First, consider Acts 21:1-3.


   And when it came about that we [Paul, Luke, and others] had parted from them [from Christian believers in Miletus] and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos and the next day to Rhodes and from there to Patara; and having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.


   What’s going on here?


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   What’s going on in Cos, Rhodes, Patara, and Phoenia?

   Not much–at least that we know about.

   So what’s the purpose here? First of all, the apostle Paul and company are on the watery road, or “watery way”¹ to somewhere else. That’s about it according to the Bible.

   Risking pushing info out its historical context for a private agenda², let’s use it to underline a practical issue that concerns all of us…and is useful, perhaps, to generate the start off of a “Bible discussion group” and modern practical issues?

   A Bible discussion group? Really!


   Here are some questions for a group of Christians who know each other–along with a few general comments:

   (1)  After quickly skimming the verses here, what’s the context?  (Paul and company seem to be heading home from some mission trip.)

   (2)  Who’s making the decisions?  (Paul. He’s still “free.”)

   (3)  What’s Paul’s mission in general?  (spreading the Gospel, etc.)

   (4)  Why?

   (5)  His home base?  (Syrian Antioch)

   (6)  Where has he gone and why?  (We don’t know all, but can speculate.)

   (7)  Why years in some places like Ephesus, a day or two in some places, a “Hi and good-bye” in others?

   (8)  What about the lost, or uniformed in Cos and Rhodes?

   (9)  Those in Patara and Phoenicia?  [General responses are all that are possible…though some vocal response to specifics helps under a point. “They couldn’t be everywhere…They had a “larger” “more important purpose, etc.” ]

  (10)  What guidance is behind all this?  [Holy Spirit, prayer, etc. etc.]

  (11)  How does missionary outreach apply to us? Or just to the “called”?

  (12)  Should concern for the big picture inform the “watery way” of the trajectories of our lives?

  (13)  Are there Pataras and Phoenicias, real places, next to us that “Paul” and others, even Jesus (in His world) didn’t have time to reach?

  (14)  Even a simple outreach or sharing?

  (15)  How can I go about this?


   ¹ It alliterates…

   ² We consider hijacking Scripture, without even suggesting you’re making a non-directed Biblical allusion, a serious matter. The mentioned small print here in no way demands this teaching…though it can, for various reasons, remind us of other important things.