Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, May 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
Attention!
For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries
Acts 18

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verses 1-18

Act 18:1-18

PAUL AT CORINTH

Acts 18:1-18

1 After these things he departed from Athens,—Paul left Athens and went to Corinth; this city was between forty-five and fifty miles from Athens, in a course west by a little south. Corinth was the capital of Achaia, and the chief city of this province. Corinth had been destroyed by Mummius in 146 B.C., and had been restored by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Much of the sculpture and fine arts that had adorned the old Corinth was destroyed. Paul visited the new Corinth. The destruction of the old Corinth was so complete that it passed into a proverb. The new Corinth soon surpassed its former state in wealth and splendor, and became a vast commercial center. The laxity of the morals of Corinth was proverbial. Paul made reference to this in his letter to the church later. (1 Corinthians 5:1 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.) Paul went into the midst of this city which had less promise, at first, than Athens, but, ultimately, far more fruitful in results.

2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila,—When Paul came to Corinth, being a Jew, he would naturally seek some companion among the Jews; he may have gone to the synagogue and met Aquila there. Luke calls him “a certain Jew” from “Pontus.” It is also significant to know that Paul “found” him. The Jews had certain guilds by which they kept together whether in street or synagogue. His birth in Pontus indicates that he belonged to the dispersion of the Jews of that province (1 Peter 1:1) which lay between Bithynia and Armenia. Here we meet first with “his wife Priscilla.” She was a prominent woman and stood high in social position so that her name is sometimes placed before that of her husband. (Verse 18; Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19.) Some think that Aquila and Priscilla were Christians when Paul met them; others think that Paul converted them. We do not know, and no history gives any record by which we may determine. They sojourned later with Paul during his long residence at Ephesus; and once (Romans 16:3-4), Paul tells us, they “laid down their own necks” for him. If they were Christians when Paul met them, they are the two most ancient known members of the primitive church at Rome. They had been driven from Rome because of the order which had been given by Claudius; this was about A.D. 49; Claudius had ordered the Jews to leave Rome because of the constant tumult that they instigated. Jews were unpopular in Rome; it has been estimated that there were twenty thousand Jews in Rome at that time.

3 and because he was of the same trade,—This is the first mention that we have of Paul’s occupation or trade. Every Jewish boy was carefully taught a trade; one rabbi among the Jews said that a father had just as well teach his boy to steal as to fail to teach him a trade. Aquila was a tentmaker; this was Paul’s trade. They had at least three things in common now—they were of the same race, being Jews; of the same trade, tentmakers; and now of the same faith, both Christians. Tentmaking was a common occupation in Paul’s native Cilicia; these tents were made of rough goat’s hair; goats abounded in the hill country of Cilicia. This tent cloth was generally known as “Cilicium.” Paul alludes to the toil of his hands. (Acts 20:34.) He makes other allusions to working with his own hands to support himself and others. (1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8.)

4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath,—This was Paul’s invariable rule; he preached the gospel “to the Jew first” and then to Gentiles. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath because the Jews met on the Sabbath. His going into the synagogue on the Sabbath was in no sense endorsing the Jewish Sabbath as a day to be observed by Christians. On these Sabbaths Paul “reasoned” and “persuaded” both “Jews and Greeks” to accept Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of the world. He convinced them by his reasoning that Jesus was the Christ, and persuaded them to accept him as such. As the “Greeks” here are mentioned with the Jews in the synagogue, it is to be understood that they were proselytes.

