (i) To know the life of Paul from the Scriptures.

(ii) To motivate the students to become an enthusiastic missionary just like Paul.

(iii) To find the way to succeed in the mission by utilizing the mission methods of Paul.


               It is the objective of this lesson that these facts be explained clearly.


The two sections of the lesson


  1. Apostle Paul’s life history and his mission


  1. The mission methods used by Apostle Paul.





1)  Before you study this subject, you are asked to read the Book of Acts of Apostles at least two times. This will help you to understand these notes very easily.


2)  The years given here are approximately calculated according to the opinions of various Biblical scholars.









              5-70     AD


Birth of Saul (Paul)



Stephen Martyred (Acts:7:57-60)

Paul’s Conversion (Acts:9:1-19)









35-38 – Paul’s Voyage to Arabia – Gal:1:17

Two Week Journey to Jerusalem in AD 38 (Gal:1:21)


38 – 43 – Mission at Syria, Cilicia (Acts:9:30;   


Coming to Syrian Antioch (Acts:11:25-26)

(43 – 44) – Collecting and bringing money for poor Christians at Jerusalem

 (Acts: 11:27 – 30; Gal:2:1-10)



(45 – 48) – First Missionary Journey (Acts:13:2-14;28)

Period of Epistles



48/49         Galatians


From Syrian Antioch




49, 50 – The Church Council at Jerusalem – Acts:15:1 – 29; Gal:2”1-10)

I Thessalonians

    From Corinth – 51



50 -52 – Second Missionary Journey (Acts:15:40 – 18:23)

II Thessanonians

               From Corinth – 51/52


52 – Appearance before Gallio (Acts: 18:12 – 17)

52 Jerusalem – Coming again to the Syrian Antioch (Acts: 18:22)




53 – 55 Mission at Ephesus (Acts: 19:1-20) &

Third Missionary Journey (53 – 57 A.D.)

A.D.55 (I Corinthians from Ephesus)

II Corinthians from Macedonia



A.D.57 (Romans from Corinth or Cengrea)


Arrested at Jerusalem (Acts:21:27 – 22:30)



57 – 59 – Imprisonment at Caesaria (Acts:23:23 – 26:32)

59 – Roman Voyage – Ship Wreck

Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon from Rome    

                 A.D. 60





Philipians from Rome





59 – 61/62 (First Roman Imprisonment – Acts:26:16 – 31)

62 – Released from prison

I Timothy, Titus from Philipi –     A.D.63 – 65



62 – 67 – Fourth Missionary Journey – Mission at Crete – Titus:1:5

II Timothy from the dungeon at Rome –    




67 – 68  – Second Roman Imprisonment and Judgement – II Timothy:4:6 – 8



A.D. 70 – Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans




      Apostle Paul was a great and distinct missionary, chosen by God to proclaim Jesus Christ as the only Saviour to the Gentiles. He was greatly responsible for the gospel to be spread in the nations of the world in the first century. He surrendered himself fully to the service of God, to the expansion of the Kingdom of God. It was during the days of the iron reign of the Romans, Paul took (or carried) the Gospel to different countries, with a fearless heart. He was instrumental in the establishment of many churches single-handedly and he was the author of many epistles in the New Testament.


      Seeking for riches seems to be the mission of most of the servants of God these days, which is being proved by their works – their missions and foreign trips. But when this man tells about his mission and its objectives, declares “I am indebted to the Greek and the Gentile, and the wise, and the foolish”. He again tells “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. Telling the gospel is a duty entrusted on me. It is woe to me if I do not declare the truth of the gospel to all’.


      The mission started and introduced by Jesus Christ – The Acts of the Apostles tells of how this mission continued after the ascension of Christ. However, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that most of this book contains the activities of Apostle Paul and his three missionary journeys. Apostle Paul subjected himself wholly to Christ and His mission. The Bible does not tell about his childhood and youth hood. Let us watch how much the Holy Spirit Himself has revealed to us about Paul.


