Paul was one of the greatest apostles and teachers of all time. Paul founded more churches than any other apostle. He wrote 14 epistles of the New Testament, so he must have mastered the principles of effective leadership, management, and communication. Find out the Churches that Paul founded and the list of the churches he started. So what are the names of the churches Paul started?
I was asked to give a talk on how to find and research the churches Paul founded. I thought it would be even more helpful to find pictures of each church so you could see exactly what they looked like. It has been hard to visually imagine what these villages in Corinth looked like when Paul walked into them. What the people were wearing, their houses, and the layout of their towns. Hopefully, this talk helps you better understand Paul’s travels from a historical perspective.
There are many churches that Paul founded. In the book of Acts, we learn the names of at least five churches that Paul helped plant in various parts of the Mediterranean region. Unlike some Bible stories and characters, there are no historical problems with these churches—they were real, historical places.
What Was The First Church Paul Established
Paul founded churches in several cities of Asia Minor. He visibly visited many others, wrote letters to some of them, and some of his epistles are preserved in Acts. In total, Paul is credited with establishing over 50 churches throughout the Mediterranean world. (Acts 14:21)
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Paul And The Churches
The churches that Paul founded were located in the following cities:
Antioch in Pisidia
Antioch of Pisidia was a city in what is now Turkey. Paul’s first missionary visit to Antioch in Pisidia was around AD 46-48. He preached there during his second missionary journey and returned around AD 53-54 to organize the church there.
Thessalonica (or Thessalonike)
Thessalonica was a city in what is now Greece. It was also known as Thessalonica or Salonika during the time when Paul founded one of his churches there. This church had the same name as today’s Thessaloniki. Paul’s first visit to Thessalonica took place between AD 50-51 and he returned there later between 54-56, when he wrote letters to this church (1 Thessalonians).
Paul founded several churches in the cities he visited. Here are some of them:
- Ephesus, where he had been a disciple of John the Baptist and preached for two years.
- Thessalonica and Berea are two cities in Macedonia. In Thessalonica, he was persecuted by Jews who opposed his message and by pagans who opposed his preaching (Acts 17).
- Philippi, another city in Macedonia, where he converted Lydia, a businesswoman (Acts 16).
- Corinth, where he resided for 18 months before the Jews drove him out (Acts 18).
Right here on Churchgists, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on what happened to the churches in Galatia soon after Paul preached there, Apostle Paul and the earliest churches, Paul and the 7 churches, and so much more. Take the time to visit our website for more information on similar topics.
How Many Churches Paul Established
Paul was a man of his time and place. He was born into a Jewish family in Tarsus, which is now part of Turkey. His father had been an official in the Roman government, but he left it to follow Paul and his mother to Antioch, where he became a tentmaker. Paul spent much of his time working with the church at Antioch, which was the largest church in the area before the time of Jesus Christ.
Paul was one of three disciples chosen by Jesus to spread his teachings after his death—the others being Peter and John. When Jesus was resurrected on Easter Sunday (the Christian holiday), Paul began preaching that Jesus’s death on Good Friday had made him alive again. This message caused him to be arrested for preaching against Roman law, but he managed to escape from prison and flee from Antioch back to Jerusalem where he worked with other Christians who were also banned from teaching because they followed Jewish customs instead of Roman law.
After meeting with James (another brother of Jesus) and Peter at Jerusalem, Paul returned to Antioch but soon left again for Ephesus where he founded a church after being accused by Jews for doing so many illegal things like teaching about circumcision which was not allowed according to their laws since it violated God’s commandments (Genesis 17
Paul’s ministry of church-planting spanned over a 20-year period, beginning with his conversion in AD 33 and ending with his martyrdom in Rome around AD 65. In total, Paul was responsible for planting seven churches which we know about from Scripture. Here is a list of the churches along with links to our podcasts on each one:
Paul And the 7 churches
Paul’s ministry in Jerusalem
Paul’s first visit to the church in Jerusalem was a trying time for him. He had been converted on his way to Damascus and now felt compelled to preach the gospel in places where he had formerly persecuted Christians, including Judea itself. When he arrived at the temple mount, he was accosted by a mob of Jews who tried unsuccessfully to kill him (Acts 9:28b-30). The next day, Paul made his way back home, but when word spread that he had come from Antioch of Syria (where apparently Christianity was already well established), they sent some representatives there with instructions that if they could not dissuade him from teaching “this sect,” then they would kill him themselves (Acts 11:19). This response indicates that Jewish authorities were concerned about what Paul might be teaching—as good evidence that his message was contrary to conventional interpretations of Torah.
The second incident took place some time later, when several members of synagogues belonging to priestly families became followers of Jesus and were baptized by Silas and Timothy into what would become known as the Church at Jerusalem (cf Acts 11:19–26; 12:1-6). This led to another confrontation between Peter and Paul regarding whether gentiles needed to first go through all seven ceremonial cleansings before being allowed into God’s family. Paul argued strongly against these requirements because they were based solely on outward observances while ignoring inward heart issues like faithfulness or trustworthiness, which, according to this interpretation, mattered more than keeping laws such as those concerning cleanliness laws concerning food preparation practices.”