5 But when Silas and Timothy came—Paul had left Silas and Timothy at Berea (Acts 17:14), and had given instruction to those who had conducted him to Athens for Silas and Timothy to come “to him with all speed” (Acts 17:15). It seems they did not get to Athens before Paul left; hence, they came to Corinth. The coming of Silas and Timothy greatly encouraged Paul; they brought gifts from Macedonia to him which relieved him for the time being of tentmaking, so that he could give all of his time to preaching the gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:9; Philippians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:6.) Paul “was constrained” to preach “to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.” Being now free from the burden of working with his hands, Paul gave his time to preaching and convincing the Jews of the Messiahship of Jesus. “Constrained” is from the Greek “suneicheto” and was used once very solemnly by Christ. (Luke 12:50.) It indicates an intense divine impulse, urging to a work which would not be delayed or hindered by anything. The Authorized Version translates this as “pressed in the spirit,” but the Revised Version gives a better translation. The meaning seems to be that he was engrossed by the word, or engrossed by the preaching of the gospel. He had been relieved of anxiety and toil by the arrival of Silas and Timothy with the gifts from Macedonia, and was now giving all of his time to preaching the word.

6 And when they opposed themselves and blasphemed,— We know not how long Paul had now been in Corinth; he had reasoned in the synagogue and persuaded his hearers to accept the Christ as their Savior. Some of them refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah and even indulged in reproachful and reviling language against Paul and the Christ. When they took this attitude Paul turned from them; he knew that he could do them no good by further reasoning and persuading them. “He shook out his raiment,” and thus signified to the Jews his deep abhorrence of their conduct and his unwillingness to be associated with them intimately any longer. This is similar to the act of Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:51), and the instruction Jesus gave his disciples (Matthew 10:14). “Your blood be upon your own heads”; this was not a curse, but a solemn disclaimer of responsibility. (Ezekiel 3:18 f Ezekiel 33:4 Ezekiel 33:8 f.; Acts 20:26.) The Jews had used this expression in assuming responsibility for the crucifixion of Christ. (Matthew 27:25; see also Matthew 23:35.) Paul was not responsible any further; he had preached Christ to them and they had rejected him. Now he turns to the Gentiles.

7 And he departed thence,—Paul now left the synagogue and, probably by invitation, went into the house joining the synagogue; this was owned by “a certain man named Titus Justus.” We do not know much about this Titus. He was evidently a Roman citizen, and was not the Titus who afterwards became a companion of Paul; however, some think that he was. Paul assembled the converts to Christianity in his house and taught them there. This “Titus Justus” “worshipped God.” Evidently he was a proselyte; the phrase “worshipped God” is the one that is frequently used to designate a proselyte to the Jewish worship. Paul probably continued to lodge with Aquila and Priscilla, but taught all who would come to him in the house of Titus Justus.

8 And Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue,—Crispus is mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:14. Paul baptized him. (1 Corinthians 1:14.) He was distinguished as a ruler of the synagogue; there may have been more than one synagogue in Corinth as we read in verse 17 of Sosthenes, the “ruler of the synagogue.” However, Sosthenes may have been appointed immediately after Crispus was converted. Luke sums up the results by saying that “many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” This was the order and steps of the conversion of all. First the gospel is preached, people hear the gospel, believe it, repent of their sins, and are baptized; they are then in Christ and are called Christians. Paul baptized, in addition to Crispus, Gaius and the household of Stephanas. However, Silas and Timothy were now assisting him, and would care for those who desired to be baptized.

9 And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision,—The Lord encouraged Paul in his work. “Be not afraid” literally means “stop being afraid,” and go on speaking, and do not become silent. We know now why Paul should be afraid; he was threatened with danger and was becoming discouraged. Anyone discouraged needs encouragement; the Lord gave him a clear intimation of his will, either changing a purpose which was forming in Paul’s mind, or confirming his sense of duty to remain.

10 for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee—These are the words which the Lord used to encourage Paul; he had spoken to him at night in a vision. Jesus had promised to be with those who preached his gospel. (Matthew 28:20.) Here he is promised that no man should harm him; this seems to imply that someone was seeking or threatening to do Paul harm. The Lord encourages him by saying that no one should so harm him. Another reason why he should continue to preach in Corinth was that “I have much people in this city.” In a prospective sense there were many in Corinth who would obey the gospel if they had opportunity. They could become the people of God by hearing, believing, repenting of their sins, and being baptized into Christ. There were much people, not yet saved, but who would accept the gospel when they heard it. This should have been encouragement enough for Paul.