      It is probable that Apostle Paul was born around A.D.5. He was born in the city of Tarsus. Tarsus was under the rule of Rome, as it was ruled by the Romans at the time of his birth. Tarsus was the capital of one state in the country of Cilicia. It was an ancient city. It was the seat of the governor of the state during the reign of the Medians and the Persians. During Greek rule, cloth was produced in great quantity in this city. During the first century and even before Christ was born, this place was also the seat of many philosophers. According to historical evidences, there was also one University situated at this place. This was also a trade centre. There was also a factory where leather was treated and manufactured into dresses. Paul learned the task of tent making too at this place.


     Even though the Grecian rule was a past event in world history, it could be seen that the Greek language and its culture were rooted in the life of most of the people of those days. Paul who was chosen by God to proclaim the gospel to the gentiles was expertised in the knowledge of the Greek language. This knowledge was very useful in his missionary work. He was Jewish by birth, belonged to the Hebrew speaking Pharisee sect, and was holding Roman citizenship. He came to Jerusalem at the age of thirteen and learned under Gamaliel who was a renowned teacher (Rabbi) and doctor of law of those days. He was a meritorious student and he was very zealous of the kingdom of God. This was useful in his ministry among the gentiles in building good rapport with them and also in uniting the Jews and the Gentiles through the Gospel. Even though he knew that God had called him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, he kept himself aware of the fact that he was Jew and he was proud of this fact. Moreover, he was very much longing for the salvation of the Jews and it could be seen being revealed from the bottom of his heart (Romans:9:1-2;10:1). It was due to this fact that he started his ministry mostly from the synagogues, where the Jews were found in great numbers.


     Paul was (born) of pure Jewish blood – lineage, a Pharisee, and very zealous of the Jewish faith. When Paul first appears in (Acts:7:58) the book of Acts of the Apostles, he could be of the age of 30. Not only that, he was also a well known leader among the Jews. Before he was saved, he was involved in the persecution against the Christians, because he himself was a zealous Jew. He was a supporter of the murderer of Stephen and he conducted the martyrdom of Stephen under his leadership. He headed the group who was responsible for the killing of Stephen. He was acting zealously on his beliefs that Christians were a group of false preachers, and they were against the Jewish teachings and worship methods, and hence they should be eliminated completely. He was under the impression that such beliefs and acts of him would bring glory to God. It is revealed in his epistles of later days how foolish and ignorant he was on these truths (1 Tim:1:13).


     It was during one of such trips to Damascus, when he received letters from the chief Priests and other officials and proceeding towards Damascus, it so happened that he met the Lord in a mysterious way and this phenomena completely changed his life. As Paul himself wonders in many of his writings, only the Holy Spirit would be able to explain the phenomena of his conversion (1 Cor:9:16-17; 15:10; Gal:1:15-16; Eph:3:7-9;

1 Tim:1:12-16). He realized how God had been working in his life, during his later missionary days.


  When Paul (Saul), on his way to Damascus, met the resurrected Jesus Christ, he had a completely renewed life. Without delay, he went to the synagogues and started telling the ‘Good News’ that Christ was the Messiah and the Promised Saviour; and He was the King of Judah born in the lineage of Abraham, David etc. His message was based and centralized mainly on the themes of Christ’s passion, crucifixion and resurrection. Most of the Jews knew the purpose of his journey towards Damascus. But when they came to know of what Paul had been preaching, they were disturbed in their minds and they thought of killing him. So, as written in Acts: 9:22-24, he passed towards the desert of Arabia. It was possible that Paul had fellowship with the church at Arabia (Acts:2:10). After three years, he came back to Jerusalem and met the Apostles there, as he wanted to maintain his fellowship with them. But when he came to Jerusalem, he couldn’t meet anyone except James, the brother of the Lord (Jesus) and Peter. He stayed with Peter for 15 days (Gal:1:18). The apostles at Jerusalem and the other believers did not recognize him; instead they were suspicious of him. At this stage, it was through Barnabas’ intervention, Paul was accepted and taken into the fold of the Apostles (Acts: 9:26-28).


