Acts - Lesson 12

Acts 18-20

End of Paul's Second Journey and the Third Journey


  1. The student can describe the major events of Paul's stay in Corinth.
  2. The student can track Paul's third missionary journey on a map.
  3. The student can describe the major events of Paul's stay in Ephesus.
  4. The student can connect the third journey with Paul's fund raising efforts described in 1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.
  5. The student can apply Acts 20:7 to Christians today.
  6. The student can apply Paul's message to the Ephesians elders to our churches and lives today.


  1. Have Written Review ready to distribute.
  2. Have Notes/Review sheets ready to distribute.
  3. Have access to a map to trace the journeys
  4. Bibles and pens as needed.


Paul focuses on two major cities: Corinth and Ephesus and uses these to spread the gospel in the surrounding area. But Paul not only teaches, he also collects money from churches to take to the needy saints in Jerusalem, seeking to forge a stronger bond between Jewish and Gentile Christians.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (about 10 minutes)

  1. Check roll, welcome visitors, make necessary announcements.
  2. Prayer and songs as desired: I Gave My Life For Thee; When We Meet in Sweet Communion (Acts 20:7).
  3. In this lesson we will see the conclusion of Paul's second missionary journey and his return to Antioch and then will review major events of his third missionary journey, focusing on his comments to the elders of the church of Ephesus.

Learning Experiences: (about 25 minutes)

  1. Second Missionary Journey.
    1. Looking at a map, let's trace Paul's second missionary journey. Antioch, Syria, Cilicia, Derbe, Lystra, town to town in the area, Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus (passing by), Caesarea, Antioch.) We pick up the story when he goes to Corinth in Acts 18.
    2. Q: Whom does Paul meet in Corinth? (Aquila and Priscilla. The supplemental lesson will be on them if you choose to use it.)
    3. Q: To whom does Paul particularly direct his first efforts in Corinth and how does he try to reach them? (Jews—reasoned in the synagogue—preaching that Jesus is the Christ). Q: When some became "abusive,” what does he do? (Goes to Gentiles.) Q: As Paul preaches Jesus, what does he tell Corinthians they should do? (Many, including Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believe and are baptized.)
    4. Q: How long does Paul stay in Corinth? (Year and a half. The time is in 56-57 AD.)
    5. From Corinth, Paul writes 1 Thessalonians when Timothy brings word from there of some problems. Soon thereafter, while still in Corinth, Paul also writes 2 Thessalonians. Also during this time he writes the epistle to the Romans.
    6. Q: What charge do some Jews make against Paul in the courts? (That he teaches people to worship contrary to the law.) Q: What does Gallio, the proconsul, do with the charges? (Throws it out of court.)
    7. Paul leaves Corinth with Aquila and Priscilla for Ephesus. He leaves them there and sails on the Caesarea and then back to Antioch.
  2. hird Missionary Journey.
    1. Through the region of Galatia and Phrygia strengthening all the disciples.
    2. Q: When Paul reaches Ephesus, where does he first begin to preach publicly? (Argues persuasively in the synagogue about the kingdom of God.) Q: When they become "obstinate,” where does he go? (To the Gentiles, teaching in the school of Tyrannus.)
    3. Q: How many does he reach? (All the Jews and Greeks living in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. This is probably how several of the seven churches of Asia had their start.)
    4. Q: How does God give His special blessing to the work? (Miracles, casting out evil spirits.) Q: How did some show their repentance? (Burned their books about sorcery. Their value was equal to 50,000 day's wages.)
    5. Paul decides to return to Jerusalem but before he leaves Ephesus, what major event takes place? (Riot by the silversmiths. The amphitheater in which this took place still stands in Ephesus in sufficiently good condition that concerts are still held there. This riot is a clear indication of the impact the gospel was having on the city. The temple of Diana, a few remains of which may still be seen in Ephesus, was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Several pieces from this temple are on display in the British Museum.) Q: What do the events in Athens and in Ephesus show about Paul's confidence in the gospel? (He is willing to challenge the best of the Greek philosophers and the best known gods of the Greek/Roman pantheon. Q: What statement in Paul's writings might come to mind in this connection? (Romans 1:16—"I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone who believes.” Q: If we are following Paul's example, what are some things we might do? (Take a stronger moral stand at our jobs and schools, be less afraid to share our faith with our friends and others, be stronger to hold to positions the Scriptures teach us that may be under attack.)
    6. Paul now takes a rather quick swing through Macedonia and Greece and back to Macedonia. Q: What are the purposes for this visit? (To speak words of encouragement to the people. Q: From 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, written before he left Ephesus, and from 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, written from Macedonia just after he had left Corinth, what do we learn was another purpose of this visit? (Collection for the poor in Jerusalem.) Q: What did Paul hope this collection would accomplish? (To strengthen relations between Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians.)
    7. Paul now starts for Jerusalem with the contribution he has collected. His first stop is Troas. Q: What do we learn from Acts 20:7 that can be helpful to us today?
      1. The meeting time for Christians was on the first day of the week. [If the question arises about the time of day they met, this information will be helpful. The typical Jewish way of counting from day to day was to say that the new day began at sundown. The church in Troas appears to have followed that pattern—meeting after sundown and so on their first day of the week. Paul preached until midnight, still on their first day.] 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 corresponds to this and indicates that they met each first day.
      2. A primary purpose for their meeting was to observe the Lord's supper—called to "break bread.” Since their meals typically involved breaking off a piece of their bread (think pita bread) and using it to scoop from a bowl of "dip,” their eating was often called "breaking bread.” As seen in this passage, this expression was sometimes applied to participating in the Lord's supper (unleavened bread) and sometimes to a regular meal. The context can tell us which is indicated.) In our Sunday meetings, likewise, we should give taking the Lord's supper an important place and should help our members to understand its meaning and how to participate well in it. Those who take the supper improperly (unworthily), are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:27).
      3. Preaching was also part of their meeting and Paul used utilized this opportunity to teach them.)
    8. Paul's next stop was Miletus. He sent word ahead to the elders of the church in Ephesus to meet him there where the ship would dock so he could meet with them. His address to these elders is filled with important lessons for us. As someone in the class reads aloud Acts 20:18-35, let each member of the class write on his/her Notes/Review sheet two lessons that he/she could personally use from this message. Then let those who wish to do so share them with the class as time allows.


  1. Item 2 h is the primary application for the class period.
  2. Read Acts 20:36-38. Q: What does this passage tell about how close the ties are within the family of God? Q: What are some of the experiences you could share with the class about when you have felt especially close to Christian brothers and sisters?


  1. Be prepared for the Written Review over this lesson.

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