11 And he dwelt there a year and six months,—We do not know how much time Paul spent in Corinth before this encouragement was given to him. Some think that he was in Corinth about two years in all; his work extended beyond the city (2 Corinthians 11:10), and there was a church in Cenchreae (Romans 16:1). We cannot be certain as to the length of his stay in Corinth, as verse 18 speaks of his remaining there “yet many days,” which may be added to the “year and six months” of this verse. He taught “a year and six months” undisturbed, until Gallio was appointed “proconsul”; then trouble began, but Gallio refused to be disturbed with the charge.

12-13 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia,—This Gallio was a brother of Seneca, who was a Stoic teacher and tutor of Nero. He was a man of culture and refinement. Seneca said of him: “No one of mortals is so pleasant to one person as he is to all.” The Jews “with one accord rose up against Paul.” They made an insurrection against Paul; they seized him and “brought him before the judgment-seat.” It was the custom of the provincial governors of the Roman Empire to hold their courts on certain days of the week; these were commonly held in the market place. The “judgment-seat” was of two kinds: (1) fixed in some public place; or (2) movable and taken about by the magistrate, to be set up in whatever spot he might designate. They preferred the charge against Paul that he persuaded “men to worship God contrary to the law.” They did not mean by this that Paul was persuading people to worship God “contrary to the law” of Moses; they meant the Roman law, or the law of the province of Achaia. This is obvious since they brought Paul before Gallio and preferred the charge; he would have nothing to do about judging disputes contrary to the law of Moses. Their contention was that though Jews had been banished from Rome as a measure of policy, Judaism as such was still a legal religion to be tolerated and recognized by the Roman authority. Their charge was that he was preaching a new religion that was not recognized by the laws of Rome.

14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth,—Paul was ready to answer the charge, but before he could speak, Gallio ended the whole matter. It was not necessary for Paul to speak. The proconsul could hardly have resided in Achaia for eighteen months without hearing of the new covenant that Paul was promoting; he knew the Jews and probably knew something about Paul. In any case, from his standpoint, it was not a matter to be brought into his court. He said that if it was a matter of “wrong or of wicked villany” then he would attend to the matter and hear their accusation. If Paul had been guilty of doing wrong to anyone, or if he had violated any of the laws of the province, Gallio would hear them.

15 but if they are questions about words and names—Cases of injustice and open violence came properly under the authority of Gallio’s court, but if the Jews were disturbed about “questions” on “words and names” of their own law, he had no interest in such. He was not interested in a parcel of questions about words and names; he did not care whether “Jesus” should also be called “Christ” or “Messiah”; Gallio knew that the Jews split hairs over words and names. He was not inclined to sit in judgment and settle disputes that arose among the Jews over their religious ritual. They should settle their own disputes; “look to it yourselves”; he turned the matter over to them with the statement that he was not willing to occupy his time with such small matters.

16-17 And he drove them from the judgment-seat.—The Jews were confused at his abrupt dismissal of the charge that they brought against Paul. He drove them from his judgment seat; the words here imply a magisterial act; the order was given to his officers to clear the court, and the Jews who did not immediately retreat were exposed to the ignominy of blows from the officers. The Greeks then “laid hold on Sosthenes,” who was the “ruler of the synagogue.” They beat him in the presence of Gallio, and Gallio gave no attention to it. Had Paul been violating any of the Roman laws he would have condemned him. He looked upon the affair as being one of their own quarrels about some phase of their religion, and he let them have their way about it. The beating of Sosthenes was a small detail that belonged to the police court, and not for the proconsul’s judgment. Sosthenes was, on this occasion, the chief object of their rage and ill-treatment; some think that this is the Sosthenes mentioned by Paul as one of his companions. (1 Corinthians 1:1.) It has been a question of much dispute as to why he was beaten by the Greeks; some have speculated in regard to this that Sosthenes, being the leader, was defeated in his case before Gallio, and hence needed to be punished for bringing such trivial charges. Some claim that it is not clear as to who beat Sosthenes; whether it was the infuriated Jews or whether the Gentiles; however, it seems clear that the Gentiles so punished Sosthenes.

