Acts 18

ACTS 18:1-2  1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.

After what "things" (Acts 18:1) did Paul depart?
(seeActs 17:13-15).

 Where is "Corinth" (Acts 18:1)?
Corinth is located 60 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Athens on the narrow stretch of land that connects the Peloponnese peninsula to mainland Greece. Today, Corinth is a town of 50,000.

What was Corinth like 2,000 years ago?
It was a much larger city. With two ports - one on its west coast and the other on its east coast - as well as the north-south land traffic, Corinth was a major commercial hub brimming with tradesmen, sailors, and the women who catered to them. Situated atop a 2,000 foot cliff behind Corinth was the temple of Aphrodite/Venus, the Greek/Roman 'goddess of love,' where a thousand women worked as temple prostitutes by day and then descended on the streets of Corinth at night. There was so much sexual immorality in Corinth that the city literally became synonymous with sexual immorality: the Greek verb korinthiazomai - literally translated, "to act the Corinthian" - meant to commit sexual immorality. After having Paul take the Gospel to Athens, a city particularly enslaved by pagan philosophies and idol worship, the Lord was having Paul take the Gospel to a city where Satan enslaved people particularly through lust.

Who are "Aquila ... and Priscilla" (Acts 18:2)?
See 18:18.  Aquila and Priscilla.

Where is "Pontus" (Acts 18:2)?
Pontus was a Roman province on the southeastern coast of the Black Sea in what is northeastern Turkey today.

Who was "Claudius" and why had he "commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome" (Acts 18:2)?  
After repeated riots by Jewish Zealots, the Roman Emperor Claudius expelled all Jews from Rome in 49 AD.

ACTS 18:3-4  3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

What did Paul do in Corinth?
He went to "the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 18:4 And during the week, he worked as a tentmaker with Aquila and Priscilla, fellow "tentmakers" (Acts 18:3).

What did "tentmakers" do?
The made tents - portable temporary shelter - either out of leather, which was the typical material for tents back then, and/or the cilicium, the thick goats' hair for which Cilicia, Paul's home province in today's southern Turkey, was famous.

Should preachers like Paul work a "trade" (Acts 18:3) or be financially supported by Christians?
With false preachers already running around squeezing money out of people, Paul stated his Biblical right to receive material support from the Christians he taught, which he chose to forego at times during his ministry so that nobody could accuse him of having preached to make money from people and in effect claim that his preaching was "void": 

"Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the Gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should live from the Gospel. But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void" (1 Corinthians 9:7-15). 

The Bible instructs Christians to provide for their Bible teachers - "Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches" (Galatians 6:6) - and specifies, "Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his wages" (1 Timothy 5:17-18), as well as, "As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:9). Taken together, these verses indicate that preachers who "rule well ... especially those who labor in the word and doctrine" - i.e., according to the Bible - should receive "double honor," while those who preach unbiblically - "preaches any other Gospel to you than what you have received" - not only forego "honor" but in fact are to be "accursed." This meritocracy directs financial support to Biblical preaching to expand it, and away from unbiblical preaching to silence it.

In the Bible, how many servants of God asked - let alone begged - other Christians to give them money for their ministry?
None. And the collection Paul took up was for other Christians in need, not for himself (see Acts 20).

Why is there no case of God's servants begging for money in the Bible?
God provides for the ministries that are His, often without His servants even having to ask for His provision. And a true servant of God, if in financial need, asks God, who then moves the hearts of the Christians who are guarding His resources to disburse it to the servant who prayed to Him.

ACTS 18:5  5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

What is meant by the testimony, "Jesus is the Christ" (Acts 18:5)?
χριστον (Christon), the original Greek word translated "Christ" in "Jesus is the Christ," literally means the "Anointed One" and refers to the One anointed to be the Savior as per John 3:16.

Was the arrival of Silas and Timothy the first time Paul "testified to the Jews [of Corinth] that Jesus is the Christ" (Acts 18:5)?
Paul could not have preached the Gospel, let alone "persuaded" (Acts 18:4) anyone about the Gospel without testifying that Jesus is the Christ.

Then why is the fact that he testified Jesus is the Christ restated here?
It was his final call to the Jews of Corinth. Paul had been witnessing to and sharing the Gospel to the Jews of Corinth until Silas and Timothy arrived. The Holy Spirit used their arrival to turn Paul's ministry toward the "gentiles" (Acts 18:6) of Corinth and had "compelled" (Acts 18:5) Paul to make a final declaration to the Jews so that those who had been converted could leave with him.

Weren't "Silas and Timothy" supposed to meet Paul in Athens?
Yes - "So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed" (Acts 17:15) - and they did meet Paul in Athens. From Athens, Timothy was dispatched back to Thessalonica to minister to the young church there - "Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the Gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this" (1 Thessalonians 3:1-3) 

  • and Silas apparently to another region of "Macedonia" (Acts 18:5). And from Macedonia, Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul in Corinth, bringing financial support from the Macedonian Christians as Paul later indicated to the Corinthian church: "And when I was present with you and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied..." (2 Corinthians 11:9).

