Acts 18

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Paul in Corinth

1 After this Paul[a] left Athens and went to Corinth.
2 And he found a Jew named 1Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife 2Priscilla, because 3Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them,
3 and 4because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.
4 And 5he reasoned in the synagogue 6every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.
5 7When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul 8was occupied with the word, 9testifying to the Jews that the Christ was 10Jesus.
6 And when they opposed and reviled him, 11he shook out his garments and said to them, 12"Your blood be on your own heads! 13I am innocent. 14From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
7 And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius 15Justus, 16a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue.
8 17Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together 18with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.
9 And the Lord said to Paul 19one night in 20a vision, 21"Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,
10 22for I am with you, and 23no one will attack you to harm you, for 24I have many in this city who are my people."
11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
12 But when Gallio was 25proconsul of Achaia, 26the Jews made a united attack on Paul and 27brought him before the tribunal,
13 saying, "This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to 28the law."
14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious 29crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint.
15 But 30since it is a matter of questions about words and names and 31your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things."
16 And he drove them from the tribunal.
17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.

Paul Returns to Antioch

18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of 32the brothers[b] and set sail for Syria, and with him 33Priscilla and Aquila. At 34Cenchreae 35he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow.
19 And they came to 36Ephesus, and he left them there, but 37he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined.
21 But on taking leave of them he said, "I will return to you 38if God wills," and he set sail from Ephesus.
22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he 39went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch.
23 After spending some time there, he departed and 40went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, 41strengthening all the disciples.

Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus

24 Now a Jew named 42Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, 43competent in the Scriptures.
25 He had been instructed in 44the way of the Lord. And 45being fervent in spirit,[c] he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only 46the baptism of John.
26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when 47Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him 48the way of God more accurately.
27 And when he wished to cross to 49Achaia, 50the brothers encouraged him and 51wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, 52he greatly helped those who through grace had believed,
28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures 53that the Christ was Jesus.

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Acts 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

Paul at Corinth, with Aquila and Priscilla. (1-6) He continues to preach at Corinth. (7-11) Paul before Gallio. (12-17) He visits Jerusalem. (18-23) Apollos teaches at Ephesus and in Achaia. (24-28)

Verses 1-6 Though Paul was entitled to support from the churches he planted, and from the people to whom he preached, yet he worked at his calling. An honest trade, by which a man may get his bread, is not to be looked upon with contempt by any. It was the custom of the Jews to bring up their children to some trade, though they gave them learning or estates. Paul was careful to prevent prejudices, even the most unreasonable. The love of Christ is the best bond of the saints; and the communings of the saints with each other, sweeten labour, contempt, and even persecution. Most of the Jews persisted in contradicting the gospel of Christ, and blasphemed. They would not believe themselves, and did all they could to keep others from believing. Paul hereupon left them. He did not give over his work; for though Israel be not gathered, Christ and his gospel shall be glorious. The Jews could not complain, for they had the first offer. When some oppose the gospel, we must turn to others. Grief that many persist in unbelief should not prevent gratitude for the conversion of some to Christ.

Verses 7-11 The Lord knows those that are his, yea, and those that shall be his; for it is by his work upon them that they become his. Let us not despair concerning any place, when even in wicked Corinth Christ had much people. He will gather in his chosen flock from the places where they are scattered Thus encouraged, the apostle continued at Corinth, and a numerous and flourishing church grew up.

Verses 12-17 Paul was about to show that he did not teach men to worship God contrary to law; but the judge would not allow the Jews to complain to him of what was not within his office. It was right in Gallio that he left the Jews to themselves in matters relating to their religion, but yet would not let them, under pretence of that, persecute another. But it was wrong to speak slightly of a law and religion which he might have known to be of God, and which he ought to have acquainted himself with. In what way God is to be worshipped, whether Jesus be the Messiah, and whether the gospel be a Divine revelation, are not questions of words and names, they are questions of vast importance. Gallio spoke as if he boasted of his ignorance of the Scriptures, as if the law of God was beneath his notice. Gallio cared for none of these things. If he cared not for the affronts of bad men, it was commendable; but if he concerned not himself for the abuses done to good men, his indifference was carried too far. And those who see and hear of the sufferings of God's people, and have no feeling with them, or care for them, who do not pity and pray for them, are of the same spirit as Gallio, who cared for none of these things.