18 And Paul, having tarried after this—It is not certain whether “tarried after this yet many days” means that Paul tarried longer than the “year and six months,” as mentioned in verse 11, or that this time is included in the “year and six months.” However, the context seems to indicate that it was in addition to the time mentioned in verse 11. Paul was vindicated; there was no reason for haste in leaving, and he usually left after such a crisis was past. He took his leave of the church and “sailed thence for Syria.” Antioch in Syria was his destination; he embarked and sailed first to Ephesus. He took Priscilla and Aquila with him. Cenchreae was a seaport of Corinth, and about ten miles southeast from Corinth. Priscilla here, as in Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19, is named first on account of the prominent part she took in the church. A church had been planted at Cenchreae (Romans 16:1) probably by Paul during his residence at Corinth. There is some dispute about whether it was Aquila or Paul who had the vow and had “shorn his head in Cenchreae.” Grotius, Wieseler, Meyer, Howson, and others refer it to Aquila. They claim that this clause is parenthetic and belongs to Aquila. The participle is masculine; hence, cannot refer to Priscilla. Since “Priscilla and Aquila” are joined, and since the clause, “having shorn his head in Cenchreae,” is parenthetical, it cannot refer to Aquila. Hence, we conclude that it was Paul who had the vow and that he had shorn his head in Cenchreae. The other participles in this verse refer to Paul without any doubt; hence, we are justified in saying that it refers to Paul. We do not know what vow Paul had taken nor why he had made a vow; hence, we do not know why this reference to the vow. Paul, as a Jew, kept up his observance of the ceremonial law for some instances, but refused to impose it upon the Gentiles.

Verses 1-22

Act 18:1-22

THE PROMISE IS FOR ALL:

LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF ACTS

Notes For Lesson Seventeen:

The Second Missionary Journey - Concluded

(Acts 18:1-22)

We now come to the end of the second of Paul’s missionary journeys, with his eventful stop in Corinth and his trip back to Antioch. This second trip saw him go to several of the most well-known cities of the ancient world, and his experiences in proclaiming the gospel provide us with numerous examples to encourage us, teach us, and challenge us.

Ministry in Corinth - Friends & Opposition (Acts 18:1-17)

After his fascinating but only mildly successful ministry in Athens, Paul moved on to Corinth, another of the leading cities of ancient Greece. Here he met two believers with whom he was to become close, and was also re- united with some of his traveling party whom he had left behind in his hasty exit from Berea. In Corinth, he also faced more of the kinds of determined opposition to which he was now accustomed. His experiences in Corinth remind us that, while there will always be enemies of the gospel, faithful believers are never truly alone in their ministries.

The city of Corinth was located on the narrow isthmus that connects the Peloponnesus with the rest of Greece, and was a commercial center both for overland trade and as a connection between the seaports on the opposite sides of the isthmus. Its strategic location made it both prosperous and politically important in the ancient world. The Corinth of the New Testament is not the same city as the Corinth that is significant much earlier ancient history, but rather is a rebuilt city on the same site. The original Corinth* had been destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC**, and a new city had been built by command of Julius Caesar about a hundred years later.

Many commentaries err in their descriptions of New Testament Corinth by quoting descriptions of the original city that are not always applicable in the same way to the rebuilt city.

Corinth had become one of the focal points of resistance to Roman rule. The Romans destroyed it and also destroyed the North African city of Carthage, their arch-rival, in the same year.