ACTS 18:6  6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the gentiles."

What does "blasphemed" (Acts 18:6) mean?
βλασφημουντων (blasphemounton), the original Greek word translated "blasphemed," means "speaking impiously or irreverently of God."

What is God's penalty for those who blaspheme?
Death: And the Israelite woman’s son blasphemed the name of the Lord and cursed; and so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) Then they put him in custody, that the mind of the LORD might be shown to them. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death'" (Leviticus 24:11-16). 

What did God say about people who blaspheme?
Creatures exist to glorify the Creator, who is so against His creatures verbally rebelling against Him and their purpose of existence that He made the interdiction of blasphemy one of His Ten Commandments: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7 Also 1 John 1:8).

In what way to people blaspheme today?
Any expression that mentions "God," "Jesus," "Christ," "Lord," or "Holy" in an impious or irreverent manner, including to express shock, surprise, frustration or disgust.

What must people who have blasphemed do now?
Repent and cry out to God for forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, and never blaspheme again.

What must Christians do when we hear people blaspheme?
If you heard someone curse your father, mother, husband or wife, would you remain silent and let them continue, or would you confront them and defend the honor of your loved one? How much more you should defend the honor of your Creator and Savior! When you hear someone blaspheme, confront the blasphemer, advise him or her of the seriousness of both their sin against God and His penalty (above) for it, and warn them not to blaspheme again. If you hear someone blaspheme on TV, change the channel. If you hear someone blaspheme in a movie that you are watching at a movie theatre, exit the projection hall, ask to see the manager, advise him or her of the violation against both God and your religious beliefs, and request a refund. They will provide it, and eventually inform their superiors that movies that blaspheme cause them to lose money. If you hear someone blaspheme in a movie you purchased online, file a complaint and request a refund to customer service. Do this not for the refund but to defend God's Holy name and honor.

Why did Paul shake "his garments" (Acts 18:6) at the Jews who opposed him?
As a testimony against their rejection of the Gospel, as Jesus had commanded: "And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them..." (Mark 6:11)

Why did Paul tell them, "Your blood be upon your own heads" (Acts 18:6)?
They had "blasphemed" (Acts 18:6) and therefore would suffer the consequences. But he was also referring to the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel's warning: "1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. 7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul." (Ezekiel 33:1-9)

Why is Ezekiel 33:1-9 a liberating, as well as a frightening passage for all who have the responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
It is liberating because it limits our responsibility to warning against and sharing the Gospel, not to converting anyone. It is frightening because God is declaring that if we do not warn against sin and share the Gospel - if "you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 33:8).

What did God mean by requiring "blood ... at your hand" (Ezekiel 33:8)?
You will not "have delivered your soul" (Ezekiel 33:9) - i.e., it will prove that you yourself are not saved.

ACTS 18:7  7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.

After "he departed from" (Acts 18:7) the synagogue, how far did Paul have to go?
Just "next door to the synagogue," to the house of "house of a certain mane named Justus, one who worshiped God" (Acts 18:7).

ACTS 18:8  8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.

Who among others followed Paul out of the synagogue to Justus' house?
"Crispus, the rule of the synagogue" (Acts 18:8). Christians should never exclude anyone as being beyond the Lord's reach through our witnessing.

ACTS 18:9-11  9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Why did the Lord speak to "Paul in the night by a vision" (Acts 18:9)?
Apparently, Paul had been "afraid" (Acts 18:9), either keeping or considering keeping "silent" (Acts 18:9), and concerned about his safety. It is possible that he had received or heard of threats and begun to wonder if the Lord wanted him to move elsewhere.

Who are the "many people in this city" (Acts 18:10) God mentioned to Paul?
Had they been Christians already known to Paul, the Lord would not have mentioned them to Paul. They were unlikely to have been Christians unknown to Paul since Paul was the instrument the Lord was using to preach the Gospel in Corinth; they were most likely the people the Lord intended to soon convert.

How long did Paul remain in Corinth to teach "the word of God among them" (Acts 18:11)?
"A year and six months" (Acts 18:11)

ACTS 18:12-13  12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”

Who is "Gallio" (Acts 18:12)?
Gallio was the older brother of Seneca, the Roman stoic philosopher who first tutored and later counseled Nero, the future Roman Emperor. In 52 AD, the Roman Senate appointed Gallio the governor or "proconsul" of the Roman Senatorial province (see Proconsul) of "Achaia" (Acts 18:12), whose capital was Corinth.

Why did the Jews bring Paul "to the judgment seat" (Acts 18:12)?
As the newly appointed proconsul, Gallio in theory should have been amenable to a request from those he needed to govern. If Gallio had ruled against Paul from the judgment seat and ordered him punished, he would have cleared the path for the Jews to haul in more Christians.

ACTS 18:14-17  14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.

Who defended Paul?
The Lord, who was "with" (Acts 18:10) Paul as He had promised, through Gallio. Paul didn't even have to "open his mouth" (Acts 18:14).

