Answer by Robert Brow
(www.brow.on.ca) July 2000
Based on a reference to Paul's defense and delivery from "the lion's mouth" (2 Timothy 4:16-17, see also 4:6-7) and the statement that he planted churches in Crete (Titus 1:5), some think that Paul was released and went on further missionary journeys to Spain (as he hoped in Romans 15:24, 28).
But there is no evidence for this apart from a statement by Clement of Alexandria (c.150-215 AD) that Paul traveled "to the limit of the west." Writing from Alexandria Rome is a long way to the west (see Romans 15:19).
A far simpler explanation is that when Paul "set sail from Ephesus" (Acts 18:21) during his second missionary journey he took a ship to Crete (a brief overnight sail) with his companion Titus (2 Corinthians 7:6-7, Galatians 2:1). After planting churches there, he left Titus to organize them with their own elders (Titus 1:5, as in Acts 14:23). He then sailed across to Caesarea, went up to Jerusalem, then returned to his base in Antioch before setting out on the third journey (Acts 18:22- 23).
Obviously in his Acts chronicle of Paul's life Luke left out an account of what happened in many places (evidenced by the countless beatings, imprisonments, and three shipwrecks listed in 2 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Planting churches in the numerous towns of Crete (Titus 1:5)
would have been a necessary part of Paul's claim to have evangelized the
whole area from Jerusalem to Illyricum (Romans 15:19). And the names
listed in the Pastoral Epistles all fit the period of the second and third
missionary journeys (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 3:9-20, Titus 3:12-13).
They are very unlikely to refer to further journeys after the imprisonment
in Rome at least fifteen years later.