In Corinth, Paul met some new friends who become relatively prominent in the New Testament (Acts 18:1-4). The married couple Aquila and Prisca (or Priscilla) turned out to be tent-makers, and thus practiced the same trade Paul performed when he needed to support himself. This couple had travelled to Corinth as a result of an edict of the Emperor Claudius in AD 49 or 50 (about the time of Acts 15) that forced many Jews to leave Rome*. This edict was not strictly enforced, and Rome maintained a large Jewish population, but apparently this couple had been among those driven out. In them, Paul found faithful friends and also practical help, staying with them and working with them in his early days at Corinth, as he used the Sabbaths to teach the gospel in the synagogue.

The Roman historian Suetonius says that the edict came as a result of a disturbance that had been "instigated by Chrestus", suggesting that it might have been as a result of Christian preaching. The Romans did not distinguish between Jews and Christians until later in the 1st century. It is also possible. though, that ’Chrestus’ is the name of a contemporary Jew whose activities displeased the Romans in some way. The Romans were generally tolerant of other religions as long as their practitioners accepted Roman political rule, but the Jews with their stronger and more genuine faith, and well-established beliefs, were often a test to the Romans’ flexibility.

Paul’s ministry in Corinth began in earnest when the other missionaries arrived (Acts 18:5-11). He was re-united with Silas and Timothy, who had stayed in Macedonia for a while after Paul left Berea. Since the last half of Acts follows Paul’s travels, it is easy to overlook the activities of the many other Christians who devoted their lives to taking the gospel wherever God directed them. Such faithful believers as Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Luke, and many others were also travelling from town-to- town, sometimes in company with Paul, sometimes with others. It is helpful for us to take notice of all these comings and goings so that we realize how many different Christians - many not mentioned in the Bible at all - were a part of teaching the gospel throughout the ancient world.

Now able to devote all of his time to preaching and teaching, Paul stepped up his ministry in the synagogue. But many of his listeners wearied of the truth, and hardened their hearts against both Paul and the message, causing Paul to make the decision to preach to the Gentiles. Still, the synagogue leader Crispus was one of the few there who accepted the gospel, and in addition, Paul’s ministry amongst the Gentile Corinthians proved quite successful. God also assured Paul that it was his will that Paul remain in Corinth for a time, and promised his protection in the memorable phrase, "I have many people in this city". As a result, Paul stayed in Corinth much longer than had previously been his custom in his mission tours.

Paul’s ministry was so influential that his enemies eventually launched a concerted attack against him (Acts 18:12-17) . The proconsul who heard their charges was Gallio, one of the most well- known secular figures to appear in the Bible, being the brother of the famous philosopher and writer Seneca, and a prominent and popular man in his own right. He was approached by a contingent of Paul’s enemies who accused Paul of the vague, pointless charge of "persuading the people to worship ... in ways contrary to law". Before Paul even makes a defense, Gallio reproaches the accusers for their baseless charge and for wasting his time. Prevented from achieving its goal, the crowd suddenly turns on Sosthenes, who had apparently succeeded Crispus as synagogue ruler, and takes out its hostility and frustration by beating him. It is not possible to tell whether this is because Sosthenes also supported Paul (it could be he who is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:1), or whether Sosthenes had instigated the accusation of Paul, making the others angry with him for disappointing them. Gallio’s attitude is indifferent, even cynical, because at this time the Roman leaders were still unconcerned about Christianity and as yet had no policy or law against Christians. The practical Romans also had little interest in settling personal or religious disputes in their courts.

For Discussion or Study: What features of Paul’s ministry in Corinth were similar to things we have seen in other cities? What aspects were different?

The Return to Antioch (Acts 18:18-22)

Luke’s brief description of Paul’s departure from Corinth and return to Antioch is not without interest. Besides providing a couple of brief looks at Paul’s personal life, it mentions his first contact with Ephesus, a city to which he would return on his next mission tour. Thus ended his second missionary journey, which contained many memorable events and which also saw the gospel preached in many new cities.

