Auxano Ministry 
By the grace of God I am what I am: 
 1 Cor. 15:10a​
HomeTeaching SeriesArchives InformationFrom the HeartCharts

​Paul’s Third Journey
Part I

Conflict in Galatia

The Corinthians were “babes” in Christ. Another way to say that is that they were immature believers, but they were believers. They were in Christ and condemnation due to sin was gone. Their new Heavenly Father was thrilled to have more children to care for and to bless. God’s family was growing.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Paul ended his second missionary journey as he returns to Antioch in Syria.

Acts 18:22
And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Paul has been gone from Antioch in Syria for about two years. Old friends, familiar faces, a moment to relax, refuel, rest, with family. Whatever the amount of time Paul spent in Antioch in Syria, it had to be refreshing to his soul.

Acts 18:23
And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

Paul spent some time in Antioch in Syria and then Paul, and Silas, and Timothy departed for the third missionary journey. How much is “some time” is undetermined. The best estimate is that Paul began his third missionary journey in 54 A.D.

That Paul went over Galatia and Phrygia in order (kathexes – one after the other, successively), meaning he visited Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia. The purpose was to strengthen, to establish or make firm the disciples, the disciplined ones. But not all in Galatia were disciplined.

I pointed out in earlier teachings the conditions in Galatia as Paul ended his first two visits there. When Paul and Barnabas left Antioch in Pisidia after their first visit, there was pressure from the Judaizers, but the believers were standing strong.

Acts 13:52
And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 14:21-23
And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

From these comments it can be seen there is no need for an epistle that brings the Galatians back to their foundational doctrine of what is taught in Romans. The Galatians are holding the right doctrine and walking in believing. 

Now, let’s consider Paul’s second trip through the cities of southern Galatia.

On this second trip Paul and Barnabas have separated from one another. Silas is now traveling with Paul, and they have added Timothy to their ministry as they went through Derbe. The response to God’s Word has been such that not only are the individual believers strong in God’s Word, but the number of fellowships, or churches, is growing daily.

Acts 16:5
And so were the churches established in the faith and increased in number daily.

Again, this does not leave an open door to correct the Galatians on their failure to follow their foundational doctrine; the number of churches is increasing daily. That is an amazing testament to their believing and commitment to the Word of God that the Apostle Paul has taught them. Further, they must be speaking God’s Word for the fellowships to be increasing in number daily.

Then we come to Paul’s third and final trip through the southern Galatia area. Why do I keep referring to these cities as southern Galatia? Remember, God told Paul not to go into northern Galatia to preach the Gospel of Grace (Acts 16:7-8). 

Later, we see God sent Peter into northern Galatia to preach the Gospel he, and the eleven, received from Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry and what Jesus Christ taught them during the forty days between his resurrection and his ascension.

Matthew 28:19-20
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the [my] name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
(The words in Red are not in the text.)

Remember, Jesus Christ did not know the Gospel of Grace, it was still a secret hidden in God. The gospel the twelve are sent forth with, the gospel they proclaim deals with Jesus being the Christ, that he was declared to be the Christ by God. Then, after being taken by wicked men, who were destitute of the words of God, he was murdered. BUT, but God raised him out from among the dead. 

Peter preached the outpouring of God’s gift of holy spirit and the remission of sins when Jesus Christ physically returns (Acts 3:19-21). Israel is looking for the Kingdom of Heaven, phrased another way, they are looking for the King from Heaven as promised to David (2 Samuel 7:8-14). This is the gospel Peter took to northern Galatia and Babylon, to the diaspora. Why northern Galatia? Because the ten tribes were carried away by the Assyrian Empire and the Assyrian Empire, at its height, extended into Cappadocia. 

1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

Some become concerned about two different doctrines being preached at the same time. One by the twelve apostles and another by Paul. There were two different doctrines being preached when John the Baptist and Jesus were ministering at the same time. Two doctrines, but both brought you to God through Christ. The same is true with Peter and Paul.

Israel is looking ahead to the physical return of Christ as declared in Acts chapter 1 by angels (Acts 1:10-11). This is also what Peter preaches in the early chapters of Acts and in his epistles to northern Galatia (Acts 2:16-21, 3:19-21, 1 Peter 1:5-8,13, 4:13). Israel is the Bride of Christ and with great anticipation they look forward to the marriage feast in the kingdom of heaven, with Christ the King from heaven. They see before them a promise to Abraham of a great nation (Genesis 12:2), a restored kingdom, of the promised land, they see in their future a new and spiritual covenant (Hebrews 8:10-12).

