At the end of his third mission, Paul gathered a collection for the Jerusalem Christians from the Gentile churches which he had established in Asia and in Greece.  He dealt with the collection in each of the letters that he wrote during this period of his ministry, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Romans.  In the Roman epistle, Paul explained that he was delaying his trip to Rome and his mission to Spain in order first to deliver the collection to Jerusalem (15.25-29).  The Book of Acts is strangely silent about Paul’s collection.  It deals, at length, with the journey to Jerusalem at the end of his third mission.  Paul’s own letters reveal that this journey was undertaken to deliver the collection.  Acts shows how the journey was marked by warnings from Christians and Paul’s own forebodings that danger awaited him in Jerusalem.

In Romans 15.30-32, Paul spoke of his fear of what might happen to him in Jerusalem and asked for the Roman Christians to pray on his behalf.  He made two specific prayer requests: (1) that he would be delivered from the non-Christan Jews of Jerusalem and (2) that his collection would be acceptable to the Christian community of the city.  Because of the silence of Acts about Paul’s collection, we cannot be sure how well it was received.  The Acts account, however, confirms that Paul’s forebodings were well-founded about the unbelieving Jews of Jerusalem.  Paul did fall into their hands and escaped with his life only through the timely intervention of the Roman troops.  Paul’s desire to visit Rome was fulfilled, though not as he originally intended.  He eventually went to Rome – not as a free missionary, but as a prisoner.

From: Paul and His Letters by John B. Polhill (Nashville: B&H Academic, 1999), p. 306.

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