Paul’s Later Life & Ministry

Our best understanding is that Paul was released from minimum security confinement in Rome after about 2 years, when he was approaching 60 years of age.  Clues in his letters suggest that the Holy Spirit may have led Paul to travel to the following places during the next few years — to strengthen existing churches & perhaps to plant more churches.

  • In Romans, Paul twice had mentioned his desire to go to Spain to plant churches there. (It is conceivable that God sent Paul to Spain by means of exile from Rome, just as he had sent Paul to Rome by means of persecution from Jerusalem.)

spain

  • In Philippians, Paul had mentioned his desire to re-visit that church (northeastern Greece).
  • In Philemon, Paul had mentioned his desire to visit his friend in Colosse (southern Turkey).
  • In Hebrews (if Paul wrote that letter), the writer had mentioned his desire to visit the Jewish Christians to whom he was writing – who perhaps were in Rome (Italy) or Jerusalem (Israel) or Cyrene (North Africa).
  • In his first letter to Timothy, Paul mentioned his desire to visit Ephesus (western Turkey).
  • In his letter to Titus, Paul mentioned his plans to visit Crete (the Greek island) & Nicopolis (probably the Greek city).
  • In his last letter to Timothy, Paul reported on the location of three of their friends; Carpas was in Troas (northwestern Turkey), Erastus was in Corinth (Greece) & Trophimus was in Miletus (southwestern Turkey). So it’s possible that Paul had recently visited all three places.

But since we have nothing like Luke’s detailed record of Paul’s earlier travels, we cannot be certain of Paul’s later travels.

Two of Paul’s letters seem to have been written after he was released from prison in Rome & before he was re-imprisoned a few years later.  Paul wrote these letters to young church leaders.

  • One was written to Timothy in the Turkish city of Ephesus.
  • Another was written to Titus on the Greek island of Crete.

timothy titus

A second letter would be written to Timothy — after Paul was re-imprisoned in Rome, while he awaited execution there for the crime of being a slave of Jesus Christ.