   The Jews at Greece plotted to kill him, when they saw how zealously Paul was speaking about Lord Jesus Christ. So he was sent again to Tarsus with the help of some brothers. He spent some years at Tarsus (38 – 43 A.D.). It is believed, according to Gal: 1:21-23, that he was evangelizing some places around that city. These few years of gap in Paul’s life are still considered a mystery. According to some scholars, the facts given in 2 Cor:11:24-26, happened during this period.


    When the Gospel was proclaimed at the house of Cornelius, God opened the door of the Gospel to the Gentiles. As a result, the church was planted among the gentiles of Antioch of Syria. Barnabas was sent to Antioch by the apostles at Jerusalem to find how the church was getting revived there. When Barnabas came there, he found that more people are needed to help the church at Antioch. Barnabas had realized that God has chosen Paul for evangelizing the Gentiles. So he took him to Antioch from Tarsus. Paul’s hard work of one year and his powerful and deep expounding the Gospel at Antioch caused great change in the church at Antioch. There, at Antioch, the disciples of Christ were first given the name of Christians (the anointed) – Acts:11:20-26.


    One of the prophets prophesied regarding the famine that was to befall at Jerusalem and it came true. So the church at Antioch collected funds and sent them to the apostles and the believers at Jerusalem through Barnabas and Paul. Paul too got an opportunity to visit Jerusalem for the second time. Some scholars relate this incident with what is written in Gal:2:1-10. But according to the details given in Acts:11,12, we don’t find any serious disputes and problems regarding circumcision. This problem evolved seriously before Acts: 15, but in Acts:15, it seems to have been solved.


The First Missionary Journey of Paul (A.D.46-48)


      We learn from the Bible that Paul undertook three missionary journeys with the intention of telling the Gospel to the Gentiles and to establish churches. The first missionary journey was started at Antioch, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We read from Scriptures that God separated Paul and Barnabas for His ministry. It is written that they were guided by the Spirit of God and sent by the children of God (Acts:13:1-3).


      At first, the Word of God was proclaimed in the synagogues at the island of Cyprus. Then the officer Sergius Paul was attracted by the Gospel at Paphos. But a magician named Barjesus was preventing him from listening to the Gospel. Paul met him face to face with the strength of the Holy Spirit. The Power and Judgement of God came through, because of the acts of this man, when the officer witnessed this event, he believed in the Gospel. Paul becomes the leader of the gospel team soon after this incident. After this, they came to Perga in Pamphilia, the South Asian countries. These are coastal towns. At this place, Mark John, probably Barnabas’ relative and helper in the ministries, separated from their group and left them. We are not told of the reasons why Mark was separated from them, but we can understand that Paul was affected much by the departure of Mark.


      Then they left Perga and came to Antioch of Pisidia. There Paul found the synagogues of Jews which were open to the Gospel. The Jews and the Gentiles were living united at this place. The message given here seems to be the first long sermon of Paul. When the message gave insight to both the groups to ponder over, they requested Paul to talk to them next week also (Acts:13:42). According to their request, the Word of God was preached to them on the Sabbath Day. Most of the people of the city came in crowds. We find some of the Jews created trouble driven by jealousy, when they saw the crowd listening to Paul. Paul admonished them telling that he was taking the Gospel to the Gentiles hence and left them. This way, a church consisting of the Gentiles was

 established at Pisidia.


    Paul left this place and went to Iconium because the Jews at Pisidia were rebelling. At Iconium too some Jews started troubling the Gospel work. But a great number of the Jews and the Greek believed in the Gospel. To avoid these rebelling Jews, Paul and Barnabas went to Lystra and Derbe of Lycaonia. Lystra was a city of gentiles. There were no synagogues. There God caused Paul to heal miraculously a handicapped man by birth, with the power of the Holy Ghost. The people of this city were attracted towards the Gospel, when they witnessed the miracle. But because the people of Lystra were not having knowledge of the Old Testament, they attempted worshipping the Apostles telling the gods have come down to them. Paul and Barnabas were aggrieved at this and they tried their best to stop them from laying offerings to them. But they couldn’t control and prevent them from worshipping them. It is here, as believed, that Timothy was met and became a believer.