After a lengthy stay in Corinth, Paul decides finally to return to Antioch (Acts 18:18). For the first leg of the long trip, he takes his friends Priscilla and Aquila, whom he then leaves in Ephesus (see Acts 18:19 and also Acts 18:24-26). This verse also contains an interesting but inconclusive detail, in relating that Paul shaved his head as a result of a vow he had taken. While there are many possible scenarios as to exactly what could have been involved, the only definite conclusion we can draw is that this example should caution us against imitating or binding every minor detail ofthe book of Acts, especially when, as here, it is a case of a one-time decision with the reasons for it left unexplained.

On the way back, Paul makes a stop in Ephesus (Acts 18:19-21), a city that will soon take on more significance for him. He has a brief and apparently successful ministry in the synagogue there, for they ask him to stay. Yet Paul perceives that it is not yet God’s will for him to remain, promising only to return "if it is God’s will". We have no way of knowing why Paul felt that it was time for him to move on, but his reply is still instructive, demonstrating as it does that even an open opportunity was not always a conclusive indication to Paul of where God wanted him to go. Finally Paul returns to Antioch (Acts 18:22). It is the end of another journey, one that took about two years, and that saw many significant developments. His second missionary tour also provides us with many instructive and encouraging examples of God and his servants at work.

For Discussion or Study: Looking back on this journey as a whole, what significant lessons are repeated throughout it? What do these tell us about God’s broader plans?

- Mark W. Garner, June 2002

Verses 19-22

Act 18:19-22

PAUL RETURNS TO ANTIOCH IN SYRIA

Acts 18:19-22

19 And they came to Ephesus,—Ephesus was nearly due east from Cenchreae across the Aegean Sea; it could have been reached in two or three days under favorable sailing. Ephesus was the capital of the province of Asia; it was situated on the western shore of Asia Minor. Paul left Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus. Before leaving Ephesus Paul entered into the synagogue and “reasoned with the Jews.” “Reasoned” seems to be Luke’s favorite word for Paul’s discourses in the synagogue. (Acts 17:2 Acts 17:17 Acts 18:4 Acts 19:8-9.)

20-21 And when they asked him to abide—Frequently Paul has been run out of the synagogue by the Jews, but this is one time that he was asked “to abide a longer time,” but he did not think it necessary to do so. He gave as his reason for not remaining, “I will return again unto you if God will,” and set sail from Ephesus on his journey to Antioch. Paul was encouraged enough to make promise to return to them, “if the Lord will.” (James 4:13-15.) “If the Lord will” was a common expression among the early Christians. (Romans 1:10 Romans 15:32; 1 Corinthians 4:19 1 Corinthians 16:7; Hebrews 6:3.) Paul did return and Luke hastens to record the facts and results. (Acts 19:1.) It would require about a month to sail from Ephesus to Caesarea. In chapters 20 and 21 it is a seven weeks’ voyage; however, sojourns were made on the way.

22 And when he had landed at Caesarea,—Caesarea was on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea; it was on the western border of the land of Canaan or Palestine. It was the Roman capital of Judea. Paul went from Caesarea “up” to Jerusalem and there “saluted the church,” and then went “down” to Antioch. Geographically speaking, this was correct; the location of Jerusalem was much higher in elevation than Antioch in Syria. Paul saluted “the church”; this shows that the church at Jerusalem was still considered the “mother church” at the time Luke wrote. This was Paul’s fourth visit to the church in Jerusalem after his conversion. When he came to Antioch, his second missionary journey was terminated. It had occupied about three years; during this time he had traveled through large districts of Asia Minor, visited the European cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth; he had returned by way of Ephesus and the sea to Caesarea, Jerusalem, and to Antioch. The Jews had violently resisted him in nearly every place except Athens and Ephesus; however, churches were organized not only in Galatia, but also in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth; perhaps churches were established in other places.

