1 & 2 Thessalonians: Day 1

Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica

by

Today's Text: Acts 16:1-40, Acts 17:1-34, Acts 18:1-5

Scripture Reading: Acts 16:1-40, Acts 17:1-34, Acts 18:1-5

Editor’s note:
The Scripture reading for today is longer than the others and comes from the book of Acts. These chapters in Acts provide context for our study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and give us a foundation for understanding the Apostle Paul’s relationship with this church.

My grandmother had five siblings, and by the time I came along, the six had married to become twelve. I grew up around their vegetable and flower gardens, in their kitchens that smelled of soup beans and cornbread. I listened to them tell stories late into the night, sat by as they played cards amid uproarious laughter, even stood outside in my pajamas after dark as they howled old songs by the light of the moon.

I rarely think of one of them without thinking of all of them. In my mind they were a set—always connected. That’s not to say they were always together over the years. They saw wars and endured moves and raised children in different states. But when life separated them, they built bridges with letters. They wrote letters home from overseas, sent postcards when they traveled, mailed handwritten pages of updates from one address to the other.  Even now that only two of the twelve remain, they write letters to us, their family. They keep us connected still.

Letters encourage in a way email never will. They speak to a part of the soul that social media comments can’t quite reach. When I read the letters from the Apostle Paul to the church at Thessalonica, I hear the earnestness of words written by hand and carried on foot. I hear a weary pastor, a brother in the faith, longing to see his congregation—his family.

Today’s Scripture reading gives us context for our study of the letters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Acts 16 and 17 tell how Paul visited Thessalonica on his second missionary journey—a journey that included many other cities and countless trials along the way. The apostle faithfully preached the gospel to anyone in earshot, and they ran him out of nearly every town he dared enter. But Paul’s work was not in vain because the Holy Spirit was at work. Families of faith formed along his route—one of them in Thessalonica.

Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian believers are like so many of his other letters, filled with instruction on how to live the Christian life. But these letters do more than clarify theology; they are filled to the brim with affection and encouragement for the men and women whose belief in and hunger for the gospel encouraged him, their teacher. Paul wrote to build up his Thessalonian faith family, not with empty platitudes, but with a hope rooted one truth: “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah” (Acts 17:3).

As you walk through 1 and 2 Thessalonians in the coming weeks, read with a heart for the present and an eye to the future. We are here on this earth for a time, connected as sisters and brothers in the faith. But we are only here for a time. The greatest encouragement we have to offer one another is the hope of Christ.

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  • Pua Johnsonķ

    Maybe it was to save them for those cities and people who truly needed to hear from them. You know how God has a plan for each and every one of us, maybe these men were meant to touch the lives of specific people. Who in turn will go out and speak to people and so on so forth, spreading the word of God to as many as they could. So by keeping them away from certain cities, that was to protect them from the harm they may have fell victim to, so that they could spread the word to as many people as possible, touching as many lives as possible. Better then their journey being cut short.

  • Kayla DunkinWolstencroft

    Encouraged by the faith of strong prominent women in these chapters of Acts who accepted the gospel and shared with their households.

  • Traci Brocklehurst

    Paul was an ambassador for Christ! He was not persuaded by popular opinions, but was spirit led.

  • Don’t be afraid to worship and show the love of God that is within you.

  • Kendra Socks

    Will there be a Lent 2018 plan?

  • Tori GraceByers

    Paul is such a fun/challenging man to study in the scriptures. You really get a picture of total faith, even when things look like they couldn’t get any worse. Paul’s faith inspires me every time I read about him.

  • Amanda Henderson

    Not dependent? 4:12. How does that look in America? I know some of you aren’t in America so maybe where you are too. But either way, to not be dependent on anyone….does that mean not be dependent on “outsiders” or people within the church body too. That doesn’t make sense. How can that even happen. Are we supposed to be living like the Amish (admirable people but not always theological sound).

  • Amanda Henderson

    Gabi Love, thank you. Preach verses proclaim clears it up a bit.

  • Robin NHendrich

    I think my favorite part of this passage today is how You see Paul’s faith in action. He went where the Holy Spirit led him and didn’t continue trying to push through a door the Holy Spirit shut. He saw where the Holy Spirit wanted him instead!

  • Briana Nguyen

    Amanda God calls us all to be the hands and feet of His ministry. He has equipped us all with gifts that are to be used for His Glory. When we begin to see jobs other than ministry apart of proclaiming the gospel we start having a split world view of secularism and sacred. When God calls of us the opposite. He calls us to make everything sacred.