Antioch was the first church that Paul planted, and it was a city on the border between Syria and Turkey. The city of Antioch was famous as the capital of the Roman province of Syria. In addition, it was also a large city in the first century. Antioch was also known as a cosmopolitan city because there were many people from different places living there.
So why did Paul go to this particular place?
The church was founded in the house of Aquila and Priscilla. Paul founded the church. The church was founded in the 1st century. The city of Ephesus is located on the west coast of Turkey, on the Aegean Sea, between two rivers, Cestrus and Cayster. This city is where Paul planted his churches in Asia Minor.
The church in Corinth is the one that Paul founded and where he wrote 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. He also stayed there for 18 months (Acts 18:11–18) and probably wrote Romans from Corinth. He wrote 1 Timothy while he was there, which included instructions to Timothy regarding how to deal with the situation in Ephesus. He later wrote another letter to Timothy from Corinth before going on his final journey (2 Timothy).
In addition, we know that Paul visited two or three other cities during this time period as well: Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians), Athens (Acts 17), Philippi (Philippians), and Troas (2 Corinthians 2:13–14)
You’ll want to get a sense of the location of Philippi, because it’s going to make the story of Paul’s work there much more interesting.
Philippi was a Roman colony in Greece, founded in 356 BC. During Paul’s lifetime (he was born around 3 BC), Philippi was part of the province of Macedonia.
Paul visited Philippi twice while on his first missionary journey: once when he preached at its synagogue and again when he found Lydia selling purple cloth there. We don’t know exactly when these visits were made, but it is likely that they occurred between 48 and 50 AD. On his second missionary journey, Paul returned to Philippi after leaving Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:2). He stayed for three months preaching on Mars Hill before returning home via Athens (Acts 17:15–18). In addition to these visits from Paul himself, we know that Timothy visited Philippi several times early in its Christian history (1 Timothy 1:3).
Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica was short-lived, but it had a profound impact. He was in Thessalonica for three Sabbaths and preached the gospel in both the synagogue and in the marketplace. Later, Paul was arrested and sent to prison.
- Colossae was a city in Asia Minor, now known as the Turkish town of Çukurova. The city is believed to have been founded by Seleucus I Nicator around 300 BCE and was for many years ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt.
- In his letter to the church at Colossae (also called “Ephesians”), Paul wrote about living in Christ and about how we can be filled with God’s fullness. He also told them about how they should not worry about tomorrow or look back on yesterday but focus on today.
- This letter is lost to us now; though it was read at some early churches, it has never been found among any extant manuscripts. But what we can say with confidence is that this letter must have been written while Paul was still alive since it refers directly back to Luke’s gospel, which had already been written down when Epaphras visited Rome around 62 CE. Also note that this was one of three churches where Paul sent his first epistle—the other two being Philippi (Philippians) and Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians).
What are the names of the churches Paul started
Paul was a prolific church planter in the first century. He is said to have founded over 20 churches, which makes him one of the most prolific Christian missionaries in history. Paul is also known for his pastoral leadership and theological insight.
What happened to the churches in Galatia soon after Paul preached there
Paul’s letter is addressed “to the churches of Galatia”, but the location of these churches is a matter of debate. Most scholars agree that it is a geographical reference to the Roman province in central Asia Minor, which had been settled by immigrant Celts in the 270s BC and retained Gaulish features of culture and language in Paul’s day. Acts of the Apostles records Paul traveling to the “region of Galatia and Phrygia”, which lies immediately west of Galatia. Some scholars have argued that the “Galatia” is an ethnic reference to a Celtic people living in northern Asia Minor.
The New Testament indicates that Paul spent time personally in the cities of Galatia (Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe) during his missionary journeys. They seem to have been composed mainly of Gentile converts. After Paul’s departure, the churches were led astray from Paul’s trust- and faith-centered teachings by individuals proposing “another gospel” (which centered on salvation through the Mosaic law, so-called legalism), whom Paul saw as preaching a “different gospel” from what Paul had taught. The Galatians appear to have been receptive to the teaching of these newcomers, and the epistle is Paul’s response to what he sees as their willingness to turn from his teaching.
The identity of these “opponents” is disputed. However, the majority of modern scholars view them as Jewish Christians, who taught that in order for converts to belong to the People of God, they must be subject to some or all of the Jewish Law, (i.e., Judaizers). The letter indicates controversy concerning circumcision, Sabbath observance, and the Mosaic Covenant. It would appear, from Paul’s response, that they cited the example of Abraham, who was circumcised as a mark of receiving the covenant blessings. They certainly appear to have questioned Paul’s authority as an apostle, perhaps pointing to the greater authority of the James-led Jerusalem church.
Paul was a prolific church planter in the first century. We see from this study that he was not only a great missionary but also a great leader in his time and continues to be an inspiration for all of us today.