Acts 20:13 “And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.”
I know it’s an argument from silence, not solid ground for debate, but I wonder if Paul didn’t choose this because he wanted some time alone so he could walk and pray.
In the previous chapter (18:18) we are told that Paul had taken a vow (probably a Nazarite vow), and that he was determined to travel to Jerusalem. While in Troas he held a week of meetings and during one of his sermons in a third-story loft, a young man by the name of Eutychus, who had been sitting in an open window, fell asleep during Paul’s preaching. Unfortunately, the young man fell out of the window to the ground below. Everyone thought he was dead, but Paul revived him, much to the relief of Eutychus’ friends and family (9-12). It had been a pretty eventful week for Paul, not to mention all the events prior to that time. (Acts 20:1-12).
When it came time to leave, Paul’s entourage took ship to sail to their next location, but Paul opted to walk (Acts 20:13). This was about a 20-mile trip, but it was a trip Paul insisted on taking. It afforded him the opportunity to meet with people along the way for sure, but it also gave him some alone time away from his flock, a time to pray and to recharge. Christ often gave His disciples such times during His earthly ministry – and He often took such times for Himself so that He could pray alone to His heavenly father.
Sometimes walking with God is literally that: walking with God. I don’t know about any of you, but sometimes for me it really does help to walk and talk to God – out loud. It helps me to stay focused and keeps my mind from wandering. It also helps me to hear my thoughts, because there are things that sound great inside my head, and really stupid when I say them out loud. As human beings I think we need that so God can use it to guide us on the right way.
Paul had many trials ahead of him. He knew that his trip to Jerusalem would not end well and that he would end up in Rome – in chains. But it was for the cause of Christ and the spread of the Gospel. With all that he was about to face, he needed that time to pray and walk with God!