    • Amanda Henderson

      I see that. I am still confused on what is mean to “make a living.” We can’t all get paid for that (in money or resources). So what does it mean?

  • Amanda Henderson

    So I have a question from day 3. 1 Corinthians 9:14. Don’t we all preach the gospel. I read some posts about how Paul uses every humans encounter to proclaim Jesus as the messiah and I agree that that is great and something we should do, but than how does this verse fit in. Are we not to have another way of living? Or making income?

    • Melanie

      I think the context of this verse was that Paul was receiving criticism for relying on the generosity of the church to have his basic needs met. At this point he had no other source of income and if not for others sharing with him, he would have been homeless and hungry, which some took exception to. He is not saying that life is for everyone, but for those who are called to preach the gospel full time. For the rest of us, we make sharing the gospel a part of our daily lives, while still making a living in our chosen field. Does that make sense? Anyone with better knowledge/insight, please share!

    • Gabi Love

      1 Corinthians 9:14 “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” Yes, some are called to preach for a living but the key word of the passage to me is “living” from the gospel. The living word of God is our sustenance for our spirit just as water is to the flesh. Those who believe in the Word and are obedient to His word are proclaiming the gospel daily, in their homes, neighborhood, and workplaces. John 4:14 reads, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst, but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water sprinting up to eternal life”.

  • Chelsea Adkins

    I was inspired by how Paul just used every human encounter to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. Like every day evangelism on-the-go. He wasn’t with a missionary company (CMS for example) it was just him actively listening to Gods Spirit. In the areas God has placed us and the people he intentionally allows us to encounter, we should use that was an opportunity to proclaim Christ. I know my friend last week was doing her grocery shopping and she ended up walking away with the number of her check out lady to catch up for coffee and talk about Jesus.

  • Jennifer Lindholm

    I have a random question about Acts 16:6. It says the Holy Spirit forbid them from spreading the Gospel in Asia. I currently live in South Asia. This culture is hard because it’s mainly Hindu and Buddhist, in fact, most of our struggles have been trying to find a church family to connect to, Christians are just so few here. Does anyone have any info about why the Holy Spirit forbade them? And is this possibly a reason why Christianity seems to be mostly absent in this part of the world?

    • Julia

      I think the Holy Spirit forbade them from going to Asia at that specific time because He had a different plan in mind, but they did spread the gospel to parts of Asia at other times. The Bible also says in Revelation 7:9 that people from every nation and tribe will be before God’s throne. And God is still sending missionaries to those areas now.

    • Allyson Morton

      i was wondering about this also

    • Amanda Henderson

      I wouldn’t say that THAT plays into why there are fewer Christians in your area because later in scripture (I’ll try and find it), God does sent people there.

    • Jessie Chatigny

      Here’s a non-Biblical but experience-based guess: sometimes I’ve felt the Spirit moving me “away” from something but in retrospect he had always been moving me TOWARD something. It’s a hard verse to read as someone who is now doing the hard work, so similar to Paul’s in Corinth and Thessolonica, but I think he was called to Greece just as you were called to South Asia and not Siberia or Rwanda. Thank you for the work that you are doing! I pray that your heart would be encouraged and the people in your life would be blessed by the Spirit in you.

    • Jessie Chatigny

      There are also some really good replies to a similar question asked earlier (all the way down)

  • Allison Roberts

    One thing that really stood out to me in this reading was that Paul was ridiculed when he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. It just goes to show that Christians are going to be persecuted or laughed at no matter what year we are in! I see so many comments along the lines of “the Bible is just a fairy tale”, etc., so I just imagine that Paul heard the same things we do today.

  • Anastacia Alvarez

    This definitely shows that even though there were so many people who tried to run Paul out … he could have easily been discouraged or upset but amist all the negative it was worth the few who took Christ into their life and that is what was important

  • Julia Reed

    We just studied Acts 16 in my women’s group at church. Paul had one mission- getting others to Christ. And he was okay with throwing out some of the ceremonial law to achieve that goal, but only if his choices were routed in love. Faith is our foundation, Love is our motivation ❤️

  • Audrey Gonzalez

    Stood out to me how Paul went where God sent him no matter the reception he received. It wasn’t always easy but he immediately followed and acted in faith. I’m convicted to be more in tune to listen to the Lord’s direction on a daily basis.

