In the Steps of Paul: An Illustrated Guide to the Apostle's Life and Journeys

Overview

As companion volume to In the Steps of Jesus, In the Steps of Paul continues to present a visually stimulating tour of the cities, towns, and regions that the apostle Paul visited and ministered in as recorded in the New Testament. Each location is addressed separately and includes such locations as Damascus, Tarsus, Antioch, Cyprus, Pamphylia, Galatia, and Athens. Full color photos, maps, and charts bring to life the missionary journeys of the apostle who brought the gospel of Christ to the gentiles. Few people ...

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0310290651 As companion volume to In the Steps of Jesus, In the Steps of Paul continues to present a visually stimulating tour of the cities, towns, and regions that the apostle ... Paul visited and ministered in as recorded in the New Testament. Each location is addressed separately and includes such locations as Damascus, Tarsus, Antioch, Cyprus, Pamphylia, Galatia, and Athens. Full color photos, maps, and charts bring to life the missionary journeys of the apostle who brought the gospel of Christ to the gentiles. Few people will ever be able to visit in person the locations illuminated in this volume. With every page, the reader will gain greater insight into the history, geography, and unique features of these historic, biblical places. A must have reference book for those interested in the study of the New Testament and the life of Paul.Editorial ReviewsAbout the AuthorThe Revd. Peter Walker is a tutor in biblical studies at Wycliffe Hall within the University of Oxford. In addition to leading many tours to the Hol ... Read more Show Less

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Overview

As companion volume to In the Steps of Jesus, In the Steps of Paul continues to present a visually stimulating tour of the cities, towns, and regions that the apostle Paul visited and ministered in as recorded in the New Testament. Each location is addressed separately and includes such locations as Damascus, Tarsus, Antioch, Cyprus, Pamphylia, Galatia, and Athens. Full color photos, maps, and charts bring to life the missionary journeys of the apostle who brought the gospel of Christ to the gentiles. Few people will ever be able to visit in person the locations illuminated in this volume. With every page, the reader will gain greater insight into the history, geography, and unique features of these historic, biblical places. A must have reference book for those interested in the study of the New Testament and the life of Paul.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310290650
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

The Revd. Peter Walker is a tutor in biblical studies at Wycliffe Hall within the University of Oxford. In addition to leading many tours to the Holy Land he has studied classics and early church history at Cambridge University and has done extensive research at the post-doctorate level on Christian attitudes toward Jerusalem.

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Read an Excerpt

In the Steps of Paul

An Illustrated Guide to the Apostle's Life and Journeys


By Peter Walker Zondervan

Copyright © 2008 Peter Walker
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-29065-0



Chapter One

Damascus

[Saul] went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way-he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." So [his companions] led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!-Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul."

Acts 9:2-6, 8-11

Drama on the road

A young, bearded man, perhaps in his late twenties, is making his way to a foreign city. He is a man with an agenda-right now he is planning what to do once inside the city's gates. Some people there will regret the day he arrived, but that doesn't matter. They should have thought of that before joining this new "messianic" sect-thiswretched so-called "Way"!

This earnest Law student, plotting his strategy under his breath, is approaching the end of an arduous, 150-mile- (240-km-) long journey, which began in Jerusalem nearly a week ago. He set out with several companions, and ever since they've been riding their mules by day and camping under the stars at night. Some of them are soldiers, ready to help him take some prisoners, and he's asked one of them to carry the all-important "extradition warrants".

The day before yesterday they were beside Lake Galilee, travelling along the Via Maris through a tiny village called Capernaum. But now, after making their way over the bleak, volcanic hills of Gaulanitis, they are at last travelling downhill. The massif of Mount Hermon is now behind them away to their left, but there in front of them, less than 10 miles (15 km) towards the north-east, set in a plain amid some low hills, is their destination-the capital of Israel's ancient Syrian enemies, the trading city of Damascus.