Verses 23-28

Act 18:23-28

PAUL’S THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY

Acts 18:23 to Acts 21:16

PRISCILLA, AQUILA, AND APOLLOS AT EPHESUS

Acts 18:23-28

23 And having spent some time there,—Paul now remained at Antioch for some time; we cannot tell how long he sojourned there. It was now probably A.D. 54, and Paul begins his third great missionary journey. He left Antioch and probably went first to Tarsus; then he went in a northwest direction through Galatia, and then turning southwest journeyed through Phrygia and on to Ephesus. Probably this was the last time that Paul ever saw Antioch. Some place the visit of Peter to Antioch, to which Paul refers in Galatians 2:11 ff., at this time. Paul begins his third journey without a Barnabas or a Silas to help him.

24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos,—Apollos was born in Alexandria, which was a celebrated city and seaport of Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea, twelve miles from the mouth of the Nile River. It was named Alexandria in honor of Alexander the Great, who founded it, 332 B.C. Many Jews had gone to Alexandria, as it was a famous place of learning. The Alexandrian library was the greatest in the world. Apollos is described as “an eloquent man”; that is, a learned man. The Greek word “logios” can mean either a man of words or a man of ideas; Apollos was probably both learned and eloquent. He was especially “mighty in the scriptures.” He knew well the Old Testament. Later Paul wrote that he planted and Apollos watered. (1 Corinthians 3:6.) Paul found Apollos at Ephesus on this visit.

25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord;— This is the same term used in Luke 1:4. Apollos was instructed before he came to Ephesus. He had received only the instruction as prepared by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3.) He had been taught by John, or by some of John’s disciples, as to the Messiahship of Christ, and knew some of the facts of his life, doctrines, and miracles. He may not have heard of the death, burial, and resurrection and ascension of Christ, neither did he know about the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. He was zealous and “taught accurately the things concerning Jesus” so far as he knew; however, he knew only the baptism of John. He did not know of the baptism in water into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism was a “baptism of repentance.” (Mark 1:4; Acts 13:24 Acts 19:4.) John knew and preached the coming of the Messiah, and had borne testimony that Jesus was the Messiah.

26 and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue.—He entered the synagogue and taught boldly what he knew of the Christ. He expounded to the Jews what he knew. Priscilla and Aquila, who had accompanied Paul on his return from Cenchreae to Ephesus, heard Apollos and saw that he knew so little about the Christ. “They took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more accurately.” They taught Apollos the gospel as they had learned it from Paul. We are to understand that they showed him that Christ had fulfilled the prophecies, and had done just what John the Baptist predicted that he would do. Apollos was an apt student and learned rapidly; he wanted to know the full truth, and Aquila and Priscilla so taught him. Aquila and Priscilla “took him unto them,” which means that they took him to their home and into their hearts.

27 And when he was minded to pass over into Achaia,—Apollos was at Ephesus, which was on the eastern coast of the Aegean Sea; Achaia was due west of Ephesus; it was the province south of Macedonia; Achaia and Macedonia composed Greece. The brethren at Ephesus encouraged Apollos and “wrote to the disciples to receive him.” Since Apollos wanted to go into Achaia, the brethren wrote a letter of introduction to the disciples in Corinth to receive him. Paul referred to this letter later (2 Corinthians 3:1), and pointed out that he himself needed no such letter of commendation. Priscilla and Aquila were well known in Corinth, and their approval would carry much weight. Apollos was very useful in Achaia, for he “helped them much” who had become Christians. It was by the grace of God that they had learned of Jesus Christ and had become Christians.

