However, Paul went on taking the Gospel to the Gentiles: between AD 47 and 57 he established Christian churches in the chief cities of four provinces: Galatia, Asia, Macedonia and Achaia. Special mention is made in Acts of the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth – where Paul spent 18 months -and Ephesus – where he spent nearly three years.

Paul’s Missionary Journey III, AD 53 to 57
Image source: © Carta, Jerusalem

In order to strengthen the sense of unity between those churches and the mother-church in Jerusalem, Paul organized a collection of money throughout his Gentile mission-field for the relief of the poverty of the Jerusalem Christians. Early in AD 57 he himself, with representatives of the contributing churches, travelled to Jerusalem to hand over the money to the leaders of the Jerusalem church, chief among whom was James the Just, the brother of Jesus.

The gift was no doubt welcome, but in the eyes of many Jerusalemites Paul was a traitor to Judaism. While he was in Jerusalem he was set upon by an enraged mob because of a rumour that he had broken the sacred laws of the temple. He was rescued and taken prisoner by the Roman garrison in the Antonia fortress.

From Jerusalem he was sent to Caesarea, the home of Felix, the Roman governor of Judea. There, two years later, he put an end to official delays over his case by appealing to be tried at Rome before the emperor. This was his right as a Roman citizen. Early in AD 60 he reached Rome after an eventful journey.