Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) – Saint Paul – 266911 – National Trust

What happened to Paul after his conversion were recorded in Acts 9:19-30 and Galatians 1:15-24. When we put the two accounts together we find that the chain of events runs like this.

  • (i) Saul is converted on the Damascus Road.
  • (ii) He preaches in Damascus.
  • (iii) He goes away to Arabia ( Galatians 1:17 ).
  • (iv) He returns and preaches in Damascus for a period of three years ( Galatians 1:18 ).
  • (v) He goes to Jerusalem.
  • (vi) He escapes from Jerusalem to Caesarea.
  • (vii) He returns to the regions of Syria and Cilicia ( Galatians 1:21 ). [1]

After his conversion, Paul remained for a while in Damascus, trying to convince the Jews that Jesus was Lord and Messiah. Part of the next three years Paul spent in Arabia, after which he returned to Damascus. When violent opposition from the Jews threatened his life, he escaped to Jerusalem ( Acts 9:22-26;  Galatians 1:17-18). Most of the Christians in Jerusalem doubted whether Paul’s conversion was genuine. Not so Barnabas. After he introduced Paul to Peter and James the Lord’s brother, the tension eased ( Acts 9:26-28;  Galatians 1:19-20). But attempts by the Jews on his life again forced him to flee. He sailed from Caesarea to northern Syria, from where he went overland through Cilicia to Tarsus ( Acts 9:29-30;  Acts 22:17-21;  Galatians 1:21).

Paul’s next visit to Jerusalem was eleven years later (cf.  Galatians 1:18;  Galatians 2:1). Little is known of those eleven years, though they must have been important years of preparation for Paul’s future work. Paul spent the final year of this preparation period at Antioch in Syria. In response to an invitation from Barnabas, he had come from Tarsus to help the newly formed Antioch church ( Acts 11:25-26). At the end of the year, Paul and Barnabas took a gift of money from Antioch to Jerusalem to help the poor Christians there ( Acts 11:29-30;  Galatians 2:1).

Peter, John and James the Lord’s brother, as representatives of the Jerusalem church, received the gift from the Antioch church and expressed their complete fellowship with the mission of Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles ( Galatians 2:9-10). Paul and Barnabas then returned to Antioch, taking with them the young man John Mark ( Acts 12:25).

Breaking into new territory

Having a desire to spread the gospel into the unevangelized areas to the west, the Antioch church sent off Paul and Barnabas as its missionaries ( Acts 13:1-2; about AD 46). Accompanied by John Mark (who had gone with them as their assistant), Paul and Barnabas went first to Cyprus, where they proclaimed the message from one end of the island to the other ( Acts 13:4-6). [2]