  • Brooke Swanson

    I was struck by Acts 17:27

    “God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for and find Him, though He is not far from anyone.”

    Just in awe of the situations that brought me to God and the beautiful light that comes from the darkest situations. All a part of His design. All a part of his specific plan for each and every one of us.

  • Lorrie Postnikoff

    Paul was in Athens “before the council”, also known as Mars Hill (beside the Acropolis). Interesting to note that the surface of Mars Hill is stone. It has become incredibly smooth from the winds of time, so smooth that it makes it difficult to stand on. I was there just a few years ago and I still saw all the references to the idols and false gods, all around it. All are crumbling and decaying, truly they are ruins! But the one true God who Paul spoke of, remains the same yesterday, today and forever!

  • Sarah Jannusch

    So excited to start this new study! I had three takeaways from this first reading and I wanted to challenge y’all to think of how you’d answer!
    1. Where is your missionary journey?
    2. Are you devoted to sharing the gospel?
    3. Do you seek your direction from the Holy Spirit?

    • Lindsey Abercrombie

      Thank you for these wonderful thoughts! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Dana Melvard

      I love your questions!! I have my answers-and the challenges they promote!! Thank you!

    • Leslie Shier

      These are great! Thanks for the thought provoking questions.

    • Stephanie Cooke

      I just downloaded this app and it’s so interesting that this is the current community study. I suddenly had a desire brew in my heart over two years ago to track the world. And at the most inconvenient time. We had just started a new business when this happened. Poured tends of thousands into it. I have NEVER wanted to travel nor get on a plane. I’ve never flown in my life. Suddenly my fear of flying was gone and I had such an urge to see the world and other cultures. So I started working toward building a business that would allow us to work remotely. In the last several months missions has stirred up inside of me and I’ve come across different opportunities. I’m wondering if God placed this desire within me to travel and now that we are getting closer if he is leading me in the direction of using our time abroad to further the kingdom. It all started as a desire to see the world, spend more time as a family, get out of the rat race. Now I’m starting to feel led in a different direction or I’m starting to feel a different purpose. How timely to come across this study.

  • I enjoyed today’s reading. In my book my notes reflect that often people contemplated Paul’s preaching and followed it up with questions, communication , and exchange. Sometimes at church I want to ask my pastor questions about what was preached for greater understanding. Often there is no time as second service starts. I look forward to using study time to gain understanding.

  • This sentence from Acts 16:14 grabbed my attention today: “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” I was curious about the Greek word for “opened” in that verse, so I looked it up and just had to share what I found.

    The Greek word for “opened” is “diēnoixen.” It comes from another Greek word “dianoigó,” which means “I open fully.” There was a more detailed definition posted and that one really brought the meaning to life for me: “open fully by completing the process necessary to do so.”

    I feel like God used this to remind me that only He can fully open a person’s heart to receive Him. And not only that, but it is a process. We do our part by sharing the gospel and the word of God as Paul did, but we have to trust God to complete the process necessary to fully open hearts.

    I have several loved ones that I’m praying for. Some have wandered far from God and others are just seeking Him half heartedly. It’s so freeing to know that we can trust in our God to work in their hearts as we faithfully serve Him. I hope this post encourages someone as much as it encouraged me today! God is able!

    • Brittany Ringo

      Hi Kristi! I too have several loved ones that have wandered from God or are not seeking Him with their whole hearts and it is freeing and a relied to know that God has to open their hearts to Him. Thank you for posting this and it is an encouraging thing to pray for God to open our loves ones hearts and that it’s not all on our shoulders…

    • Cori S.

      Thank you for sharing, Kristi!

    • Jo Gistand

      Wow! What an amazing GOD. An open heart surgeon for the believer ❤️

    • Bessie Watson

      Amen, and thank you for this encouragement! Only He can do this work we pray for in the hearts of others!

  • Amy Hickman

    I was excited to start the study today. It’s amazing how many areas of life tie in together with what we are reading from the Word. I am on the committee for our ladies Bible study at church, and we are in the middle of deciding what to study after spring break. Another lady on my committee emailed yesterday to suggest we study 1 Thessalonians. What great timing to dive into this book right now to prepare for possibly doing it in the spring!
    Also, we are covering the book of Philippians in our Sunday sermons right now. We were recently reading the background info for Philippians from Acts 16. And now today we are jumping right in after that in reading Acts 17 about how Paul moved from Philippi to Thessalonica. I love how things work out like that!
    Thank you for all the work you put into keeping the Word of God in the front of our minds through your ministry.

