Acts 18:23

23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all the believers.

Acts 18:23 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 18:23

And after he had spent some time there
At Antioch:

he departed;
from thence:

and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order,
strengthening all the disciples;
that were in those parts, confirming them in the faith of Christ, and fortifying their minds against the temptations of Satan, and encouraging them to bear the reproaches and persecutions of men; which shows the affection, diligence, and industry of the apostle: it seems there were disciples in these countries of Galatia and Phrygia, which very likely were made by the apostle, when he passed trough those places, ( Acts 16:6 ) and who were the beginning of Gospel churches in these places, which continued for ages after: certain it is, there were churches in Galatia in the apostle's time, of whom he makes mention, and to whom he wrote, ( 1 Corinthians 16:1 ) ( Galatians 1:2 ) . According to the apostolical constitutions, Crescens, mentioned ( 2 Timothy 4:10 ) was appointed by the apostles bishop of the churches of Galatia; and particularly it is said, that he was bishop of Chalcedon in Galatia; (See Gill on Luke 10:1) and in the "second" century, there was a church at Ancyra, which was disturbed by the heresy of Montanus, and was established by Apolinarius, who makes mention of the elders of this church F17: in the "third" century there were churches in Galatia, which Stephen bishop of Rome threatened with excommunication, because they rebaptized heretics: in the beginning of the "fourth" century, there were bishops from hence, which assisted at the council of Nice, against Arius, and at the synod of Sardica, in the same century; and at the beginning of it, Clemens bishop of Ancyra, after he had taught twenty nine years, suffered much in the persecution of Dioclesian, first at Rome, then at Nicomedia, and at last was put to death by the sword; in this age also lived Basil, bishop of Ancyra, under Constantius; he first came to the bishopric of that place under Constantine, but being deprived of it for four years, was restored by Constantius in the council of Sardica; under the former he disputed against Photinus, as Epiphanius F18 relates; who makes mention of Anysius his deacon, and Eutyches and Theodulus his notaries; and the same writer F19 takes notice of several elders and officers of the same church in that age, as Photinus, Eustathius, another Photinus, and Sigerius, elders, Hyginus deacon, Heracides subdeacon, Elpidus reader, and Cyriacus president of the church: in the "fifth" century, there were many churches in Galatia, yea, they are said to be innumerable; Leontius was bishop of Ancyra in the times of Arcadius and Honorius; and was succeeded by Theodotus, who was in the first Ephesine synod against Nestorius, as was also Eusebius bishop of the same church, at another synod in the same place; Anastasius was bishop of the said church, lived under the emperor Leo the first, and was at the synod of Constantinople; Meliphthongus, bishop of Juliopolis in the same country, assisted at several synods; Eusebius, bishop of Aspona in Galatia, was present in the first synod at Ephesus, against Nestorius; likewise Peter bishop of Gangrae, and Theoctistus bishop of Pessinus, both lived in the time of the two synods, the infamous one at Ephesus, and the other at Chalcedon: in the "sixth" century, there were bishops of Ancyra, Juliopolis, and other cities in Galatia, who were present at the Roman and Constantipolitan synod; in this age, under Anastasius the emperor, lived Dorotheus bishop of Ancyra: in the "seventh" century were present, at the sixth council at Constantinople, several bishops of the churches of Galatia; as of Sinope, Pessinus, Aspona, and others: in the "eighth" century, mention is made of Basil, bishop of the church at Ancyra, Nicodemus bishop of Didymi, Gregory bishop of Sinope: and even in the ninth century a garrison of Christians was placed in Ancyra, against the incursions of the Saracens F20; so long the Christian name remained in those parts: and that there were also churches in Phrygia is as evident; Aristarchus, a companion of the apostle Paul, is said to be bishop of Apamea, which was a city in Phrygia; (See Gill on Luke 10:1) the second century, Papias, a disciple of the Apostle John, was bishop of Hierapolis in this country F21; and in the same age there was a church at Philomelium in Phrygia, to which the church at Smyrna wrote a letter, still extant in Eusebius F23, which gives an account of the martyrdom of Polycarp; likewise the church at Lyons, in France, sent a letter to the churches in Asia and Phrygia, giving an account of their martyrs, which is to be seen in the same writer {x}; in this century lived Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis, who opposed the Phrygian heresy of Montanus; and who makes mention of Zoticus, of the village of Comana, and Julianus of Apamea, both in Phrygia, as his fellow elders and bishops F25: Dionysius, of Alexandria, speaks of a church, and of the brethren at Synnada, which was in Phrygia, in a letter of his to Philemon, a presbyter at Rome F26; at Lampsacus in Phrygia, there were martyrs that suffered under Decius: in the third century, there was a church at Hierapolis, famous from the times of the apostles. Tertullian makes mention of the believers in Christ in Phrygia, in his time F1: in the beginning of the "fourth" century under Dioclesian, a whole city in Phrygia of Christians was set on fire and burnt, men, women, and children, calling upon Christ the God of all F2; and at the council of Nice, under Constantine, were present bishops of many churches in Phrygia; as Ilium, Synnada, Eucarpia, Hierapolis, and others; at Lampsacus, in this country, was held a memorable synod against Eudoxus and Acacius, the chief of the Arian faction: in the "fifth" century there were churches in Phrygia; Theodosius and Agapetus were bishops of Synnada in Phrygia Pacatiana; Marinianus, bishop of the same place, was present at the several synods in this century; Nunechius of Laodicea, Gennadius of Acmonii, Thomas and Olympius, both of Theodosiopolis, Lucianus of Ipsa, Albertus of Hierapolis, Eusebius of Doryleus, with many others, all in Phrygia, are made mention of in history: in the "sixth" century, several bishops of Phrygia, as of Philomelium were present at the synod held at Rome and Constantinople: in the "seventh" century, bishops of several churches in this country, as of Hierapolis, Synnada assisted at the sixth synod at Constantinople: in the eighth century were many churches here, whose bishops were present at the Nicene synod, as Basil, bishop of Pergamus, Nicetas of Ilium, John of Synnada, and others F3.


F17 Apud Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 16.
F18 Contra Haeres. l. 3. Haeres. 71.
F19 Ib. Haeres. 72.
F20 Magdeburg. cent. 3. c. 7. p. 117. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. c. 9. p. 350, 425. c. 10. p. 550, 554. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 604, 605. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 5. c. 10. p. 341. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 5. c. 10. p. 360. cent. 9. c. 2. p. 3.
F21 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 36.
F23 Ib. l. 4. c. 15.
F24 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 5. c. 1.
F25 Ib. c. 16.
F26 Ib. l. 7. c. 7.
F1 Adv. Judaeos, c. 7.
F2 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 8. c. 11.
F3 Magdeburg. Hist. Eccles. cent. 3. c. 2. p. 2. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. c. 9. p. 48l. cent. 5. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 597. &c. cent. 6. c. 2. p. 4. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 10. p. 254. cent. 8. c. 2. p. 4. c. 10. p. 366.

Acts 18:23 In-Context

21 As he left, however, he said, “I will come back later, God willing.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.
22 The next stop was at the port of Caesarea. From there he went up and visited the church at Jerusalem and then went back to Antioch.
23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all the believers.
24 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt.
25 He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Greek disciples; also in 18:27 .
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