Verses 18-23 While Paul found he laboured not in vain, he continued labouring. Our times are in God's hand; we purpose, but he disposes; therefore we must make all promises with submission to the will of God; not only if providence permits, but if God does not otherwise direct our motions. A very good refreshment it is to a faithful minister, to have for awhile the society of his brethren. Disciples are compassed about with infirmity; ministers must do what they can to strengthen them, by directing them to Christ, who is their Strength. Let us earnestly seek, in our several places, to promote the cause of Christ, forming plans that appear to us most proper, but relying on the Lord to bring them to pass if he sees good.

Verses 24-28 Apollos taught in the gospel of Christ, as far as John's ministry would carry him, and no further. We cannot but think he had heard of Christ's death and resurrection, but he was not informed as to the mystery of them. Though he had not the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, as the apostles, he made use of the gifts he had. The dispensation of the Spirit, whatever the measure of it may be, is given to every man to profit withal. He was a lively, affectionate preacher; fervent in spirit. He was full of zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of precious souls. Here was a complete man of God, thoroughly furnished for his work. Aquila and Priscilla encouraged his ministry, by attendance upon it. They did not despise Apollos themselves, or undervalue him to others; but considered the disadvantages he had laboured under. And having themselves got knowledge in the truths of the gospel by their long intercourse with Paul, they told what they knew to him. Young scholars may gain a great deal by converse with old Christians. Those who do believe through grace, yet still need help. As long as they are in this world, there are remainders of unbelief, and something lacking in their faith to be perfected, and the work of faith to be fulfilled. If the Jews were convinced that Jesus is Christ, even their own law would teach them to hear him. The business of ministers is to preach Christ. Not only to preach the truth, but to prove and defend it, with meekness, yet with power.

Cross References 53

  • 1. ver. 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19
  • 2. ver. 18, 26; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19
  • 3. Acts 11:28
  • 4. Acts 20:34; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 9:15; 2 Corinthians 11:7; 2 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8
  • 5. Acts 17:17; See Acts 13:5, 14
  • 6. Acts 17:17; See Acts 13:5, 14
  • 7. Acts 17:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:6
  • 8. 2 Corinthians 5:14; [Job 32:18; Jeremiah 6:11; Jeremiah 20:9; Amos 3:8]
  • 9. Acts 20:21
  • 10. ver. 28; Acts 2:36; Acts 5:42; Acts 17:3; [Acts 3:20; Acts 8:5; Acts 9:22]
  • 11. Nehemiah 5:13; [Acts 13:51]
  • 12. Ezekiel 18:13; Ezekiel 33:4; [2 Samuel 1:16; Matthew 27:25]
  • 13. Acts 20:26(Gk.); [Ezekiel 3:18, 19]
  • 14. See Acts 13:46
  • 15. [Acts 1:23; Colossians 4:11]
  • 16. Acts 16:14
  • 17. 1 Corinthians 1:14
  • 18. See Acts 11:14
  • 19. Acts 23:11; Acts 27:23
  • 20. [Acts 26:16; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4]
  • 21. Acts 27:24; Joshua 1:5, 6; Jeremiah 1:8; Matthew 28:20
  • 22. [See ver. 9 above]
  • 23. [Luke 21:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:2]
  • 24. [John 10:16]
  • 25. See Acts 13:7
  • 26. See Acts 13:50
  • 27. See Acts 16:19
  • 28. ver. 15
  • 29. [Acts 13:10]
  • 30. Acts 23:29; Acts 25:19; [1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:14]
  • 31. ver. 13
  • 32. See John 21:23
  • 33. ver. 2
  • 34. Romans 16:1
  • 35. [Acts 21:23, 24; Numbers 6:2, 18]
  • 36. Acts 19:1; Acts 20:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:32; 1 Corinthians 16:8; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:18
  • 37. ver. 4
  • 38. 1 Corinthians 4:19; 1 Corinthians 16:7; Hebrews 6:3; James 4:15; [Romans 15:32; 1 Peter 3:17]
  • 39. Acts 11:2; Acts 21:15
  • 40. Acts 16:6
  • 41. See Acts 14:22
  • 42. Acts 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 16:12; Titus 3:13
  • 43. [Ezra 7:6]
  • 44. See Acts 9:2
  • 45. Romans 12:11
  • 46. Acts 19:3; Luke 7:29
  • 47. See ver. 2
  • 48. Matthew 22:16; [ver. 25]
  • 49. [Acts 19:1]
  • 50. ver. 18
  • 51. [2 Corinthians 3:1]
  • 52. 1 Corinthians 3:6; [Acts 11:21, 23; Acts 15:11; Ephesians 2:8]
  • 53. See ver. 5

Footnotes 3

Acts 18 Commentaries