The oasis city certainly looks attractive in the piercing heat of the noon-day sun. He's never been to this "pagan" city of commerce before, but this pernicious teaching about Jesus of Nazareth must be "nipped in the bud" before it spreads any further. In a strange, sinister way he is rather looking forward to this assignment. Perhaps even by bedtime tonight he will have caught red-handed some followers of this dangerous "Way". Success here will surely not go unnoticed by the bosses back home.

But what happens next is something totally unexpected and undesired, something that turns his tiny world upside down and inside out. He is encountered, so Luke asserts, by the risen Jesus. The very person whose followers he is going to arrest now appears to him and speaks directly to him by name. Almost speechless with fear, dreading the truth that this might indeed be that impostor Jesus, he falls to the ground before the one whose name he has hated, the object of his righteous anger and zeal.

We are witnessing here the "conversion" of Saul, the Jew from Tarsus-known to later history and to us as the "apostle Paul". (From this point on we shall refer to him by his Greek name, "Paul".)

Christ on the road

It is a powerful story. A "Damascus road experience" is a phrase used in many different contexts-political or religious-to describe a sudden change in a person's beliefs or direction. But for Luke (the event's narrator in Acts) this was a change that the individual concerned neither desired nor effected. It was done to him; it came from outside.

It was also, for Luke, yet another instance of something strange happening on a "road" outside a capital city. The climax of Luke's first volume (his Gospel) was the account of the risen Jesus appearing to some of his followers on the Emmaus road outside Jerusalem. Now, as Luke launches what will become the major focus of his second volume (the adventures and mission of Paul), he is compelled by the facts to begin in the same way: the risen Christ appeared to Paul. We won't begin to understand Paul, says Luke, if we don't reckon seriously with this surprising idea-the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. No risen Christ, no Paul. The story of Paul, then, more deeply, is the story of the risen Jesus at work through his servant. In following the "steps of Paul", if you like, we find ourselves once again tracing the steps of Jesus'-but in a different mode.

So this road outside Damascus is where we too have to begin as we follow In the Steps of Saint Paul. Paul's earlier life had taken him from Tarsus to Jerusalem (see pp. 34-35), but Paul would have seen those earlier days as no true life at all: "whatever was to my profit", he wrote many years later, "I now consider loss for the sake of Christ" (Philippians 3:7). If we wish to understand what made him tick, we have to start here-nowhere else ñ on the trade route approaching Damascus. It is indeed a strange place, but then Paul himself would have been the first to agree!

Damascusí biblical background

Damascus was a city with a long history, going back nearly two millennia. Endowed with two main rivers (the Abana and the Pharpar), which brought water down from the "anti-Lebanon" mountain range to the north-west, it was indeed a welcome oasis. Anyone travelling towards the Mediterranean from the Fertile Crescent to the East would, almost of necessity, pass through Damascus. It was the natural gateway for anyone taking trade to the coast or down to Egypt. Meanwhile, for those coming from the land of Israel, Damascus was the natural goal of the Via Maris (the "Way of the Sea")-the first city you encountered as you travelled over what we now know as the "Golan Heights".

Of all the places we shall visit, Damascus is the only one that has any real significance within previous biblical history, being mentioned in episodes associated with Abraham, David, Solomon and kings of the northern kingdom of Israel such as Ahab and Ahaz (see p. 24). For our purposes, however, perhaps the most intriguing biblical story associated with Damascus is that of Naaman, a Syrian army commander in the era of the prophet Elisha, who suffered from leprosy and travelled in the hope of finding a cure. When told by Elisha (not directly, but via some messengers) to wash seven times in the River Jordan, he was affronted, thinking he could have saved all this travel by washing instead in the much better Abana and Pharpar rivers back in Damascus. But, persuaded by his servant (who recognized his master was reacting in pride), Naaman did what Elisha had instructed: washed himself in the Jordan and was healed. His skin, we read, "was restored and became clean like that of a young boy" (2 Kings 5:14).

