|Acts Chapter 18|
Translation by William E. Paul
by Charles Dailey
(Black underlined words match words in the Bible text.)
|1) After this happened Paul left Athens and went to Corinth [i.e., a principal city of Greece].||– Paul peaceably left the cultural capital of Athens for the commercial capital of Corinth. Because he was low on funds, he probably walked the 50 miles to Corinth.|
|2) There he met a certain Jewish man named Aquila, a native of Pontus, [in northern Asia Minor] who, with his wife Priscilla, had recently come from Rome, because Claudius [the Roman Emperor] had ordered all Jews out of that city. Paul met this couple|| –
Alone again, the Lord provided new co-workers who appear to have been Christians already. Travelers from Pontus had been at Pentecost according to Acts 2:9.|
- Aquila and Priscilla were among those forced to leave Rome about 50 A.D. The unrest there may have been caused by the Jews reacting to the preaching of Christ.
- Aquila and Priscilla, like Paul, were also new in Corinth.
|3) and, because they followed the same trade of tentmaking, he stayed with them and went to work [for them].||– Every Jewish youth was required to learn a trade, even if he did not use it later in life. Paul's trade was making tents and he drew an illustration from that skill. 2 Corinthians 5:1-4. Tentmaking may have included leather working.|
|4) Every Sabbath day Paul held discussions in the synagogues, trying to convince [both] Jews and Greeks [i.e., Gentiles, that Jesus was the Messiah].|| –
Paul's Saturdays were devoted to trying to convince his countrymen that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah of Israel. See verse 5 below.|
- If this is described in 1 Corinthians 2:3, then he was not self-assured and confident.
|5) But when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia [i.e., from the town of Berea], Paul began devoting his full time to declaring the message to Jews that Jesus was the Christ.|| –
When Silas and Timothy came (fulfilling Acts 17:15), they brought an offering from some churches and made it unnecessary for Paul to continue tentmaking. 2 Cor. 11:9.|
- He could not have devoted full time to the synagogue assembly as they only met weekly, so he must have gone from house-to-house among the synagogue members.
|6) When the Jews resisted [Paul's efforts] and spoke against him and his message, he shook out his clothing [i.e., an expression of rejection and contempt] and said to them "Let your blood be on your own heads [i.e., you are responsible for whatever harm comes from your action]; I am not responsible. From now on I will go [and preach] to the Gentiles [only]."|| –
The pattern of other towns is repeated. Jewish opposition mounted, for they spoke against the man and his message.|
- Paul's response at the Jewish synagogue was dramatic: he shook out his clothes and declared that he would focus on the Gentiles.
- This was not a declaration that would affect the rest of his life, but the rest of his time in Corinth.
- Until this point, Paul felt a sense of responsibility.
- 1 and 2 Thessalonians were written about this time.
- Silas drops from view in the story of Acts. Luke does not refer to him again.
|7) So, he left [this assembly of Jews] and went to the house of a certain man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was right next door to the synagogue.|| –
After his formal and public break with the synagogue, he took his teaching next door to the house of Titius Justus, a man who appears to have been a synagogue attender.|
- This man is a Roman and some have identified him as the Gaius of Paul's letters. 1 Cor. 1:14; Romans 16:23. This seems to be very reasonable
|8) Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and all of his family became believers in the Lord. [And] many of the Corinthians who heard [Paul's message] believed [in the Lord] and were immersed [into Christ].|| – A surprising turn was that the leader of the synagogue - plus his entire family - became believers. 1 Corinthians 1:14. - The pace of growth is quickening.|
- Probably both within the synagogue and outside, there were men and women who became believers and were immersed.
|9) Then the Lord spoke to Paul in a night vision [i.e., a divinely given dream]: "Do not be afraid, but speak up and do not hold [anything] back,|| – Here is more encouragement directly from the Lord. See Acts 26:16.|
- At this point, it would have been easy for Paul to quiet down and avoid another confrontation with the synagogue leaders.
|10) for I will be with you [See Matt. 28:20] and no one will attack you or hurt you, for I have many people in this city [i.e., who will be converted]."|| – While not promised immunity from harassment, he was promised providential protection from physical persecution.|
- The church was just forming, but God had many potential people there. When they heard, they would obey.
|11) So, Paul lived there [in Corinth] for eighteen months, teaching God's message among the inhabitants [of the city].||– There is much debate about the 18 months. This writer believes that Paul stayed in Corinth that period. Other views add the 18 months to other events that are reported.|
|12) But when Gallio was magistrate of Achaia [i.e., the southern province of Greece] the Jews joined forces to attack Paul and brought him before the court of justice,|| – Gallio was the brother of the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca and was at Corinth in A.D. 52.
- As at other times, something similar to a citizen's arrest is used and Paul was brought to court.|
- This court had greater jurisdiction than previous courts where Paul had been tried.
|13) and said [about him], "This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law [of Moses]."||– The charges are Jewish in nature. Paul's view, presented later in Acts, is that Christianity is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses and not something new and different.|
|14) When Paul was about to respond [to this charge], Gallio said to the Jews, "[My] Jewish [constituents], if it were a simple case of wrongdoing or some serious crime, there would be good reason for me to consider your charge [against this man].|| – Paul had responded to like charges before. But he was not allowed to continue here. |
- The magistrate could see no wrongdoing or crime. Considering cases of that nature was his field of expertise and he would listen to the charges such as robbery, fraud or murder.
