I DIDN’T REALIZE IT, but the apostle Paul was a traveling man long before he logged those 10,000 miles (16,000 km) on his missionary trips.
I didn’t fully get that until I started working on a map for an upcoming book (not the quick map I created above, by the way). I think I’m going to call the map “Finding Himself,” because that’s pretty much what Paul’s early travels were all about before he started his ministry.
Here’s this Friday’s Fun Fact.
Paul may have logged some 1,600 miles (2,500 km) before he even started his marathon mission trips.
Here’s the math.
- 160 miles/260 km. Jerusalem to Damascus, on a mission to arrest Christians.
- 400 miles/640 km. Damascus to Arabia, probably to rethink his religion after he converted to Christianity. He stayed for three years. Where he went in Arabia is anyone’s guess. One famous scholar, N.T. Wright, suggests that Paul went to Mount Sinai. Paul called it “Mount Sinai in Arabia,” (Galatians 4:25). It’s the mountain where Moses got the 10 Commandments, and where the prophet Elijah retreated and heard God in “a gentle whisper,” (1 Kings 19:12).
- 400 miles/640 km. Back to Damascus to preach.
- 160 miles/260 km. Back to Jerusalem to meet Peter and James, the brother of Jesus.
- 400 miles/640 km. Home to Tarsus, where he stayed for six years.
- 100 miles/160 km. To Antioch, where he helped Barnabas pastor a mixed congregation of Jews and non-Jews. This was the town where followers of Jesus were first called Christians.
Paul didn’t seem to get the gene for staying put.