The story has parallels with Paul's: against his wishes, a proud man is humbled by the gracious act of Israel's God, and then receives physical healing; and this all happens, humiliatingly, under the gaze of "servants" who witness what their leader goes through. In Paul's case, however, he was not a Gentile person travelling towards Israel, but instead an Israelite going out to a foreign nation.

The colony in a foreign land

By the first century AD, Damascus would have been home not just to people of Syrian background but also to many Greeks and Jews. There was a substantial Jewish colony here in the first century AD ñ the nearest such colony outside the borders of historic "Israel". As such, it was a natural first choice both for Jesus' first followers (wishing to spread their message) and for Paul (desiring to rein in this contagious new sect).

Some suggest that Paul's journey to Damascus (recounted by Luke in Acts 9) may have taken place up to seven years after Jesus' resurrection (itself probably in AD 30). It is more likely that it occurred in the first couple of years (c. AD 32). There is no real reason why the events mentioned in Luke's previous chapters (Acts 5-8) could not have occurred in the first year or two of the church's life. Regardless of the precise date, however, what is remarkable is that the message about Jesus had already been taken to Damascus (with news of this then being reported back to Jerusalem). There was clearly something sufficiently sensational about Jesus that people wanted to share with others far and wide. This rapid spread of the message about Jesus (going out beyond the historic borders of Israel) then becomes further evidence for Jesus' resurrection. For a message about a merely crucified (and therefore failed) messiah would have offered little to anyone happily settled in Damascus' Jewish colony. If Jesus was simply a holy man and a great teacher, so what? It was only the resurrection that suddenly lifted Jesus' messiahship onto a whole new level ñ with implications for people far away from Jerusalem.

Detecting motives: Paul and the high priest

We can only speculate as to what exactly Paul was doing in Jerusalem at this time (see p. 35) and why he was entrusted with this delicate task by the chief priests. Was he the most capable Torah student in the city, or the most nationalistic? Paul may have been, as we say, "ahead of his class"; but in two later descriptions of his "previous way of life" he twice highlights his "zeal". Within a few years the name "Zealot" would be coined to describe those ardent Jewish nationalists who wanted to take God's law into their own hands and take up arms against the Roman overlords to fulfil God's prophesied purposes for Israel. Perhaps, then, Paul's Pharisaism was deeply coloured by this nationalistic agenda.

There were two main schools of Pharisaism: the strict Shammaites and the more moderate Hillelites. What, then, if the young Paul in his zeal identified with the Shammaite school? And what if that strand of Pharisaism was fiercely nationalistic-zealous for political independence? This would fit well with the wording of some of Paul's later speeches when, for example, he states that he "lived as a Pharisee, according to the strictest sect of our religion" (Acts 26:5). So Paul's particular brand of Pharisaism may have played its part in making him something of a hot-head-both in religious terms and in more overtly "political" ones.

This might then only have made his anger at this new messianic movement all the more heated. For not only were the first followers of Jesus being almost blasphemous in their exaltation of Jesus as "Messiah"; they were also effectively undermining this all-important nationalistic cause. In effect, they were saying that Israel should be grateful for being sent a non-political messiah. Quite possibly, too, they may already have begun welcoming Gentiles into their new messianic movement, thus compromising the political boundary lines of Israel. Paul himself was probably quite keen on Gentile "proselytism"-that is, bringing people into the nation of Israel. But this would have involved their being circumcised. What he could never have countenanced was a movement that brought people in as uncircumcised Gentiles. No wonder, in Luke's memorable phrase, he was "breathing out murderous threats" against any followers of this Jesus (Acts 9:1).