- The decision here carried weight, not only in Achaia, but by precedent, throughout the Empire, for at least a decade.
|15) But if it is only a dispute over words, titles and your [religious] law, tend to it yourselves; I refuse to pass judgment on such [trivial] matters."|| – The dispute was an internal synagogue matter and not a matter for this court. |
- Such words as resurrection, Messiah and the like were not his field of expertise or even interest.
|16) And he had them thrown out of the courtroom.||– Officers standing nearby put the Jews out in the street.|
|17) Then, all of them [ Note: This "all" could refer to the Greeks, the Jews or the Roman officers. Since the text does not specify, it seems most reasonable to suggest it was the Romans] grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the court of justice. But Gallio showed no interest in the whole affair.|| – Someone, perhaps the Roman officers, gave the new leader of the synagogue a public beating, probably for dragging a religious case before the court.|
- Is this the same Sosthenes that became a believer? 1 Corinthians 1:1. Perhaps he moved from Corinth and joined Paul in writing back to those who knew him so well.
|18) After this [incident] Paul remained [in Corinth] for some time before leaving the brothers and sailing for Syria with Priscilla and Aquila. Paul shaved his head while in Cenchrea as part of a vow he had taken.|| – Because of the favorable court decision in the previous verses, Paul could remain in Corinth as long as he pleased rather than being driven out at the whim of the synagogue leaders.|
- Paul followed a Jewish practice. While we do not know his reason for taking the vow, this demonstrates that Christians have freedom in their worship of God rather than only doing what is authorized. The vow was not authorized.
19) When they arrived at Ephesus, Paul left Priscilla and Aquila there. He then went into the [Jewish] synagogue and held discussions with the Jews.
20) When they asked him to stay [and continue the discussions] longer, he declined.
| – Priscilla and Aquila must have moved with a view toward planting a church in Ephesus. This they accomplished.|
- Following his usual pattern, Paul went to the synagogue service and was well-received.
|21) So, he left them, saying, "I will come back to you if it is God's will." Then He sailed from Ephesus.|| – For the Christian, the controlling factor is always God's will. It was God's will and he returned and remained in Ephesus for three years. Acts 20:31.|
- Paul had some other immediate purpose in mind when he postponed such a wonderful opportunity.
|22) And when he landed at Caesarea, he went up [Note: This would mean either up to Caesarea or up to Jerusalem] and greeted the church [there], then went down to Antioch [in Syria].|| – This writer thinks that "up" here means up to Jerusalem. Caesarea does not have any hills where the church could be located. Luke uses "up to Jerusalem" seven times in his writings.|
- The words "down to Antioch" were used in Acts 15:30 where the point of origin was Jerusalem.
|23) After spending some time there, he left and traveled through the district of Galatia, [and] then through Phrygia, strengthening [spiritually] all the disciples [along the way].|| – Paul spent time with the brethren he felt closest to - those at Antioch. He reported on his travels.|
- Following his report, he continued traveling back through Asia and encouraging the disciples.
- This was A.D. 54.
|24) Now a certain Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria [Egypt] and an effective speaker, who was well-grounded in the [Old Testament] Scriptures, came to Ephesus.|| – Our attention is now turned to Apollos. His skills included effective speaking and a thorough knowledge of the Old Testament.|
- God had Priscilla and Aquila located in Ephesus to meet and teach him.
|25) He was a man who had learned the way of the Lord, and with spiritual fervor, taught accurately [what he knew] about Jesus, although he knew [and had received] only the immersion [taught and practiced] by John.|| – Apollos was a man of vigor who knew about Jesus word-of-mouth from John the Baptist or one of his disciples. So his knowledge of Jesus was outdated.|
- What he knew, he taught accurately.
- This is further evidence that John's immersion was for a different purpose than that of Jesus. Christian immersion is to identify with the resurrection of Jesus. Romans 6:4.
|26) He began speaking boldly in the synagogue and when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and proceeded to explain to him God's way more accurately [than he had known].|| – In the Ephesus synagogue, Apollos built on the work that Paul had begun in Acts 18:19.|
- Priscilla and Aquila were still attending the synagogue and heard him. Why is her name first sometimes? Perhaps because she was more articulate and took the lead in some of these private discussions. Normally the man's name is first.
- They avoided embarrassing Apollos in public.
|27) And when he desired to travel over into Achaia, he was encouraged [to do so] by the brothers, who wrote to the disciples [in Achaia and urged them] to welcome him. When he arrived [in Achaia] he was a great help to those who had become believers through the unearned favor of God. [Note: An alternate meaning is, "he was a great help, through God's unearned favor on him to those who had become believers".]|| – Since Apollos had known only John's immersion, he was not aware of the work being done by Paul and his team. |
- He was given a "church letter" to confirm his faithfulness.
- We see that Aquila and Priscilla had been active in quietly getting a church started because now there are brothers who commend Apollos on his way.
- Apollos desired to travel to Achaia. This is where Corinth was located.
- Apollos had just learned about the unearned favor of God himself. He had many lessons to learn very quickly.
|28) For Apollos effectively refuted [the position of] the Jews, publicly proving, by using the [Old Testament] Scriptures, that Jesus was the Christ.|| – With the church meeting next to the synagogue in Corinth, encounters were more common than in most places, even if they met on different days of the week. |
- This is the last mention of Apollos in Acts. Some have speculated that he is the writer of Hebrews.
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