  • Josi Bayer

    Amen!

  • Josi Bayer

    I just noticed how all of these readings show how the apostles followed Jesus example in how to treat and think of women. They share the gospel with women and men alike, and the Bible emphasizes how important and valuable women are in God‘s kingdom (which was a revolutionary thought at that time).

  • Dot Hardin

    Paul is a strong man of God who shares the Good News of Christ, yet he is definitely human. He became “annoyed” with the servant girl, before he healed her. Why does it help me to know that even the strongest of God’s servants have human weaknesses, too?

    • Nicole SantaCruz

      My chruch just started a series of “Confessions of a Pastor” and its so humbling to know we all struggle with the same things.

    • Morgan

      I noticed the word “annoyed” too. What stood out to me was that God worked in that weakness. It’s encouraging that even when I let my flesh take over God can still use it for His glory!

  • Jennifer Vaughn-Estrada

    I think it’s great that this study begins with some contextual readings from Acts, especially since the letters are so short. Thanks.

  • Angela Michalovich

    I loved how clear and concise Paul’s message was in Athens. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with exactly how to share and what to say, but with Holy Spirit guiding Paul’s words it made sense. I love how Paul sort of used their beliefs and objects of worship to engage them (“I noticed an inscription that said to the unknown god”) and turning it around to glorify GOD. He didn’t condemn or criticize them for believing what they did, but just simply said I KNOW God and He is the creator of the universe…!

  • Concepción Jenkins

    It’s precious to me how the Scriptures mention that “not a few women” were coming to faith.

  • Lois Wilson

    I just love reading of how the Holy Spirit was completely in charge of where they went, who they ministered to (even in jail – reminding us that we must see even our trials as an opportunity to let the Light shine in our darkness) and whose hearts were opened and whose weren’t. This SAME Spirit lives in US today

  • Courtney Cates

    Looking forward to doing this Bible study! I’m doing this Bible study along with a Women’s Bible study at my church.

  • Nikki Fuller

    I noticed a couple of times (that I had never seen before) that the phrase “not a few women” I didn’t realize how many women were coming to faith at that time. I love how even during a time when women were not valued culturally that God values them (he always has and still does today)

  • Leslie VanNess

    This is a reminder to me/us that the same Holy Spirt that spoke to and directed Paul and his companions is the same Holy Spirt for me/us today❤️ I do confess that the static of Life distracts me and that I need to be more intentional is seeking the will and direction of from the Father, Son & the Holy Spirt.
    Less of me more of the “3”

  • Stephanie Thorp

    I keep thinking about how Paul’s heart and mind were in tune with Gods leading in his life. Had he stopped listening to God he may have gone to a city that resulted in his death or people that needed to hear the truth may not have heard it.. but he was so in tune with God, that he was able to determine and detect his promptings. How often do I miss what God has in front of me because I am busy with my own agenda?

  • Elizabeth L

    It struck me in the reading today how many different ways we see people receiving Paul’s message. Lydia’s heart was opened by God and she believed. The magistrates in Phillipi ordered them beaten with rods and jailed for the message they shared, yet their message was received by their jailer (and his household) who asked how he could be saved and rejoiced in his newfound belief. In Thessalonica, it says the Jews were jealous and stirred up a mob, yet there were some who believed, along with a great many devout Greeks and leading women. Then the Berean’s “received the word with all eagerness”… and many believed. Finally, in Athens, they were at least willing to hear him speak at the Areopagus because he was speaking “something new”. It’s really interesting to see all the ways our hearts and minds respond to the message of the Gospel- I have gone through some serious struggles in my belief the past couple years and I just pray God would keep my heart tender and open to His message, receiving it with eagerness instead of being resistant.

    • Ruth Lorentz

      So true! As I grew up in the church and became a believer when I was young, I look back and see that there were seasons when my heart no longer trusted, especially during college years, when I could not “reason” my belief out the way Paul was reasoning with his fellow Jews. My prayer is that my heart will always receive and trust his word no matter how culture might try to persuade me otherwise. And that my sons would learn to provide a reason for their belief when challenged.