    The Jews who came from Antioch and Iconium tried to instigate these people, who were illiterate and ignorant and they planned to take revenge on Paul. Due to their provocation, the same people of Lystra went against Paul and Barnabas ungratefully, forgetting the goodness caused among them. They stoned at Paul and thinking that he was dead, they dragged him and dropped him outside the city. But as the disciples were watching, Paul lifted himself from that place and went inside the same city, stayed there at night and started his journey only the next day. He went to Derbe the next day and preached the gospel there. He went to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch and strengthened the believers there and regularized them into a church, and arranged leaders and elders for them in the churches. Afterwards Paul and Barnabas came back to the city of Antioch who initiated the missionary journey of theirs, and explained to them on how God guided them and used them in the ministry. They also shared with them how God opened the doors for the gentiles and thanked God along with the church people of Antioch. It was during this period the details regarding circumcision and other Jewish customs were discussed at the church in Jerusalem and a solution was arrived at there for those things (Acts: 15:1-29).


Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

(A.D.50 – 52) – Acts: 15: 36 – 18:23


The second missionary journey of Paul was much different from the first one. Even while they were about to start their second missionary journey, there was dispute regarding Mark John, between Barnabas and Paul. Paul felt that since Mark John left them half way through their first missionary journey, he should not be taken with them this time. But Barnabas felt that he should be given another chance. We read from the Bible that there was serious dispute between the two regarding this matter.


   So both of them were separated and they went to different places. Barnabas took Mark and went to Cyprus. But Paul selected Silas and commenced his second missionary journey. Both the groups conveyed the same message “Jesus is the Saviour”, even though they were serving in two different places. Paul intended to visit the people who heard the gospel in their first journey and to strengthen them in their spiritual life (Acts: 15:36). Even if Paul and Barnabas were differing in their intentions, God fulfils His work surpassing all human weaknesses. Paul came to Lystra and took Timothy into his Gospel team. Paul did a wise thing at this place. He got Timothy circumcised, because Timothy’s father was Greek and he wanted Timothy to work with him among the Jews. ‘Circumcision and the Law of Moses do not bring salvation; there is no particular use of observing the Law with regard to Salvation’ – Paul taught on this basis and thus he incurred the wrath of the Jews and suffered persecution. But he still got Timothy circumcised and thus fulfilled the Law.


   Why did he do this ? Is it traditional service to God? Anyway, the Gospel has to be preached. The Kingdom of God has to be extended. It was the main purpose of Paul that souls have to be won for Jesus. Today we find a number of differences of opinion among the churches and the evangelists over unimportant matters or issues.  It would be better if the present evangelist understand which is more important, God’s work or man’s code of rules. We read that the Holy Spirit prevented them from telling the Good News in Asia and Bithynia. This is something we are unable to understand. Paul and his team members might have been discouraged in their spirits on this turn of events. But they waited patiently for God’s guidance. As a result, Paul had a vision at night, at Troas. According to that vision, Paul along with his team came to Philippi of Macedonia. This was a city of Roman dwelling. It was also a trade centre. They came to this place, after getting a vision, with great expectations of opportunities awaiting their mission. But what they confronted was much different from their expectation. Here too, they were waiting patiently for sometime. It seems there were no synagogues in this place, because Paul prayed by the side of the river and preached to the women gathered there, whereas he was preaching at synagogues at other places. Lydia and her household were saved. On another incident, Paul relieved a woman of her evil spirits who had the spirit of divination and was soothsaying. This annoyed her masters because they were facing loss of income due to Paul’s missionary work there which affected their profession. Paul and Silas were beaten black and blue and put in the jail. When Paul and Silas sang choruses in praise of God, God caused a great miracle for them. The keeper of the prison and his household were saved, due to these miraculous works of God. The church of Philippi was most loved among the churches established by Paul. It had a simple, despised beginning. The church was formed by two people (Lydia and the keeper of the prison), who were very different in their background and status (Acts: 16).