28 for he powerfully confuted the Jews,—Apollos was already “an eloquent man” and “mighty in the scriptures,” and had now been taught “the way of God more accurately,” so he was powerful in arguing with the Jews about the Christ. To confute means to contest in rivalry; Apollos entered into a public debate with the Jews showing that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ. Apollos was so popular in Corinth that later a party arose in the church with the motto: “I am of Apollos.” (1 Corinthians 3:4.) We lose sight of Apollos here and get a last glimpse of him in Titus 3:13. He is in company with Zenas, the lawyer. It seems that he had been laboring at Crete, and there also had gathered around him a distinct company of disciples.

Questions on Acts

By E.M. Zerr

Acts Chapter 18

  • · From Athens where did Paul journey?

  • · In what respect are these cities related?

  • · What Pontine Jew did he meet here?

  • · Why was he here at this time?

  • · What trade did he have in common with Paul?

  • · How did Paul use the Sabbath days?

  • · Who were his hearers?

  • · Why the Greeks in the synagogues?

  • · Who rejoined Paul?

  • · How did it affect him?

  • · On what theme did he testify to the Jews?

  • · Whom did they oppose?

  • · Why did Paul shake his raiment?

  • · Of what did he mean he was "clean"?

  • · To whom does he now turn?

  • · Who entertained him next?

  • · Where did he live?

  • · What man became a believer?

  • · Tell how many Corinthians did.

  • · Who then spoke to Paul?

  • · For what purpose did he speak?

  • · What assurance was given him?

  • · State what the Lord said he had in that city.

  • · How long did Paul stay here?

  • · What was he doing?

  • · Who was the civil ruler at this time?

  • · Who was brought before him?

  • · Was he accused of personal lawlessness ?

  • · What was done with the case?

  • · State the judge’s reason for this act.

  • · What act of revenge did the Greeks then do?

  • · To what country did Paul next go?

  • · Who accompanied him?

  • · Tell what Paul consummated at Cenchrea.

  • · Explain how a Christian could do this.

  • · At what place did they separate?

  • · State Paul’s activities in the synagogue.

  • · What indicates a favorable hearing?

  • · Why did he decline to tarry?

  • · What kind of feast· is here meant?

  • · How could a Christian lawfully keep this?

  • · What promise did he make them?

  • · On what condition?

  • · Where did he land?

  • · Were there disciples here?

  • · To what place did he then go?

  • · After a stay there where did he go?

  • · Doing what for the disciples?

  • · What certain Jew is now introduced?

  • · State his talents.

  • · To what place did he come?

  • · What was he doing?

  • · State the defect in his teaching.

  • · What was wrong with this?

  • · Who corrected him?

  • · State his commendation from the brethren.

  • · Say something of his ability in the scriptures.

Acts Chapter Eighteen

Ralph Starling

In Corinth Paul met Aquilla and Priscilla from Rome.

Who invited him to stay with them in their home.

Then to the synagogue as was his practice,

Determined not to become inactive.

Again he was faced with the Jew’s spite

When he testified that Jesus was Christ.

When the Jews opposed themselves and blasphemed,

Paul said, “It’s your blood, for I am clean.”

With that he would go to the Gentiles,

And entered the house of Justus for awhile.

Many of the Corinthians hearing believed,

And acted on their faith and were baptized.

Again the Jews made insurrection against Paul,

Charging he was teaching worship against the Law.

Gallio said, “It it’s about your law it’s not for me,”

And he drove them from his judgment seat.

Paul continued his journey quite serious.

First from Corinth and then into Syria.

Then to Ephesus and them to Caeserea

To Antioch, to Galatia, and Phrygia.

Aquilla and Priscilla remained in Ephesus,

And heard John’s baptism discussed by Appollas.

They invited him to talk with them privately,

And expounded “the way” to him more perfectly.

Upon being convinced he convinced other Jews.

With letters that his word was indeed true.

Mightily and publicly the Scriptures he would cite,

Showing that Jesus was indeed the Christ.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Acts 18". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/acts-18.html.
 
adsfree-icon
Ads FreeProfile