We start our journey in Greece across the Aegean Sea, in modern day Turkey, in the city of Troas. Troas was founded in 310 BC on the Aegean coast about 12 miles southwest of the ancient city of Troy. Its artificial harbor was very busy and the city was also a commercial and administrative hub. At its height there may have been as many as 100,000 residents of Troas. Today there is only enough of Troas left to attract archeologists and curious tourists.
Paul and Silas had picked up Timothy in Lystra on what was Paul’s second missionary journey. On his first missionary journey Paul and Barnabas had founded churches in the cities of Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch (of Pisidia). Biblical passages about these journeys can be a bit confusing because the place names are unfamiliar to us and refer sometimes to cities and sometimes to areas. Pamphylia, Pisidia, Galatia, Phrygia, Asia, and Mysia are all regions of the Anatolian peninsula, modern day Turkey, mentioned in the book of Acts.
In Troas it appears that Paul had need of a physician and they found one, Luke. You may have noticed a change in the narrative of Acts between verse 16:6 and 16:10: the action changes from “what they did” to “what we did.” Luke, writer of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, has become the fourth person in the group.
And, as if that were not enough excitement for this group, Paul has a nighttime vision in which “a man from Macedonia” begs him to come to Macedonia to help the people there. How did Paul know that it was a man from Macedonia? The same way that we know who people are in our dreams. Here are some more confusing names: the region we know as Greece was called in parts Thrace, Macedonia, Attica, Thessaly, Peloponnese, Ionia, and Achaia.
Has God ever spoken to you through a dream?