First, the obvious must be stated: we are not the Apostle Paul, neither are we apostles. And so in looking at what the Apostle Paul did as recorded for us in God’s Word we seek not to do exactly as he did, but rather learn the basic, timeless principles and practices revealed to us regarding Paul’s missionary service (I owe a great deal to my professor Dr. William Barrick for suggesting this study as well as providing his own outlines of Acts for my use).
Mission to Cyprus (Acts 13:4-13)
Paul and Barnabas were sent by the Holy Spirit (13:4) to a work that had already been started by believers who had been scattered because of persecution (11:19-20). The team assembled by the Holy Spirit included a national, for Barnabas himself was a Cyprian (4:36). Barnabas’s cousin, John Mark also accompanied them on the journey as a helper (13:5; Col. 4:10). Their mission was focused on two major cities that were connected by a major highway. Salamis was a port and also a mercantile center, while Paphos was the city of residence for the Roman governor. Paul received an invitation (possibly a summons?) from the Roman governor, Sergius Paulus (13:7). Sergius was outside the target group, being that he was not a Cyprian, but rather from Pisidian Antioch. There is no indication that a church was planted in Cyprus, though tradition holds that a church was started both in Salamis and Paphos. There is also a later mention of a disciple from Cyprus who may date from this missionary journey (21:16) . It was at this time that John Mark abandoned the mission for Jerusalem (13:13), which later caused sharp disagreement between Paul and Barnabas as to who should be allowed to accompany them on a future mission (15:37-39 – almost like modern missionary policies, Paul and Barnabas’s differed). This disagreement led to the split up of Paul and Barnabas, when Barnabas took his cousin back to Cyprus to follow-up (15:36-39) and Paul left for Syria and Cilicia with Silas (Acts 15:40-41). No farther biblical record exists about Cypriote Christianity outside that which is found in 15:37-39 and 21:16.