And why was the high priest getting himself involved? All becomes clear if this was Caiaphas (the chief priest who, a few years earlier, had put Jesus on trial). For his determination to root out this Jesus "heresy" would be fuelled by personal anger-that Jesus' followers were saying that he, Caiaphas, had been involved in the execution of Israel's Messiah. In any event, this despatching of Paul comes across as a fairly desperate strategy, showing the evident threat that this new sect was posing. For it probably represented a significant overplaying of his prerogatives. After all, Damascus was a foreign city under the authority of King Aretas IV; so it was highly unusual-perhaps even quite a risk-to be extraditing some of the king's citizens.

Paul's conversion in later Christian thought

Paul's experience on the Damascus road has almost always been referred to as his "conversion"-even though this term is not used by either Luke or Paul himself-and has often been held up as the definitive version of genuine "conversion". Such dramatic "conversions" do occur; many people, however, go through a process far less dramatic or sudden.

The New Testament writers are clear that there is a vital distinction between belief and non-belief; they are far less prescriptive about how any one individual may cross over that line. Their refusal to use Paul's experience as the necessary paradigm can then bring reassurance to many who can be troubled that they have never themselves had such a "Damascus road experience"; seeing a "blinding light" is not the only way people meet with Christ by faith.

A unique event

The New Testament refuses to use Paul's conversion in this way precisely because it was unique. Paul claimed it was the last of the never-to-be-repeated resurrection appearances granted by the risen Jesus to his apostles (1 Corinthians 15:8). Although it occurred in a different time and place from those other appearances, there is evidence that the other apostles recognized it as such (Acts 9:27; 1 Corinthians 9:1). Moreover, in this event Paul received a unique calling-to be the ë apostle to the Gentiles' (Romans 15:16).

There are other ways in which Paul's conversion was highly unusual. These have more to do with the fact that Paul himself had become such a unique individual-a learned Pharisee, zealous to the point of extremism, now suddenly brought to his knees. The Jewish persecutor becomes the Christian apostle. It is a story, then, which speaks of other major themes: the triumph of divine grace; the vanquishing of a human will; the conquering of human pride.

Paul's prior problems?

In recent years Pauline scholars have asked whether Paul's conversion also speaks about the way a tortured, questioning soul finds a sudden resolution to its seemingly hopeless problem. Two of the church's greatest theologians, Augustine (AD 354-430) and Luther (1483-1546), both experienced years of self-questioning before they had a life-changing encounter with the truth of Christ. Was this what Paul also went through?

Many have thought so, suggesting that Paul was secretly anxious about his spiritual state, perhaps despairing of his sins and becoming disillusioned with the Torah as a means of solving this inner conflict. They see Paul as beset by a "plight" which then found a glorious "solution" in Christ-hence his delight in the message of God's forgiveness and his (sometimes strong) criticisms of the Law (Romans 3:20). Did Paul criticize the Law because of his own earlier struggles, finding that it could not make him righteous but only revealed to him his sin?

Intriguingly, however, Paul's own references to his former life speak strongly against this reconstruction. "As for legalistic righteousness," he says, he was "faultless" (Philippians 3:6); "I was once a blasphemer, a persecutor and a violent man" (1 Timothy 1:13). These phrases suggest someone who had a robust conscience, with little awareness that anything was amiss. If so, Paul's inner life was not secretly unravelling; there were no feelings of inner turmoil or desperation that might have been propelling him towards Christ, finding in him their resolution; on the contrary, he was moving "full steam ahead" in the opposite direction.

If you like, then, it was not until he was confronted by the "solution" offered by Christ that he realized the "plight" he was in. And this "plight" was not just his own total "ignorance and unbelief" (1 Timothy 1:13), but also the plight of the nation of Israel (in danger of missing her messiah, using the Law wrongly and failing to see God's purposes for the Gentiles). If God's covenant purposes entailed the crucifixion of Israel's messiah, then evidently something had gone radically amiss; and he, despite his great learning, had evidently totally "missed the plot" as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures. Paul was thus sent back by Christ to re-evaluate everything from scratch.

