Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

September 5, 2008

St. Paul's Missionary Journeys


In the spirit of the Year of St. Paul, here is another lesson to help students read and summarize the three main missionary journey's of Paul.

The first missionary journey occurred in 45-49. Paul traveled to Perga, Antioch, and the cities of Lycaonia. The journey established his practice of first proclaiming the Gospel to fellow Jews in the synagogues. When the Jews did not listen, he turned to the Gentiles with the universal message of Christianity.

The second missionary journey followed just after the Council of Jerusalem. It took place from 49-52. Paul went to Asia Minor where he dreamt about a man from Macedonia who begged him to come to his land to preach the Gospel. Paul heeded the dream and the Good News was shared in Europe.

The third missionary journey in 53-58 included the nearly three years Paul spent in Ephesus, the capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor. After Ephesus, Paul again went through Macedonia and Greece before returning to Jerusalem.

Of course there is much more information about each of these journeys for students to glean from reading the Acts of the Apostles. Use the following guideline from This Is Our Church to help the students record more details about each of these journeys.

Paul’s Journeys


First Journey
Read: Acts 13:1–6, 13–15, 42–52; all of chapter 14

Second Journey: Part 1
Read: Acts 15:36–41; all of chapter 16

Second Journey: Part 2
Acts 17:1–22, 32–34; 18:1–22

Third Journey
Acts: 18:23; 19:1, 21–41; 20:1–8, 36–38; 21:1–8


Summarize each of the journeys of St. Paul by answering the following questions:

• What happened to Paul on this journey?
• What places (cities, countries) did he visit?
• Did anyone accompany him on the journey? If so, who? What troubles did he face?
• How did he deal with problems he encountered?
• What did he preach about?
• Given your reading, how would you characterize Paul?
• Why do you think Paul was willing to take on the troubles and hardships of preaching the Gospel?

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