  Paul started his mission at Thessalonica in the synagogue, as was his custom. There he taught them through three Sabbath days that Christ was the Saviour and the Messiah and that it was destined by God that Christ should be crucified and resurrected. A number of them (Greeks and Jews) believed the word. But the arrogant Jews started rebelling against Paul. So Paul came to the city of Berea and started preaching among the gentiles. Here too, a great number of people believed on the Word of God. The same Jews who rebelled at Thessalonica came to this place also and started troubling them. So Paul left for Athens with the help of some brothers, leaving Silas and Timothy at Berea.


   The city of Athens was filled with idols. Paul was motivated in the spirits and started conversing with people whom he met in the market place as well as with Jews in the synagogue. There were a number of people like philosophers, the learned, the wise, the scholars and such people in the city. They were thinking light of Paul that he was just blabbering. At the same time they were fond of talking and listening to novel and new things and hence showed lot of interest in such matters. When Paul was speaking about Jesus Christ and His resurrection, and also regarding eternal life, they took Paul to a renowned place, the Mars Hill and asked him to tell more of such things. Paul keeping in mind the facts regarding the city of Athens that it was a gentile community and that they were very knowledgeable people but lacking in spiritual things, gave a very wise and prudent lecture at this place. The speech of Paul at Athens is considered, even today, as a fine model of expounding the Truth regarding salvation and Christ, the Messiah. Some of the great people of that city accepted the Word of God and became believers. However, Paul had to leave that place quite unsatisfactorily.


   Acts: 18 – God opened the doors for the gospel at the city of Corinth. God appeared to Paul in a vision and assured him to speak out the Gospel courageously, and that there were a number of people in that city who could support God’s cause. The city of Corinth was a harbour city; a trade centre;a prosperous city filled with Jews as well as Gentiles. The city was also filled in drunken rivalry and the people were also reveling in carnal pleasures. Here Paul stayed with Aquilla and Priscilla and made an evangelical family of both of them. A number of people were met and a fine church was formed at Corinth due to his powerful ministry of 18 months there. Most of the people were gentiles there and belonged to the lower strata of society. Crispus, the head of the synagogue, believed and was saved. Alongwith his household many Corinthians were saved and baptized.


  The Jews were gathered against Paul at this place and they went to Gallio and accused Paul of speaking against the Scriptures. When Gallio told that these things were concerned with their Scriptures and gods and advised them to settle it within themselves. The Jews thought of attacking Paul through some other means. They started attacking Sosthenes, who was the head of the synagogue and allowed Paul inside the synagogue. Paul still stayed there for some more days and served God’s purpose there. Then he went to the city of Ephesus. He took Aquilla and Priscilla with him and started his ministry at the synagogue there. The Jews at Ephesus asked him to stay with them for some more time. Paul wanted to be at Jerusalem before the feast and so he bade farewell to them and left for Jerusalem. At Jerusalem, he met the church and explained to them of his experiences and all the happenings at the places of his mission visit. Then he came to Antioch and formally finished his second missionary journey.


The Third Missionary Journey of Paul (53 – 57 A.D.)


         The third missionary journey of Paul could be considered starting from the city of Antioch as written in Acts: 18:23. But Antioch doesn’t seem to be the centre of his missionary activities this time, as it was during the second missionary journey.


          In the beginning of the third missionary journey, Paul went around Galatia and Phrygia and strengthened the disciples there. He started a power filled ministry at Ephesus. It lasted for about three years (Acts: 19:1-41; 20 – 31). Due to his ministry at Ephesus, Paul could earn a good standing among the Greek and the Romans. Paul ministered here for three months in the synagogues. He ministered mightily among the gentiles too. He rented the school of Tyrannus for two years and used it for ministry and also as a place of learning of Scriptures. Many of them were touched by this ministry of Paul.  Miracles and signs were caused to the surprise of many. The famous idol worship of goddess Diana was very much affected by the ministry of Paul. Many magicians accepted the Word of God and were repented.  They brought their books and burnt them on the street. People were coming to Ephesus for business, or for religious matters or they were interested in temporal pleasures and rivalries of that sort. Many among them, when they came to this city, came across Paul’s gospel, heard him and became believers. The same people who were converted went to their places and took the Gospel around the countries. But there was continual opposition to the ministry.