While the Administration of Grace walks in the Kingdom of God now! For the first time since Adam rejected God’s Kingdom (Genesis 3:6), his descendants can walk in God’s Kingdom once again. Due to our new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), through the accomplished believing of Jesus Christ, and our adoption by God (Ephesians 1:5), once again, as in Genesis chapters one and two we have been lifted up above the power of the Adversary (Ephesians 1:18-23) as we exercise our authority in Christ, in God’s Kingdom. (Acts 28:30-31) 

God will return to the Revealing Administration and the doctrine Peter and the other eleven are preaching after the Administration of Grace, the Body of Christ, is gathered unto our Lord.

Both the gospel to the circumcision and the gospel of grace to the Gentiles are growing the Church of God. One Church, two branches. Not denominations, for denominations are divided like in Corinth, while the Church of God is united in following our Lord to his God, even our God. One church, the Church of God but two branches. First, the Bride of Christ and the other branch, the Body of Christ.

Returning to Paul’s third trip in Galatia, we see it is handled in one verse of scripture. We have considered kathexes, in order, but what else is missing that we saw in the first two trips?

Acts 18:23
And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. 

No praise or thanksgiving. No statements about individual growth or churches being added. But the epistle to the Galatians gives us an indication of what Paul encountered on his third trip.

Galatians 1:8-9
But though we, or an angel from heaven [figure of speech hyperbole – an exaggeration], preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

That he repeats himself in these two verses is the figure of speech epidiegesis which means a re-statement. The re-statement is not to give an explanation, but to kindle emotion, or to provoke indignation.1  

Paul wants a strong and negative response, from the Galatians to this other gospel.

Galatians 5:12-13
I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

The phrase, “they were cut off” is the Greek word apokopto. This other gospel called for circumcision. Paul recommends if taking a little flesh is good, why not take the whole thing! Paul is saying the preachers of this other gospel should not just castrate themselves, they should remove their external genatalia completely!

Galatians 5:12
As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
New International Version

Galatians 5:12
I wish that those who are troubling you [by teaching that circumcision is necessary for salvation] would even [go all the way and] castrate themselves!
Amplified Bible

Now you see more of the fulness of the figure of speech epidiegesis, to kindle emotion or provoke indignation.

This is their doctrinal problem; another gospel has been preached, circumcision for salvation, and believed by some. This other gospel has taken root in Galatia, and it is contrary to what Paul has taught. Paul’s gospel is about God’s grace, in contrast to this other gospel which is about man’s works. 

Paul spends part of chapter one and part of chapter two giving his credentials. Paul had no need to provide his credentials in his first two visits.

Galatians 1:11-12
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:6
But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:

How he received the gospel was by revelation and when he did meet with the leadership in Jerusalem, they added nothing to what he was teaching, nothing to what he was taught by revelation. Why? Because God had not given them the Gospel of Grace, it had been given to Paul.

But now, on this third journey into Galatia, Paul needs to state his credentials. Paul even needs to remind them of the bond, the connection that exists between them.

Galatians 4:14-16
And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

They are family!  
They are brothers and sisters in Christ! 

Paul, said of anyone who taught a new doctrine, “let him be accursed.” Accursed is the compound Greek word anathema. We get our English word anathema, from this word. Anathema means, “a vehement denunciation; a curse…”

Then, there is the incident with Peter and Barnabas.

Galatians 2:11-13
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

The word dissimulation, hypokrisis, means hypocrisy. For Barnabas to withdrawal from the Gentiles is especially bad since it was, he and Paul who first brought the Word of God, the Gospel of Grace to this city. But Paul has no harsh words or condemnation, other than hypocrite, for Barnabas in this situation. 

Paul blames Peter for the situation. 

The word “blamed” in verse 11 is the compound Greek word kataginosko. For its definition we will look to HELPS Word-studies; “kataginṓskō (from /katá, according to, down to," intensifying /ginṓskō, "know experientially") – properly, to find as decisively guilty and on the basis of direct, personal acquaintance; specifically condemn by having a first-hand awareness of the facts; to charge as guilty with specific (pointed) facts.”

