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Why was Paul told not to preach in Asia?

“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:6-10) 

“Asia” in the Book of Acts is modern day Turkey or Asia Minor. The cities of Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, Bithynia and Troas are all in Asia Minor. In the beginning of Acts, chapter 16, Paul was already in “Asia” (Turkey) with the decree from Jerusalem. 

He had picked up Timothy in Lystra and continued in verse 4 to spread the news in southern Turkey. However, once Paul got to Phrygia (verse 6), the holy spirit kept him from preaching.

So Paul and his companions moved on again and again until it was revealed to him in a vision in Troas that he was urgently needed in Macedonia (northern Greece).

We believe that this was the main reason God forbade Paul from preaching in Asia Minor. It soon became clear to Paul and his companions that they would not have been where they needed to be had they lingered in Galatia any longer. Therefore, verse 6 is less about God forbidding Paul to preach in Asia and more about Paul’s trusting God’s divine timing. 

To learn more about the Apostle Paul listen to,
“Paul or Matthias: Who Was the Real 12th Apostle?”

“Did the Apostle Paul Contradict Jesus?”

“How Did the Apostle Paul Handle a Slave Owner?”