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Acts 18

Acts 18:1-22 . PAUL'S ARRIVAL AND LABORS AT CORINTH, WHERE HE IS REJOINED BY SILAS AND TIMOTHY, AND, UNDER DIVINE ENCOURAGEMENT, MAKES A LONG STAY--AT LENGTH, RETRACING HIS STEPS, BY EPHESUS, CÆSAREA, AND JERUSALEM, HE RETURNS FOR THE LAST TIME TO ANTIOCH, THUS COMPLETING HIS SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY.

16. drave them, &c.--annoyed at such a case.

17. all the Greeks--the Gentile spectators.
took Sosthenes--perhaps the successor of Crispus, and certainly the head of the accusing party. It is very improbable that this was the same Sosthenes as the apostle afterwards calls "his brother" ( 1 Corinthians 1:1 ).
and beat him before the judgment-seat--under the very eye of the judge.
And Gallio cared for none of those things--nothing loath, perhaps, to see these turbulent Jews, for whom probably he felt contempt, themselves getting what they hoped to inflict on another, and indifferent to whatever was beyond the range of his office and case. His brother eulogizes his loving and lovable manners. Religious indifference, under the influence of an easy and amiable temper, reappears from age to age.

18. Paul . . . tarried . . . yet a good while--During his long residence at Corinth, Paul planted other churches in Achaia ( 2 Corinthians 1:1 ).
then took . . . leave of the brethren, and sailed . . . into--rather, "for"
Syria--to Antioch, the starting-point of all the missions to the Gentiles, which he feels to be for the present concluded.
with him Priscilla and Aquila--In this order the names also occur in Acts 18:26 (according to the true reading); compare Romans 16:3 , 2 Timothy 4:19 , which seem to imply that the wife was the more prominent and helpful to the Church. Silas and Timotheus doubtless accompanied the apostle, as also Erastus, Gaius, and Aristarchus ( Acts 19:22 Acts 19:29 ). Of Silas, as Paul's associate, we read no more. His name occurs last in connection with Peter and the churches of Asia Minor [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
having shorn his head in Cenchrea--the eastern harbor of Corinth, about ten miles distant, where a church had been formed ( Romans 16:1 ).
for he--Paul.
had a vow--That it was the Nazarite vow ( Numbers 6:1-27 ) is not likely. It was probably one made in one of his seasons of difficulty or danger, in prosecution of which he cuts off his hair and hastens to Jerusalem to offer the requisite sacrifice within the prescribed thirty days [JOSEPHUS, Wars of the Jews, 2.15.1]. This explains the haste with which he leaves Ephesus ( Acts 18:21 ), and the subsequent observance, on the recommendation of the brethren, of a similar vow ( Acts 21:24 ). This one at Corinth was voluntary, and shows that even in heathen countries he systematically studied the prejudices of his Jewish brethren.

19. he came to Ephesus--the capital of the Roman province of Asia. It was a sail, right across from the west to the east side of the Ægean Sea, of some eight or ten days, with a fair wind.
left them there--Aquila and Priscilla.
but he himself entered into the synagogue--merely taking advantage of the vessel putting in there.
and reasoned with the Jews--the tense here not being the usual one denoting continuous action (as in Acts 17:2 , 18:4 ), but that expressing a transient act. He had been forbidden to preach the word in Asia ( Acts 16:6 ), but he would not consider that as precluding this passing exercise of his ministry when Providence brought him to its capital; nor did it follow that the prohibition was still in force.

20. when they desired him to tarry--The Jews seldom rose against the Gospel till the successful preaching of it stirred them up, and there was no time for that here.

21. I must . . . keep this feast--probably Pentecost, presenting a noble opportunity of preaching the Gospel.
but I will return--the fulfilment of which promise is recorded in Acts 19:1 .

22. And when he had landed at Cæsarea--where he left the vessel.
and gone up--that is, to Jerusalem.
and saluted the church--In these few words does the historian despatch the apostle's FOURTH VISIT TO JERUSALEM after his conversion. The expression "going up" is invariably used of a journey to the metropolis; and thence he naturally "went down to Antioch." Perhaps the vessel reached too late for the feast, as he seems to have done nothing in Jerusalem beyond "saluting the Church," and privately offering the sacrifice with which his vow ( Acts 18:18 ) would conclude. It is left to be understood, as on his arrival from his first missionary tour, that "when he was come, and had gathered the church together, he rehearsed all that God had done with him" ( Acts 14:27 ) on this his second missionary journey.

Acts 18:23-21:16'. PAUL'S THIRD AND LAST MISSIONARY JOURNEY--HE VISITS THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA AND PHRYGIA.