  • Kerry Campbell

    My first day reading with you (Annie F. Downs sent me), and I’m reading through a bit of a Catholic lens. In a practice called Lectio Divina, we read until a phrase floats up to the surface that is speaking to us as living word. Today, mine was in Acts 17:32 “We will hear you again about this.” I relate to them, hearing the truth over and over in parts of my life, specifically about how I can trust God, but needing to hear it one more time, hoping this time it sticks. In the scripture, we’re told in response that Paul “went out from their midst,” having apparently lost patience. I don’t want to miss my chance. I know I need to just “join and believe”, to take that leap of faith today in a real way, mirrored by my words, thoughts and actions.

  • Becky Cochran

    God opened Lydia’s heart to hear and respond. Lord open the hearts of people today! Let your voice speak through me. Break away the barriers that are keeping people from hearing Your Truth!

  • Christ is our hope!!

  • McKenna Esper

    I am excited to read this 14 day reading plan. This reading and this day showed me that God is always working in my life. It may not look like it at the time but He is. I feel like I am at a standstill moment in my life and I was so worried that I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose and I need to just focus on God because I know that He has an amazing plan for my life to serve Him.

  • Amanda Henderson

    Are we supposed to mimic this way (as Paul did) of spreading the Good News in our churches today?

    • Linsey Peterson

      I think everyone is called to spread the Good News of Christ in some way, but not all have the gift of teaching and instruction as Paul did—we each have been given gifts by the Holy Spirit to spread the Good News in a way that fits the personality that God gave us!

    • Leslie Clement

      I think so…I’m seeing that he “reasoned” from the scriptures in places where he knew God’s Word was known as well as in places where it wasn’t. So my take is we need to know God’s Word and we need to use his word when we try to “reason”/share/witness to others.

    • Rachel

      Some are called to plant churches – but some are also called to be members of a local church. If everyone was like paul we wouldn’t have any churches – just a bunch of pastors! Some of us need to be Dionysius, Damaris, Pontus, Priscilla, Lydia’s! Faithfully follow where God has called you in this season, where he has placed you and use the gifts to bless and serve your local church!

    • Bonne Nagle

      We’ve started to share the Good News based on Acts 1:8. Locally in our city, then states, then nationwide, then worldwide.

    • Annie Croft

      I would actually say, probably not. First, Paul was ministering in Jewish Synagogues in much of this passage. This was a very unique time in our history as Christians. Jesus was being proclaimed and the Jews had to decide if they wanted to believe he was the Messiah or not. So if you happen to have a Jewish Synagogue close to you that you would like to attend and discuss Jesus with the leaders, then this type of ministry may work for you.
      Second, he was preaching to many people who have NEVER heard of God or Jesus before (Athens). If you are in the U.S., most people know about Christianity. They may have totally misconstrued ideas about God and Christianity, but they have heard of it. Because of that, I think that God directs each us with his Holy Spirit on ways to witness to our current culture and area. We can use Paul’s example as motivation and encouragement for witnessing though. Someone earlier referenced Acts 1:8- “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” In this passage we are certainly reminded that we need to be witnesses for God. Just like Paul, we can share our stories, we can share with others about how God has changed our lives. Paul also regularly eats and spends time with other believers and I think that is something that we can learn from as well. Wow- sorry- that got way long!

    • Kelly Schulz

      Leslie Clement, AMEN!!!

  • Kelly Chataine

    These readings got me thinking of those that brought God’s plan of salvation to my ears and heart. Thank you, Grandpa Harbaugh and Pat, my bus driver. God be praised and His message spread through each believer, not in action only but also in the spoken truth.

  • I heard a pastor/missionary talk about what I believe to start in Acts 17:26 that we read today. He said people question God and why He lets things happen. He said that through scripture (and I’m sure the Holy Spirit) that God put everyone where they should be and the circumstances they endure at the perfect time for them to most be able to accept Him, Jesus, and be saved! Wow! We don’t understand, but He knows each heart intimately. His will is that none should perish! This gave me such a peace! By the way, we question why people are starving. There is plenty of food, but we are to be God’s hands and feet. Corruption and greed can also prevent people providing. A man from Africa told me the millions that are spent on costumes for animals to wear on Halloween. Imagine if people chose to help others. I know I’m not talking about everything from the reading, but when reading Acts it reminded me of what the missionary said and how great and sovereign God is!

