They went on ahead and waited for us in Troas. Meanwhile, we stayed in Philippi for Passover Week, and then set sail. Within five days we were again in Troas and stayed a week. Acts 20:5-6 (TM)
I like to keep a journal when I travel. I have three or four Travel Journals on my bookshelf that chronicle trips to Israel, Ireland and the Philippines among others. There is so much that happens when you are travelling. You see new places, you experience new foods, new customs, and you meet fascinating people. Within days, weeks and months of your return you’ve forgotten so many little details about what you experienced. The journal becomes a historial record, an heirloom and can even make a great gift. When travelling with companions, I have sometimes copied my journal and given it to my companions at a later date as a gift.
There was a subtle shift in Acts 20 that many readers don’t catch. The pronoun "they" has been replaced with "we." Luke, the author of the book of Acts, was a doctor and believer who was investigating the story of Jesus and the early Christians and reporting back to his friend, Theophilus. At this point in the story, Luke’s letter stops being a history book and becomes a personal travel journal. Luke hooked up with Paul and began travelling with him. The stories now become a first-hand record of Luke’s experiences.
There’s something in knowing this that helps me appreciate the book of Acts even more. I read my Travel Journals and it takes my thoughts back to a very specific place in time. Today, I felt like Luke himself, reading the words as they pointed to specific moments in his life. I tried to picture him, picture Paul stretched out on the dead body of a sleepy boy, think about what they talked about on their travels from one town to the other.
As you read the rest of the book of Acts, keep in mind that you are reading the personal Travel Journal of a doctor named Luke who was a very real part of the events he’s describing.