For Paul to lay the blame at the feet of Peter is completely accurate when you consider what Peter had to say in Acts chapter 15.

Acts 15:7-9
And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Peter knew better than to withdraw from the Gentiles, but he was walking in fear of the religious Judeans. That fear was greater than his love for God. He allowed this fear to override his knowledge of the will of God. It happens. Sometimes the world can temporarily overwhelm a believer, any believer, even one as strong as Peter.

But why was Peter even in Antioch in Pisidia? 

Peter was in Antioch in Pisidia because he was on his way to Bithynia, Pontus, and Cappadocia with his ultimate destination being Babylon. He was going to preach the Gospel of salvation and the coming savior and King.

1 Peter 1:1
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

1 Peter 5:13
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Some have incorrectly assumed the word “Babylon” to be a hidden code word meaning Rome. This false interpretation was started so one group could get Peter to Rome and they could then have their first pope. There is no indication anywhere in God’s Word that Peter ever went to Rome. Peter did, however, have a ministry to the diaspora who had never heard that Christ had indeed come. The greatest population of Judeans, outside of Israel was Babylon, having been carried away by Nebuchadnezzar. 

Like the Judeans from the days of Nebuchadnezzar, Peter never returns to Jerusalem, he will die in Babylon, as he states in his second epistle to northern Galatia.

2 Peter 1:13-15
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover, I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

How did Peter die? We do not know because that is not in God’s Word.

Peter was in Antioch in Pisidia as he traveled to northern Galatia to bring the good news of Christ to the diaspora. Why would certain brethren from James be coming to Antioch in Pisidia? They are coming to travel with Peter to northern Galatia and Babylon. These men are from the elders in Jerusalem with James.

Acts 21:23-24
Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

In Acts chapter 2 those who believed were steadfast in the doctrine of the Apostles, not the doctrine of the elders with James. As the Book of Acts continues to unfold, the Jerusalem council with James drifts more and more into legalism and Judean religion.

Paul does not say Peter started or taught the wrong doctrine, or that he had introduced the doctrine to Galatia. But he made the situation worse by withdrawing from the Gentiles, by being a respecter of persons.

Galatians 2:14-16
But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The first word translated “faith” is pistis and refers to the completed or accomplished believing of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2). The word translated “believed” is pisteuo, the verb form of pistis. The final word translated “faith” is once again pistis and is also a genitive of relation and therefore, is best understood as the individual’s believing pertaining to Christ.

What God has said in Galatians 2:16 is, man is not justified by the works found in the Law of Moses, but by the accomplished believing of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ, that we might be justified by our believing that pertains to Christ (i.e. confessing him as Lord from Romans 10:9-10).

A change in personnel takes place during this meeting and confrontation in Antioch in Pisidia. Barnabas, who was with John Mark, is now, possibly with Paul. While John Mark, who was with Barnabas, is now with Peter.

When Paul writes First Corinthians from Ephesus, Barnabas is used as a positive example. However, his physical location is not given to us. Yet it is important to realize that Paul is once again inspired of God to speak of Barnabas.

Acts 15:39
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so, Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.

From sharp contention to positive example.

1 Corinthians 9:6
Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

After Acts 18:23 John Mark is in Babylon with Peter.

1 Peter 5:13
The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Silas was traveling with Paul on his second missionary trip into Galatia, Macedonia, and Achaia. Silas begins Paul’s third missionary trip with Paul, but now, he also is found in Babylon.

1 Peter 5:12-13
By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

Silas travels to northern Galatia and to Babylon with Peter. What a great blessing this had to have been to Peter, and a great counterbalance to those sent from James and the elders in Jerusalem.

Acts 19:1
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

The Greek word meros, translated “coasts” here, literally means part. After passing through the “upper parts” Paul came to Ephesus, God honoring the promise Paul had given when he was traveling to Jerusalem.

Acts 18:21
But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

It appears it was God’s will as Paul leaves the upper parts, meaning southern Galatia, and goes to Ephesus. Paul will spend the next three years of his life holding forth the Gospel of Grace in and around the city of Ephesus.

​1. Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, E.W. Bullinger, page 397
2.Anathema definition, The Free Dictionary by Farlex, 
3.Strong's Greek: 2607. καταγινώσκω (kataginóskó) -- to blame (

© Auxano Ministry 2022

A Journey through the Book of Acts