    • Kelly Chataine

      Yes, that is what God does. When my husband fell and spent 5 1/2 weeks in ICU, I proclaimed our faith to the doctors, nurses and I blogged about God’s work in our life. Then when he was moved to rehab, two hours from our home, I was determined to tell everyone that entered his room about Jesus. God’s Spirit provided me with the courage to proclaim. Through our extreme situation, God’s plan of salvation was shared with many. My husband is now home and continues to recover.

      • AliceV

        Kelly- I hope and pray that your husband is continuing to recover from his injury and that the Lord is strengthening and encouraging you. Blessings to you today.

  • Reading through Acts 16, I noticed that there’s a point of view switch in verse 10 to 20. The POV switches from 3rd person to 1st person and back. Anyone have any idea why this is?

    • Meredith

      In Verse 10, Luke, the author of Acts, joined Paul, Silas and Timothy.

    • Samantha

      There is a footnote in my bible that says “Luke, the writer of this book, here joined Paul and accompanied him on his journey.”

    • Kelly

      Hi Molly. The note in my Life Application Bible states: the use of the pronoun we indicates that Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke and of this book, joined Paul, Silas and Timothy on their journey. He was an eyewitness to most of the remaining incidents in this book.

    • Molly

      That makes a lot of sense! Thanks, everyone!

  • Churchmouse

    My father was a man of contradiction. He was not an overly affectionate man. He was not one given to spontaneous hugs or an expressive “I love you.” That was not him and it made me a bit sad all my life as I tend towards being both. But when I went all 30 miles away to nursing school he wrote me one letter nearly every week. My mother never wrote, no doubt too busy caring for my five brothers and two sisters. His letters were short and described daily family events, nothing earth- shattering and none with profound or lofty encouragement. But he always signed them “love, Dad” and that was my favorite part. So hand written letters are poignant to me. There’s a permanence to them because they can’t be erased with a quick press of a delete button. The penmanship is somehow personal in a way the type written word is not. My dad’s letters are treasures now since he has died. How too are these letters written by God to us through Paul. Personal. Poignant. Permanent. And signed with love. I am eager to read them with all of you.

    • Laura

      That’s a lovely story.

    • Nads

      I love that.

    • ~ B ~

      I never heard my father say that he loved me until I went away to college. I always knew, he was a wonderful father, but hearing it and like you seeing it in writing, was blissful. I can so relate to this. So beautiful, Churchmouse.

    • Mari

      My daddy, wasn’t affectionate either. However his actions and words were enough for me. He loved Jesus with his whole heart! He was a very quiet and a “gentle” man. Everyone loved him. I miss him so much! And most important he loved to tell others about Jesus!

  • Kristen Clavey

    Why would the Spirit of Jesus not allow them to speak in certain areas?

    • Kirsten LaShure

      Maybe to prevent persecution? I’m also unsure, but that could be a reason.

    • Lori Lalonde

      My guess would be that God knew it could mean their lives would be sacrificed and he had a long purpose for Paul’s life. To me this is very similar when Joseph was directed to flee to other cities with Jesus to protect His life. It is a beautiful thing to be lead by the Holy Spirit!

    • Kaitlyn Reed

      Yes, what Lori said! God’s purposes may have been greater than even Paul himself could understand, but he trusted God’s direction. My hunch is that it was to avoid persecution to the point of death, or the time for that specific area just hadn’t come yet.

    • Leslie Clement

      I know that God’s timing is always perfect. As i read about the people who were evangelized, i have to believe that God knew their hearts were ready to receive his message. Perhaps it was those people that grew the church so Paul’s evangelization had greater effect in those areas.

    • Stephanie Mann

      Paul does later return and preach in that area, so I agree, maybe God knew their hearts weren’t ready, or that there was a more pressing need in Europe at that moment. If I understand the commentary I read correctly, Pauls arrival in Europe was the 1st time the gospel had ever reached them, how amazing!

    • Christine Balgord

      God is all knowing. He would know if the time wasn’t right and lead Paul somewhere else where people were ready to hear his message. Our lives are like this too. God knows what is best and will direct our paths if we pray and listen like Paul.

    • Kristen Clavey

      Thanks! These suggestions are all helpful.

    • Lucila

      The Holy Ghost that is, God has always a plan for each thing we do. Even in moments of sharing the Gospel, God has a plan for. Sometimes God puts limitations for a specific reason, just like in that case with Paul. The specific reason He didn’t let Paul in those certain areas I don’t know, but what I do know is that Paul listened to him and fulfilled his porpose, even after all the things he had to go through and the doors that closed in his face.

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