Return to The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul: Understanding his Life, Journeys, and Message

Background and Purpose

The Apostle Paul was God’s messenger and God’s instrument. Through him, God established the Christian Church and much of the New Testament of the Bible, which both remain to this day and will remain into eternity.

This webpage is an attempt to get a connected understanding of Paul’s life, journeys, and, and most importantly, his message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As we study Paul, throughout his life and ministry I hope to learn when (date/year), where he was, a description of the location, what he was doing, to whom he was writing letters, description of the recipients, why he wrote to them, his messages in his letters. My list of questions is here.

I already have a page, titled Chronology and Geography of Paul, which has timelines and maps I’ve pulled from various sources.  The  page you are on now is my attempt at a comprehensive understanding of Paul’s life, journeys, and, and message. The dates below are approximate (c. = circa), and what I’ll consider my best estimate, after consulting various sources.

Page Contents (8 periods of his life):

    1. Birth & Education
    2. Persecutor of Christians
    3. Conversion
    4. First Missionary Journey
    5. Second Missionary Journey
    6. Third Missionary Journey
    7. Arrest, Imprisonment in Caesarea, Trip to Rome, First Roman Imprisonment
    8. Release, Second Roman Imprisonment, and Martyrdom

Birth & Education

  • c. A.D. 5 Born a Roman citizen to Jewish parents in Tarsus (in modern eastern Turkey)
  • c. 17–26 [age 12-21] He was given an outstanding education. By the time he was 21 that he had earned the equivalent of two advanced academic degrees. He was an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin and was raised a Pharisee. He studied the Torah in the Jerusalem school of Rabbi Gamaliel, one of the leading Jewish thinkers of his time. Studies Torah in Jerusalem with Gamaliel.
  • c. 27-29 [age 22-24] Paul a Pharisee.
  • Note the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ: Many scholars believe Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection  were in 30 or 33 AD.  I will assume 30 AD.

Persecutor of Christians

  • c. 30–33 [age 25-28] Persecutes followers of Jesus of Nazareth in Jerusalem and Judea.
  • c. 32 – Present at Stephen’s stoning (Acts 7:58; 8:1)


  • c. 34–36 Converted on the way to Damascus (c. 34, age 29); spends three years in Arabia; returns to Damascus to preach Jesus as Messiah
  • c. 37 Flees Damascus because of persecution; visits Jerusalem. Disciples afraid of him. Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. (Acts 9:27.)
  • 38–43 Preaches in Tarsus and surrounding region (Cilicia and nearby Syria)
  • 44 Invited by Barnabas to teach in Antioch
  • 45 With Barnabas visits Jerusalem to bring a famine relief offering
  • 46 Back to Antioch

First Missionary Journey

  • 47–48 [age 42-43] First missionary journey with Barnabas, to Cyprus and Galatia. John Mark begins with them but departs at Perga (in Pamphylia)
  • 48 Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch. Paul writes Galatians  (or it could have been written later).
  • 49 At the Council of Jerusalem, Paul argues successfully that Gentile Christians need not follow Jewish law; returns to Antioch; confronts Peter over question of Jewish law

Second Missionary Journey

  • 50–52 Second missionary journey with Silas, through Asia Minor and Greece. Timothy joins in Lystra.
  • 50 In Troas: Paul receives a vision to go to Macedonia. Luke joins group at Troas. Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens. Settles in Corinth..
  • 51-52 1.5 years in Corinth.  Lives with Priscilla and Aquila. Writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
  • 52 First visit to Ephesus (in Asia)
  • 52 Visits Jerusalem and Antioch briefly

Third Missionary Journey

  • 53–57 Stays in Ephesus 3 years; writes the letter 1 Corinthians  (and possibly Galatians)
  • 55–57 Travels through Greece and possibly Illyricum (modern Yugoslavia); writes 2 Corinthians (from Philippi) and letter to Romans  (from Corinth).
  • 56 On backtrack through Macedonia, meets up with Luke again.
  • 57 Returns to Jerusalem —and arrested;

Arrest, Imprisonment in Caesarea, Trip to Rome, First Roman Imprisonment

  • 58–59 After arrest in Jerusalem Paul taken to Caesarea for 2 years. Appears before Festus and appeals to Caesar;
  • 60 Voyage to Rome, including shipwreck.
  • 61–62 Under house arrest at Rome; writes letters to Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians,  and Philemon.

Release, Second Roman Imprisonment, and Martyrdom

63–65 Released (63); journeys to Spain and/or Macedonia (Nicopolis); writes letters to 1 Timothy  and Titus.

66 [age 61] Returns to Rome; writes 2 Timothy; martyred