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Bible Commentaries
Acts 18

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1 Act 18:1. Paul is traveling without his companions, Silas and Timotheus, who have not reached him yet (verse 5). Corinth was another important city of Greece, in which was planted what became one of the most noted churches of the apostolic period.

Verse 2

2 Act 18:2. Aquila was not a native of Italy but had resided for some time in Rome. Claudius (Caesar) was the Roman emperor, and for some reason (not very clearly explained by the historians and commentators) had formed a dislike for the Jews and had banished them from the city; Paul met this man and his wife Priscilla.

Verse 3

3 Act 18:3. Same craft means the same trade or occupation, which was tent-making. That was Paul's trade also, which naturally caused them to have a common interest in each other, so that Paul made his stay with them. This association gave him an opportunity to instruct them thoroughly in the Gospel, so that they became earnest disciples who were able to teach others. (See verse 26).

Verse 4

4 Act 18:4. Reasoned is from the same word as "disputed" in chapter 17:17. Paul did this on the sabbath days because the Jews met then to read the law, and the Greeks often attended as spectators.

Verse 5

5 Act 18:5. The original for pressed is defined by Thayer, "to urge, impel." Silas and Timotheus finally reached Paul (chapter 17:15), and their arrival encouraged him to put all the more pressure in his preaching of the Gospel, affirming in the ears of the Jews that Jesus was Christ (the Anointed).

Verse 6

6 Act 18:6. Opposed themselves means they set themselves in opposition to the teaching of Paul. Shook his raiment was an old custom of expressing one's attitude toward something very evil. Blood be upon your own heads. Whatever punishment they suffered would be their own fault because they had refused to hear the warnings of the Gospel. Paul usually gave the Jews first chance in his teaching, but if they rejected it he would turn to the Gentiles. (See chapter 13:46.)

Verse 7

7 Act 18:7. Paul left the synagogue and went into a nearby house, whose owner was a worshiper of God. (See the note at Mat 2:2 on worship.)

Verse 8

8 Act 18:8. The audience in the synagogue had rejected Paul's teaching, but the chief ruler was an exception and became a believer, together with the members of his household. Hearing, believed, and were baptized. That was the scriptural procedure then and it is so today. A sinner must hear in order to believe (Rom 10:14), and if he truly believes, he will be baptized in obedience to the One in whom he believes.

Verse 9

9 Act 18:9. Be not afraid of the opposition mentioned in verse 6 or any other that might be threatened against him, but preach the Gospel to all he can meet.

Verse 10

0 Act 18:10. No man . . . to hurt thee. Paul was to be opposed, but he would not be overcome by the enemy because the Lord assured him that He would be with him. This is the same assurance that he wrote to the brethren in Rome (Rom 8:31). I have much people in this city. This was said in prospect because the Lord knew there were many who would accept the Gospel when Paul reached them with it. It was said on the same principle that Jesus meant when he said "I have other sheep" in Joh 10:16.

Verse 11

1 Act 18:11. Verse 8 says that many of the Corinthians became obedient believers, so it was among them that Paul taught the word. And in a period of 18 months many more would hear and obey, so that the church in that city became one of the largest in numbers.

Verse 12

2 Act 18:12. A deputy was an inferior officer in the government of Rome in one of the provinces. Achaia was a name given to Greece by the Romans. The ever-envious Jews brought Paul before the secular ruler in a disorderly manner.

Verse 13

3 Act 18:13. Contrary to the law. They charged that Paul's teaching was contrary to the law of Moses. That was a false charge, because Paul had shown on more than one occasion that the Gospel system had even been predicted by the Old Testament.

Verse 14

4 Act 18:14. Paul could and would have answered the false charge; but the "judge on the bench" interrupted him. He told the Jews that he would hear their complaints on any matter that pertained to lawlessness against the laws of the land.

Verse 15

5 Act 18:15. The thought in this verse is that the Jews were wanting this man who was a secular judge, to hear a case of theirs that was strictly a religious dispute. He told them that he would not be a judge of such matters.

