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Summary: Luke interrupts his story of Paul’s work in Ephesus briefly in order to tell us about the travel plans of the apostle and then moves on to tell about the riot caused by Demetrius. He explains that Paul’s aim was to visit Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem....

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September 17, 2015

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson: IV.D.3.g: Paul's Statement of His Plans: Jerusalem & Rome (Acts 19:21-22)

Acts 19:21-22 (KJV)

21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.

Introduction

Luke interrupts his story of Paul’s work in Ephesus briefly in order to tell us about the travel plans of the apostle and then moves on to tell about the riot caused by Demetrius. He explains that Paul’s aim was to visit Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem, and finally Rome. The itinerary is a summary of the remainder of the book of Acts. Paul did visit all of those places, but he did not anticipate at this time what would happen in Jerusalem or that he would travel to Rome as a prisoner.

In Acts 19:21, we have the first mention of Paul’s plan to go to Rome. The fulfilling of this plan will be described in the last third of the Book of Acts. Paul would soon write to the saints in Rome and express his desire to come to them (Romans 1:13-15; 15:22-29).

Commentary

21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

“After these things were ended”—that is, these experiences which Dr. Luke has recorded here.

Two-and-a-half years had now passed since Paul arrived in Ephesus on this, his third missionary journey. Paul began to feel that his work in Ephesus was about over. He had no intention of settling down in a resident ministry. Again the Macedonian call was ranging in his soul. Rome beckoned as it had always beckoned him (Romans 1:9-15). Time and time again he had boldly written the name “Rome” on his itinerary. Time and again the Spirit had overruled, but Paul had never ceased praying that God would prosper his plans to preach the Gospel in the imperial city so that he might be a help and blessing to the church there, too.

Not that Paul planned to stay in Rome. His basic missionary principle, not to build on another man’s foundation (Romans 15:20), made such a thought impossible. (According to tradition, Peter had already visited Rome.) There was already a thriving church at Rome though Paul had not founded it (perhaps to his secret and sorrowful regret; how he would have loved to have had that star in his crown). No! Rome would be a steppingstone to further fields. For instance, Spain called him (Romans 15:24, 28)—the most westerly boundary of the Roman Empire. Beyond that his eye doubtless looked to the north, to the Germanic tribes, to the tiny islands of Britain, to the wild, untamed, and untutored tribes beyond the bounds of Roman rule.

Luke’s account of Paul’s desire to visit Macedonia and Achaia corresponds to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 16:5-6, and the plan to go to Rome is in agreement with Romans 1:15 and 15:24. At one point During his Ephesian mission Paul spoke of his desire to carry on a mission in Spain and the western portion of the empire, probably hoping that Rome would sponsor him in the undertaking (Romans 15:24, 28). The phrase “purposed in the spirit” may refer either to Paul’s spirit (AV) or to the leading of the Holy Spirit (RSV).


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