"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Friday, August 24, 2007

Appreciating Paul

The Apostle Paul lived during a time when donkey, ship and sandals were the travel mode de jour. He might have dreamed about air travel but those days were still down the road (pun intended). Many recall Paul visited Ephesus, Philippi and Rome but don't remember that Paul also graced Assos, Kios, Rhodes and Patara. And if the names of these odd cities happen to sound familiar to some, fewer yet know how many miles apart they are.

Let's say on Paul's first missionary journey he traveled from Wall Street to Times Square to Central Park to Harlem and back again to Wall Street. Well, he didn't make it out of New York City but he did travel several miles. Hearing of such a trip one would form an opinion about how demanding it may have been and appreciates it to some degree partly based on this limited information. Now let's say Paul also journeyed from Armonk to Chester to Herkimer to Warsaw (NY) and back to Armonk. If you're not familiar with these cities traveled you can't confidently assess nor appreciate the ease or difficulty with which the trip was made. In this latest example Armonk is another city in New York near New York City, and Warsaw is on the other side of the state. Chester and Herkimer are more or less along-the-way cities. In this example Paul would have traveled a few hundred miles.

On Paul's third missionary journey (the "real" one) he did pass through Assos, Kios, Rhodes and Patara. He also stopped in Athens, Greece, Corinth, Tyre and other better-known places of interest. Looking at the map you can tell he went well about two thousand miles, give or take a few cubits and stadia. When one reads about the trip (Acts 18:23 - 21:17) the text imparts greater richness if you familiarize yourself first with a map of the region considering the great distance he traveled.

Now debrief yourself on Paul's trip to Rome (Jerusalem to Rome) and see if the related text (Acts 27:1 - 28:16) imparts a little more umph with you having gained more familiarity with the cities involved and their proximity to each other. Not content with the geographical edge? Add to it topographical and weather information (e.g. see Northeaster- Acts 27:14) to enliven the story even more.

And the distance from Jerusalem to Rome? It's like going from Tampa, FL to Denver, Colorado.

Happy sailing, and walking!


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