  At last, because of the love of money and a plot conceived and activated by Demetrius, the goldsmith, there was a strong opposition gruelling and it evolved into a great rebellion. And the doors were getting closed for Paul’s ministry (Acts:19:23; 20:1).


   Paul was collecting funds for helping the saints at Judah. He started this work at the gentile city of Ephesus (1 Cor:16:1-4). He fulfilled his ministry at the eastern countries and committed the funds to the church at Jerusalem. Paul wanted to sail towards Spain after visiting the believers in Rome (Rom:15:22 – 29). He set sail to Jerusalem through Macedonia. That day, he spent the evening at the city of Troas (Acts: 20:7 – 12). Paul invited the elders of the city to come to the island of Miletus. He explained to the elders who gathered there about the church and on how to conduct the church work. He talked to them of the coming days and the dangers that might befall the church and also about false doctrines. He taught them on how a holy and a model life were necessary to overcome such difficulties. He himself lived and showed a model of his teachings. When he started his journey to Jerusalem, Paul foretold that he would be facing hardship at Jerusalem and that he would have to suffer persecution at every city he would be visiting. Paul was even bidding farewell to them assuming it to be the last meeting of theirs and so all of them were weeping, holding and embracing him.


   When Paul came to Jerusalem, he was well received by James and other apostles, but there was some sort of tension prevailing, at the presence of Paul, in the church at Jerusalem. There was a feeling among the Jews that Paul was teaching people that it was not important to observe the Laws of Moses. So the elders at Jerusalem advised Paul to purify himself according to the Jewish customs and to undertake the expenses of purification for some of them who were marked for purification. This was done to avoid the differences of opinion and to create a congenial atmosphere. They felt that if Paul did accordingly, it would become clear to the Jews that Paul was not preaching the Laws wrongly and the false opinions about him could be avoided (Acts: 21:17 – 25).


   Even though the counseling was satisfying to the Jews at Judaea, there was tension prevailing at Jerusalem church owing to Paul’s presence. So Paul was arrested because of this. While standing at the gates of the fortress, Paul requested the Jews to give him a chance to speak (Acts:21:37 – 22:29). When the Roman captain came to know that the Jews were planning to kill Paul by vengeance, He sent Paul to Caesaria with tight security. At the enquiry held before Felix, the governor, at Caesaria, it was found that the accusations against Paul were baseless and false. However, Felix was prolonging the case against Paul without taking any decision, as he wanted to please the Jews. Felix’s wife Drusilla being a Jewess, he called Paul again and talked to him. When Paul was talking about sin, judgement and resurrection, he was pricked in his conscience and was getting afraid of these truths. He even expected that Paul might bribe him to get released. After two years, he left the place leaving Paul’s matters to be dealt by the succeeding governor.


       When Festus was the next governor, the Jews again renewed their accusations against Paul and were seeking ways to punish Paul. The Jews had already had secret talks with the new governor and when Paul came to know of this, he understood that he won’t get any justice from Festus, the governor. So he appealed to be presented before Caesar (Acts:25:1-12).


        Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice had come to meet the new governor. Agrippa was knowledgable of all matters concerning the Jews. Paul was inquired in the presence of Agrippa, the next day. That time Paul made a fine speech about his faith. He again cited the Scriptures and the promises given in them and explained that all those verses are referring to Jesus Christ and His passion and resurrection and judgement. When Agrippa heard the Truth through Paul, he was disturbed and he dissolved the court without taking any decision. But he declared that Paul had no cause of charges against him (Acts: 25: 13-26:32).


      Paul was sent to Rome during a spring of A.D.60. This was a long voyage. He was sent along with some prisoners and under the head of Julius, the centurion. He had to undergo many difficulties and constrictions at this voyage. But God assured Paul, in a dream, that he would have to stand before Caesar. Though the ship was broken and there was a great loss of food materials and other things, God protected everyone in the ship for Paul’s sake. After the ship wreck, they all reached the island of Melita. God caused some miracles through Paul at the island of Melita and the people of that island could understand the power and greatness of God in them. They continued their voyage after a gap of three months and reached Rome. He was bestowed a number of benefits by the Roman government.  He rented a house for himself and stayed there. He was allowed to meet anyone who came to visit him. Even though this was known as house arrest, Paul did some ministries here, He wrote the Epistles to Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon and Philippians from this place.