23. And after he had spent some time there--but probably not long.
he departed--little thinking, probably, he was never more to return to Antioch.
went over all . . . Galatia and Phrygia in order--visiting the several churches in succession. first here, as he would come to it first from Antioch. It was on this visitation that he ordained the weekly collection ( 1 Corinthians 16:1 1 Corinthians 16:2 ), which has been since adopted generally, and converted into a public usage throughout Christendom. Timotheus and Erastus, Gaius and Aristarchus, appear to have accompanied him on this journey ( Acts 19:22 Acts 19:29 , 2 Corinthians 1:1 ), and from Second Corinthians we may presume, Titus also. The details of this visit, as of the former ( Acts 16:6 ), are not given.

Acts 18:24-28 . EPISODE CONCERNING APOLLOS AT EPHESUS AND IN ACHAIA.

This is one of the most interesting and suggestive incidental narratives in this precious history.

24, 25. a . . . Jew named Apollos--a contraction from Apollonius.
born at Alexandria--the celebrated city of Egypt on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean, called after its founder, Alexander the Great. Nowhere was there such a fusion of Greek, Jewish, and Oriental peculiarities, and an intelligent Jew educated in that city could hardly fail to manifest all these elements in his mental character.
eloquent--turning his Alexandrian culture to high account.
and mighty in the scriptures--his eloquence enabling him to express clearly and enforce skilfully what, as a Jew, he had gathered from a diligent study of the Old Testament Scriptures.
came to Ephesus--on what errand is not known.

25. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord . . . knowing only the baptism of John--He was instructed, probably, by some disciple of the Baptist, in the whole circle of John's teaching concerning Jesus, but no more: he had yet to learn the new light which the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost had thrown upon the Redeemer's death and resurrection; as appears from Acts 19:2 Acts 19:3 .
being fervent in the spirit--His heart warm, and conscious, probably, of his gifts and attainments, he burned to impart to others the truth he had himself received.
he spake and taught diligently--rather, "accurately" (it is the same word as is rendered "perfectly" in Acts 18:26 ).

26. speak boldly in the synagogue, whom when Aquila and Priscilla heard--joying to observe the extent of Scripture knowledge and evangelical truth which he displayed, and the fervency, courage, and eloquence with which he preached the truth.
they took him unto them--privately.
and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly--opening up those truths, to him as yet unknown, on which the Spirit had shed such glorious light. (In what appears to be the true reading of this verse, Priscilla is put before Aquila, as in Acts 18:18 she being probably the more intelligent and devoted of the two). One cannot but observe how providential it was that this couple should have been left at Ephesus when Paul sailed thence for Syria; and no doubt it was chiefly to pave the way for. the better understanding of this episode that the fact is expressly mentioned by the historian in Acts 18:19 . We see here also an example of not only lay agency (as it is called), but female agency of the highest kind and with the most admirable fruit. Nor can one help admiring the.humility and teachableness of so gifted a teacher in sitting at the feet of a Christian woman and her husband.

27, 28. And when he was disposed--"minded," "resolved."
to pass into Achaia--of which Corinth, on the opposite coast which he now more fully comprehended.
the brethren--We had not before heard of such gathered at Ephesus. But the desire of the Jews to whom Paul preached to retain him among them for some time ( Acts 18:20 ), and his promise to return to them ( Acts 18:21 ), seem to indicate some drawing towards the Gospel, which, no doubt, the zealous private labors of Priscilla and Aquila would ripen into discipleship.
wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him--a beautiful specimen of "letters of recommendation" (as Acts 15:23 Acts 15:25-27 , and see 2 Corinthians 3:1 ); by which, as well as by interchange of deputations, &c., the early churches maintained active Christian fellowship with each other.
when he was come, helped them much--was a great acquisition to the Achaian brethren.
which believed through grace--one of those incidental expressions which show that faith's being a production of God's grace in the heart was so current and recognized a truth that it was taken for granted, as a necessary consequence of the general system of grace, rather than expressly insisted on. (It is against the natural order of the words to read them, as BENGEL, MEYER, and others, do, "helped through grace those who believed").

28. For he mightily convinced the Jews--The word is very strong: "stoutly bore them down in argument," "vigorously argued them down," and the tense in that he continued to do it, or that this was the characteristic of his ministry.
showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ--Rather, "that the Christ (or Messiah) was Jesus." This expression, when compared with Acts 18:25 , seems to imply a richer testimony than with his partial knowledge he was at first able to bear; and the power with which he bore down all opposition in argument is that which made him such an acquisition to the brethren. Thus his ministry would be as good as another visitation to the Achaian churches by the apostle himself (see 1 Corinthians 3:6 ) and the more as, in so far as he was indebted for it to Priscilla and Aquila, it would have a decidedly Pauline cast.

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