Verse 16

6 Act 18:16. This verse means that Gallio dismissed the case and cleared the court room of the complainants. This judge set a precedent that should be observed today. No secular court has any business meddling in religious controversies, and professed disciples of Christ ought to know better than to bring religious disputes into such courts.

Verse 17

7 Act 18:17. The Greeks were the Gentile spectators in the court of Gallio and had heard the remarks to the Jews that he made in answer to their complaint. Sosthenes was a Jew and doubtless was a leader in the uprising against Paul. Their sympathy would naturally be for the apostles and against the Jews who had not always shown a favorable attitude toward the Gentiles. Hearing the declaration of Gallio, that he would not interfere with any dispute of the Jews concerning their religion, they decided to take the opportunity of showing their feeling against this would-be persecutor of Paul by this personal attack. While this action was one pertaining to "law and order," yet Gallio knew it was caused by religious agitation, and, being disgusted by the attempt of the Jews to invade his court with an improper issue, took some satisfaction out of seeing them thus punished, hence he cared for none of those things.

Verse 18

8 Act 18:18. Cenchrea was a port of Corinth, from which Paul sailed for the shores of Asia Minor. Shorn his head. The Jews had a custom of making personal vows, and at the termination of the period a man was to cut his hair that had been let grow while the vow was in force. This part of the formality was similar to the Nazarite vow in Num 6:5-18, but it was not otherwise bound by the other requirements. For the custom of voluntary vows, see Lev 27:2; 1Sa 1:11; 2Sa 15:7.

Verse 19

9 Act 18:19. When Paul and his companions, Aquila and Priscilla, arrived at Ephesus, he separated from them and went into a synagogue as he was accustomed to do to preach.

Verse 20

0 Act 18:20. Paul's teaching seemed to meet with favor among his hearers, for they asked him to remain longer, which his plans would not permit.

Verse 21

1 Act 18:21. Keep this feast. It was the feast of Pentecost, one of the national feasts of the Jews. Paul was a Jew and had a right to observe the national customs of his race. (See chapter 16:3.) After a brief stay at Ephesus he again sailed.

Verse 22

2 Act 18:22. Paul landed at Caesarea on the coast of Palestine. As a brief "side trip" he went to Jerusalem to salute the church. We are not given any account of this visit further than the present statement. After this incident the great apostle to the Gentiles went to Antioch (in Syria), thus ending his second missionary journey.

Verse 23

3 Act 18:23. This is the beginning of what is commonly called Paul's third "missionary journey." (See the comments at chapter 15:36.) But he really revisited some churches that had been started previously, to strengthen or establish them. A church can be started in a little while, but it takes time and further teaching to establish it.

Verse 24

4 Act 18:24. Eloquent is defined "skilled in speech" in Thayer's lexicon. Mighty in the scriptures means he was well acquainted with the Old Testament, and had learned something of the early teaching pertaining to the New. He was regarded as a good man and one devoted to theā€¢ Lord.

Verse 25

5 Act 18:25. Apollos was not a careless man, and always taught others accurately as far as he had learned, but at this time he knew no baptism except what John preached and practiced. That subject will be explained at chapter 19:4.

Verse 26

6 Act 18:26. Aquila and Priscilla had been instructed by Paul (verses 2, 3), and were able to supply the points that Apollos lacked. It should be noted that they expounded the way of God, showing an instance where a woman helped to get a preacher better acquainted with the teaching of the Gospel.

Verse 27

7 Act 18:27. Achaia was a name that the Romans gave to Greece. After Apollos was through with his work at Ephesus he wished to go over into Greece, and we will find that he stopped at Corinth. He left Ephesus with the recommendation of the brethren. After arriving in Greece he helped the believers who had experienced the grace of God.

Verse 28

8 Act 18:28. Apollos approached the Jews with the same kind of arguments that Paul had used, namely, showing them that their own scriptures (the Old Testament) predicted the coming of Jesus as the Christ or the Anointed One.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Acts 18". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/acts-18.html. 1952.
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