Who was "Sosthenes" (Acts 18:16)?
The "ruler of the synagogue" (Acts 18:17) who had succeeded "Crispus" (Acts 18:8) and probably the ringleader of the Jews who "with one accord rose up against Paul" (Acts 18:12).

What was the impact of "all the Greeks" (Acts 18:17) beating Sosthenes before the judgment seat?
Instead of Paul and Christians being punished, the persecutor of Paul and Christians was punished. Even when Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed unjustly, as in Philippi, the Lord used that persecution to grant them a fruitful prison ministry and to invalidate the persecution against them (see Acts 16). As hard as he may try, Satan's plots keep backfiring. God always wins in the end, as He did in Corinth, in Philippi, and on the cross.

ACTS 18:18  18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.

What vow?
Probably the Nazirite/Nazarite vow is taken by individuals who have voluntarily dedicated themselves to God. The vow is a decision, action, and desire on the part of people whose desire is to yield themselves to God completely. By definition, the Hebrew word nazir, simply means “to be separated or consecrated.” The Nazirite vow, which appears in Numbers 6:1-21, has five features. It is voluntary, can be done by either men or women, has a specific time frame, has specific requirements and restrictions, and at its conclusion a sacrifice is offered.

Remember "Priscilla and Aquila" (Acts 18:18)?
Aquila and Priscilla were husband and "wife" (Acts 18:2) Christians who came from Rome to Corinth, where they met Paul. Aquila was a "Jew ... born in Pontus" (Acts 18:2), which is in Turkey today. While Priscilla could have been a gentile whom Aquila met and married in Rome or elsewhere, it is more likely that Priscilla was also a Jew and from Pontus, like Aquila. Like Paul, Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers by trade and labored with him to provide for themselves while evangelizing in Corinth. When Paul went to Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla accompanied him and the remained in Ephesus while Paul continued onward (see below).

Where is "Cenchrea" (Acts 18:18)?
Cenchrea was the eastern port of Corinth. Cenchrea thrived commercially during the Roman Empire but declined thereafter. Today, it is a small village of a few hundred people and called Kechries.

ACTS 18:19-21  19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.

Why didn't Paul stay in Ephesus (Acts 18:20)?
For the “coming feast.” This was probably the Feast of Pentecost. If he missed that, there would be no other feast till that of Tabernacles; and then, in October, travelling, whether by sea or land, became dangerous and difficult.

ACTS 18:22-23  22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23 After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

Where did Paul go from Ephesus?
He "sailed" (Acts 18:21) to "Caesarea" (Acts 18:22), the main port in Israel. From Caesarea, he went south by land to Jerusalem "and greeted the church" (Acts 18:22), and then went back north ("down" (Acts 18:22) in terms of elevation) to "Antioch" (Acts 18:22) of "Syria" (Acts 18:18), where his missionary journey had begun. After spending "some time there" (Acts 18:23), Paul started out again through "Galatia and Phrygia" (Acts 18:23).

ACTS 18:24  24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Who was "Apollos" (Acts 18:24)?
Apollos was a "Jew ... born at Alexandria" (Acts 18:24) of Egypt, which means he was North African. Apollos was also "an eloquent man" (Acts 18:24).

What is meant by Apollos being "mighty in the Scriptures" (Acts 18:24)?
He knew the Old Testament well.

ACTS 18:25  25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.

What is meant by Apollos knowing "only the baptism of John" (Acts 18:25)?
He knew up to the baptism of John, who had prophesied, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11).

ACTS 18:26  26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

What did Apollos began to preach "boldly in the synagogue" (Acts 18:26)?
Repent, for the Messiah is coming.

How did his message change after Aquila and Priscilla "explained to him the way of God more accurately" (Acts 18:26)?
Repent, for the Messiah already came: "Jesus is the Christ" (Acts 18:28).

Where was Apollos converted to Christianity?
In Ephesus

ACTS 18:27-28  27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

Why did Apollos want go to "Achaia" (Acts 18:27)?
Having just come from Corinth of Achaia, Aquila and Priscilla probably told him about the persecution of the "brethren" (Acts 18:27) by the "Jews" (Acts 18:28) in Achaia. Apollos was a "fervent" (Acts 18:25), "bold..." (Acts 18:26) and "eloquent" (Acts 18:24) firebrand whose gifting was particularly suited to "vigorously refute... the Jews publicly" (Acts 18:28) and strengthen the young church in Achaia, while Paul "will return again" (Acts 18:21) to Ephesus after his whirlwind tour to report to the church in Jerusalem, revisit his home church in Antioch of Syria, as well as "strengthening" (Acts 18:23) the churches previously planted in "Galatia and Phrygia" (Acts 18:23).

Who is coordinating everyone's roles and movements?
God, by whose "grace" (Acts 18:27) we are saved and who deployed Paul, Apollos, Aquila and Priscilla in His invasion of Satan's teitory, as a general deploys his troops for battle, leads the charge, and deserves the glory for the victory, as Paul later wrote to the Corinthians: "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase" (1 Corinthians 3:5-7).

Paul and Apollos…

1 Corinthians 3 and 4


1400 Modified: 31-08-2022
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