       It is believed that Paul was released from this place after two years. There are ample evidences for this. The Roman’s treatment of Paul, and the epistles written from the prison and the special epistles he wrote for the pastors, are all proof for these things. After getting released from here, he went to Ephesus in A.D. 63 and left mission matters to the care of Timothy and went to Macedonia (1 Tim:1:3). He gave charge to Titus to complete the ministry that was started at Crete. When writing his epistle to Titus, he expresses his desire to spend time with him during the rainy season (Tit:1:5;3:12). Paul must have gone to Spain from there. In A.D.64, Christians were facing great tribulations at the time of Nero, the Roman king. Paul was again arrested and taken to Rome, by Nero’s order. He was bound in chains and fetters and shut inside the dungeon. He wrote to Timothy in his second epistle that he was being treated as a murderer or so by the Romans (2 Tim:16, 17; 2:9).


     When he was first judged, he was released and saved from punishment temporarily (2 Tim: 4:16-18). However, he had the premonition that he would not be getting a permanent relief and revealed these in his epistles (2 Tim: 4: 6,7). The Biblical scholars say that Paul reached the death penalty around A.D.66 and 67. According to history, Paul was beheaded by emperor Nero, at a place known as “Path of Austin”.


    Through Paul’s powerful ministry, churches were planted at great cities of that time. By his wise counseling, he elected many youth and moulded and prepared them for continuing the ministry after him. Paul subjected himself fully to the service of God. He expounded the Word of God (Gospel) clearly among the Gentiles. The epistles he wrote to the churches are serving as guides to Christian life and daily practical living, throughout. Not only that, he has given the basic teachings of theology as pillars of the church. The three epistles he wrote for evangelists (missionaries) are considered a scale for testing himself and measuring the life and service of every evangelist. Above all, he made a model of his life to all churches. He is the only apostle who showed himself a model to the churches by declaring,  “As I follow Christ, you too become followers of me” (1 Cor:11:1).


  Paul was not an attractive looking person physically (2 Cor:10:10). But he suffered more than all other apostles, great difficulties and tribulations for the gospel of Christ (2 Cor:11:23 – 27). Moreover, there was a thorn in his flesh, which was giving constant pain to him (2 Cor:12:7). We don’t know what exactly the thorn he meant was. But this weakness of him made him completely dependent on Christ. (2 Cor:12:10; Phil:4:12 – 13).


   Apostle Paul’s life is evaluated by his characteristic greatness and his higher objectives. He was a man of friendly character (disposition), simple and humble. He considered all his benefits and pride as nothing – dust and rubbish for the sake of the gospel of Christ. He was characteristically pious and zealous. We find the zeal on his Jewish religion and then the zeal about the gospel, finely revealed through his life. It was his great faith, which took complete hold of him and guided his life and work. It was the secret of Paul’s life that he lived for Christ, lived by the strength of Christ and guided by the power of Christ. He believed that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. He believed that he could live under any circumstances. Paul has occupied a very high place for himself which cannot be held or filled by anybody else in the history of the church. His life is engraved in golden writings and he is like Abel who “talks even after death”. His words of faith are the fundamental reason for his greatness (Gal:2:20; Phil:1:21; 4:11,12,13; 2 Tim:4:7). These are not empty words. These are paths walked by Paul by faith. They are foot impressions as our model and our guide to follow.



Two Mysteries in the Life of Paul


  1. Was Paul married or not? This is a subject matter being discussed continually.


  1. “ A thorn is given in my flesh “ – This is another thing to be discussed. Various facts are being analysed. However, it is difficult to decide on it and come to a conclusion.





We learned about Paul’s life hitherto. Now let us concentrate on the means he practiced during his mission. We can get these details from the Acts of the Apostles and also from the Epistles he wrote to different churches and believers.