Yet, not everything was therefore dismissed. A further reason why the word "conversion" can be misleading is that it might imply that Paul therefore jettisoned everything he had previously believed. In fact, of course, his fundamental framework never changed. He was always an ardent believer in Israel's covenant God and radically opposed to idolatry. What was new was the content within this framework-it had been filled with the realities of God's Spirit and the risen Jesus. In this sense Paul's "conversion" might better be called a "transformation".

(Continues...)



Excerpted from In the Steps of Paul by Peter Walker Copyright © 2008 by Peter Walker. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................7
Map of Paul's journeys....................89
Key dates: The Roman world....................11
Paul's letters: date and location....................12
Key dates: Luke and Paul....................15
1. Damascus....................18
Drama on the road....................18
Map of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria (satellite image)....................19
Paul's conversion in later Christian thought....................20
Key dates: Damascus....................24
Damascus today....................26
Plan of modern Damascus....................27
Visiting modern Syria....................28
2. Tarsus....................32
Reflections at home....................32
Key dates: Tarsus....................38
Tarsus today....................39
Visitors to Asia Minor: past and present....................40
3. Antioch on the Orontes....................43
City of commissioning....................43
Key dates: Antioch....................47
Antioch after the New Testament....................50
Antioch today....................51
4. Cyprus....................54
First adventures....................54
Map of Paul's first "missionary journey"....................55
Plan of ancient Paphos....................57
Key dates: Cyprus....................58
Cyprus Today....................59
Plan of ancient Salamis....................59
Barnabas and the Byzantines....................60
5. Pamphylia....................66
Divergent paths....................66
Map of ancient Pamphylia's southern coast....................66
Key dates:Pamphylia....................70
Pamphylia today....................72
Plan of ancient Perga....................73
Visiting modern Turkey....................74
6. Galatia....................78
Into the interior....................78
Paul and Thecla....................82
Map of Asia Minor's road systems....................84
Key dates: Galatia....................85
Galatia today....................86
Plan of ancient Pisidian Antioch....................87
7. Macedonia....................92
First steps into Europe....................92
Paul's developing strategy....................93
Map of Paul's second "missionary journey"....................98
Key dates: Macedonia....................101
Macedonia today....................102
Plan of ancient Philippi....................104
Plan of wider Philippi area....................105
Plan of ancient sites in Thessaloniki....................107
8. Athens....................108
At the centre of culture....................108
Key dates: Athens....................113
Visiting modern Greece....................114
Athens today....................117
Plan of ancient Athens....................117
9. Corinth....................122
A cosmopolitan city....................122
Map of Corinthís ports and the isthmus....................125
Key dates: Corinth....................126
Later news from Corinth....................128
Corinth today....................130
Plan of ancient Corinth....................133
10. Ephesus and Miletus....................135
Teaching and farewells....................135
Key dates: Ephesus and Miletus....................140
Aegean ports of call....................142
Map of Paul's third "missionary" journey....................143
Ephesus and Miletus today....................144
Plan of ancient Ephesus....................146
Ephesus and the two Johns....................147
Plan of the wider Ephesus area....................151
Plan of Miletus' harbour area and its ancient coastline....................152
11. Jerusalem....................154
In the Masters Steps....................154
The collection for Jerusalem....................155
Key dates: Jerusalem....................162
Jerusalem today....................163
12. Caesarea....................166
Place of waiting....................166
Key dates: Caesarea....................170
Caesarea today....................172
Plan of ancient Caesarea Maritima....................173
13. Malta....................175
Haven from shipwreck....................175
Ancient sea travel....................176
Map of Paul's final journey towards Rome....................178
Malta today....................181
Key dates: Malta....................181
Plan of St Pauls Bay....................182
14. Rome....................186
The goal at the centre....................186
Map of Pauls final approach to Rome....................187
Plan of ancient Rome....................191
Key dates: Rome....................192
The developing church in Rome....................195
Rome today....................196
Visiting Rome today....................198
Epilogue....................204
Further Reading....................206
Index....................207
Picture Acknowledgments....................214

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