Churches that paul founded

Churches that paul founded: 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.

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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Churches that paul founded

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:

  1. Ephesus, where he had been a disciple of John the Baptist and preached for two years.
  2. Thessalonica and Berea, two cities in Macedonia. In Thessalonica he was persecuted by Jews who opposed his message and by pagans who opposed his preaching (Acts 17).
  3. Philippi, another city in Macedonia, where he converted Lydia, a businesswoman (Acts 16).
  4. Corinth, where he stayed for 18 months before being expelled by the Jews (Acts 18).

Churches that paul founded


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’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 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 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 first 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 of 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), 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 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 must 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.[1] 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.[2] 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).[3]

Paul was a prolific church planter in the first century

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.


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.

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