  • His gospel message was always based on “Christ’s Passion, Crucification and Resurrection “ (1 Cor:15:3-4; Gal:1:6 – 12)


2) He worked according to the recognition given by apostles like Peter, who were associated with Jesus’ ministry on the earth (Acts: 11:22-25; 2 Pet:3:15-16).


3)  He sincerely involved himself in the fellowship of the church and the responsibilities given to him by the church (Acts:11:26 – 30). He never failed to have fellowship with church, wherever he went.


4)  He started his Apostolic mission by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and also with the recognition of the church (Acts: 13:1-4).


5) He first initiated the missionary work, mostly, in the synagogues of the cities and towns (Acts:13:5, 14-15; 14:1; 17:1-4). Then he went to the Gentiles.


6) When he finished his missionary journey, he reported in detail about his ministry done, to the churches which sent him (Acts:14: 26 – 28)


7) He appointed elders in the new churches (Acts:14:21-23)


8)  For serious and difficult problems he counseled with the Apostles and elders at Jerusalem church and arrived at solution for them (Acts:15:1-29 – The issue regarding Circumcision and observing the laws of Moses).


  1. They, including Paul, informed the churches about the solutions arrived at, based on the Word of God, given by the Apostles (Acts: 15:22-31). Paul submitted himself to the apostles’ counsel.


  1. He formed a team and did missionary work and he did not work single handedly but under some authority, either church or apostle (Acts:13:1-4; 15:35, 40 – 41).


  1. When he preached Christ to the scholars, he taught them by citing other scholars, thereby he substantiated his defense to establishing the Word of God (Acts:17:18-34; Tit:1:12).


12)  He visited the already established churches and strengthened the believers in faith (Acts: 15:36; 40 – 41; 16:1-5; 20:17-38)


13) He taught the whole counsel of God through the Word of God (Acts:20:26-27, 32)


14)  As far as possible he worked for livelihood along with missionary work (Acts:20:33-35; 2 Thes:3:7-9). Only when  he was in prison, the churches supported him mostly.


15)  He warned the believers about false doctrines (Acts:20:28-32)


16)  When he returned after completing the ministry (missionary journey), he stayed and ministered in the churches that sent him (Acts: 14:26-28; 15:35; 18:22-23). He gave the report of his ministry to the churches which supported his ministry.


17)  He collected funds from different churches and helped the churches which were famished (Acts:11:28-30; 1 Cor:16:1-4; 2 Cor:8-9; Rom:15:25-32). He carried the funds in the company of other believers and not all by himself. So he did not give a chance for anyone to accuse him regarding money matters (and material).


18)  He thanked and blessed those who sent funds to him during his imprisonment and thanked God as well as the churches for helping (Phil:4:10-20).


19)  He trained the young missionaries and encouraged them in the ministry (Timothy, Titus, Silas, Epophroditus, Trophimus, Tychicus)


20)  When he wrote letters (epistle) to the churches, he pointed to their mistakes and admonished them; and encouraged them for their right attitudes and taught them clearly the Word of God (Epistles of Paul – Romans to Philemon).


21)  He referred to the known persons in the churches by naming them (Rom:16:1-15). This was helpful in encouraging the believers and also for showing affection towards them.


22) He selected new places for declaring the Gospel as far as possible (Rom: 15:19-24)


23)  He requested the churches to pray for himself and the ministries (Rom:15:32-33;

 2 Cor:1:11)


24)  He ministered the gospel work purely motivated by the Love of Christ (2 Cor: 5:14)


25)  He made Jesus Christ as his only model and followed him in every way ( 1 Cor: 11:1; 2:2)


       If we make use of these methods practiced by Paul in our ministries, we too can establish many churches today as Paul did in the first century.


Student’s Exercise


  Select any five methods, practiced by Paul, during his missionary work (which you consider best and most suitable). Then, quote the reasons for selecting those methods and explain how you are going to put them into practice in your ministry. Send your written report to the Director, CALS.




  1. Paul’s life and Ministry – Rev. Deva Doss (Tamil Nadu Co-Ordinator, B.B.C.M., Bangalore)


  1. The Mission methods practiced by Paul – Pr.Ravi Kumar (Director, CALS).