Paul's 3 missionary journeys were very important parts of Bible History. The account of the 3 missionary journeys, and his later being taken to Rome as a prisoner are recorded in the passages below.
The first journey: Acts 13:1 to 15:35
The second journey: Acts 15:36 to 18:22
The third journey: Acts 18:23 to 21:17
The voyage to Rome: Acts chapters 27 and 28
Paul’s First Missionary Journey: Acts 13:1 to 15:35
Acts 13:1-52 NIV
1Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
4The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
6They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10“You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
In Pisidian Antioch
13From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. 14From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. 15After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
16Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! 17The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country; 18for about forty years he endured their conducta in the wilderness; 19and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance. 20All this took about 450 years.
“After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. 22After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
23“From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as He promised. 24Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. 25As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is One coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’
26“Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning Him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have Him executed. 29When they had carried out all that was written about Him, they took him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. 30But God raised Him from the dead, 31and for many days He was seen by those who had traveled with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now His witnesses to our people.
32“We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33He has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm:
“ ‘You are My son;
today I have become Your Father.’b
34God raised Him from the dead so that He will never be subject to decay. As God has said,
“ ‘I will give Hou the holy and sure blessings promised to David.’c
35So it is also stated elsewhere:
“ ‘You will not let Your Holy One see decay.’d
36“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. 37But the One Whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.
38“Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. 40Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:
41“ ‘Look, you scoffers,
wonder and perish,
for I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe,
even if someone told you.’e ”
42As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. 43When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the Grace of God.
44On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.
46Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the Word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“ ‘I have made youf a light for the Gentiles,
48When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
49The Word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Act 14:1-28 NIV
1At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. 6But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7where they continued to preach the gospel.
In Lystra and Derbe
8In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:15“Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
19Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
The Return to Antioch in Syria
21They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23Paul and Barnabas appointed eldersa for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
26From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
Acts 15:1-35 NIV
The Council at Jerusalem
1Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
5Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
6The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14Simona has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16“ ‘After this I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
and I will restore it,
17that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’b —
19“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.21For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
22Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
30So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. d 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the Word of the Lord.
Paul's First Missionary Journey
by Wayne Blank
Paul's first missionary journey (46-48 A.D.) was the shortest, in time and distance, of the first three, but it was nevertheless a very significant development in the history of the new Christian church. It established Paul as a leader in the spreading of The Word of God. He went on to write a large portion of the New Testament (see New Testament Fact File) that we have today.
The journey began from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch (Acts 13:1-4). (Note that there were 2 cities named Antioch - Antioch Of Syria, their starting point, and one in Turkey that they visited). Paul (then still called Saul), Barnabas, and Mark sailed across to Cyprus, some 80 miles (130 kilometers) to the south-west. At this point in time, Barnabas was still the senior member over Paul, who was a relative newcomer after his conversion on The Road To Damascus. That would soon change.
After landing at Salamis, and proclaiming The Word of God in the synagogues (Acts 13:5), they traveled along the entire southern coast of the island of Cyprus until they reached Paphos (Acts 13:6). There, Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted after Paul rebuked the evil Sorcerer Elymas (Acts 13:6-12). It was at that point that Paul effectively became the leader. He was from then on called Paul, rather than his former name, Saul.
From Paphos they then sailed north up to the Asian mainland in what is today Turkey. They traveled the short distance up the river Cestrus to Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13), where Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. It is uncertain why he left, however his young age is usually considered to be a factor. He may simply have become homesick during what became a 2 year mission.
Paul and Barnabas then continued inland for about 100 miles (160 kilometers), up to Pisidian Antioch. Many were converted by Paul when he made his first recorded address there (Acts 13:16-51). Not long afterward however, they encountered persecution from certain people who refused to hear the gospel. After being expelled from the region, "they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium." (Acts 13:51)
After traveling southeast to Iconium, they again made many converts among Jews and Gentiles (Acts 14:1), but they were again persecuted. This time they would have been killed (Acts 14:5) if they hadn't discovered the plot and fled quickly from the city (Acts 14:6).
From there they continued southward to Lystra where they again made converts (Acts 14:8). Unfortunately, the people of the city, who were accustomed to idolatry, went too far in their esteem for Paul and Barnabas, who they proclaimed as "gods." (Acts 14:11-18). Paul and Barnabas quickly tried to explain that they were merely men sent to teach, but it didn't go over very well with a number of the people. Some of the persecutors from Antioch and Iconium had followed them and incited the crowd. Paul was stoned, dragged out of the city, and left for dead. "But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe." (Acts 14:20).
After preaching the good news in Derbe, they then returned back along their entire route, through Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, "appointing elders for them in each church" (Acts 14:23). They then continued southward through the regions of Pisidia and Pamphylia until they arrived at the seaport of Attalia (Acts 14:24-25). From there, they boarded a ship and sailed back home to Antioch, where they had began 2 years before. "On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles." (Acts 14:27).