Apostle Paul’s Missionary Approach

5297_orgThe Apostle Paul focused his missionary endeavors primarily in areas controlled by Rome, either in Roman provinces or cities ruled by Roman high governing officials. This may be due to his Roman citizenship which would have given him freedom and security in his movements throughout the Roman world. Paul traveled to large cities along the major Roman roads and nautical trade routes. He was committed to preaching the Gospel message to as many people as he could, and so he was primarily focused on breaking new ground, going places that had never been evangelized. He did not want to overlap the evangelization of other missionaries (Polhill 98-99).

When Paul arrived in a city, he went directly to the local synagogues to begin his preaching. This would have been a natural place for Paul to visit considering his Jewish heritage. His strategy was to preach before people who were seeking God and had some prior exposure to the Hebrew scriptures. From the synagogue, Paul would continue his ministry in private homes, like Lydia’s home (Acts 16:40) and Philemon’s home (Phile 2). Paul also used the tent-making workplace to preach the good news (see Acts 18:3). His primary task was to plant Jesus communities in each city and then move on to the next destination (Polhill 99).

Another important missionary strategy by Paul, was his continued nurturing of the churches through letter writing, revisiting whenever possible and establishing other leaders. The thirteen letters attributed to the Apostle Paul in the New Testament are probably only a sample of Paul’s love, nurture and concern for the churches he planted. The Book of Acts depicts at least three occasions where Paul visited the churches that he planted on his first missionary journey (see 14:21-23; 16:1-5; 18:23). The Apostle Paul invested in the lives of other leaders by instructing and equipping them for the ongoing ministry of the churches. These leaders and churches would raise up other leaders and send them out into the world to preach the Gospel and plant more churches, thus continuing Paul’s missionary strategies (Polhill 99-100).

Works Cited

Polhill, John B. Paul and His Letters. Broadman & Holman Publishing, 1999.

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