Paul’s First Preaching Mission?

David Christian Clausen

The first-century travels of Paul as outlined in the New Testament Acts of the Apostles help to shed light on the formation of some of the earliest Christian house churches in the world. Certainly Acts uses some fanciful imagery and supernatural events to combine tradition with evangelization but this need not stop us from gaining insight into one of the first organized outreach efforts of the young movement, those sponsored by Antioch and therefore appropriately deemed “Christian.” Acts’ chronology and organization of events may not be entirely trustworthy, however. Reasons exist, for example, for questioning its story of Paul and Barnabas’s join mission to Cyprus and Asia Minor, their first reported trip together.

For one thing, their first stop is said to be the island of Cyprus (Acts 13:4-12). There is no reason to question the Antioch church’s efforts there; it seems to have sponsored several such missionary trips to…

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