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Acts Eighteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Acts 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;

Corinth. Corinth was a very prosperous and very immoral commercial center occupying the entire width of the isthmus just south of Athens. It had a large Jewish colony and, as usual, Paul went first to the chief synagogue, where he preached Christ to its Jews and God-fearing Greek communicants.

Acts 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

Priscilla. Priscilla and Aquila had apparently become Christian believers while in Rome (note Romans 16:3).

Acts 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

occupation. Paul, in accordance with the practice of many of the Jewish scribes and rabbis, normally tried to provide his own material needs in order not to give occasion for complaint by the churches where he was ministering (note Acts 20:34; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8).

Acts 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Acts 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

Acts 18:6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

Acts 18:7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

Acts 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Acts 18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

Acts 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

much people. Many Corinthians did, indeed, accept Christ during the year and a half that Paul preached there (Acts 18:11). It is significant, however, that the Lord already knew them and regarded them as His own people, even before they became believers. Although they eventually believed on Christ as a free choice by their own wills, the Lord had already prepared them to do this through their circumstances and by the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit (note John 16:7-11; Acts 13:48; Galatians 1:15; etc.).

Acts 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Acts 18:12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

Gallio. Gallio's name, as proconsul of Achaia, has actually been found on an inscription at Delphi in Central Greece. He was a son of the famous rhetorician Lucius Junius Gallio and brother of the equally famous philosopher Seneca, and was appointed proconsul of Achaia by the emperor Claudius about a.d. 51. Corinth was the capital of Achaia, which included southern Greece, south of Macedonia.

Acts 18:13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

Acts 18:14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:

Acts 18:15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.

Acts 18:16 And he drave them from the judgment seat.

Acts 18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Sosthenes. Sosthenes evidently became a Christian believer, for he later joined with Paul in addressing the first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:1). He had succeeded Crispus, who had also become a Christian, as chief ruler of the synagogue (Acts 18:8). When Gallio summarily rejected the Jews' complaint against Paul (Acts 18:16), it gave the pagan Greeks an excuse to vent their anti-Jewish hostility in beating Sosthenes. Perhaps this experience contributed to his later conversion.

Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

shorn his head. For some reason, Paul had apparently taken a Nazarite vow, not cutting his hair until the duration of the vow was finished. Possibly it was a vow of thanks for God's promise of protection (Acts 18:10). Although this was strictly a Jewish institution (Numbers 6), Paul often made an effort to retain his Jewish identity, hoping thereby to reach the Jews more effectively (note 1 Corinthians 9:19-20; Acts 16:3; 21:18-26).

Acts 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

Acts 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;

Acts 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

Acts 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

Acts 18:23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

Acts 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

Acts 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

This man was instructed. Apollos is said to have been “mighty in the Scriptures,” “fervent in the Spirit” (undoubtedly referring to the indwelling Holy Spirit), “instructed in the way of the Lord” (directly or indirectly instructed by John the Baptist), and teaching “diligently the things of the Lord.” Even though he knew “only the baptism of John,” he had surely believed all that John had taught, and—like the disciples of John who became the first disciples of Christ—was “prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17), needing only the up-to-date instruction of Priscilla and Aquila to know “the way of God more perfectly” (Acts 18:26) and then to become a mighty preacher like Paul. There is no indication that he—unlike the disciples of John at Ephesus (see notes on Acts 19:1-7)—had to be rebaptized, for he had already accepted by faith the coming one as preached by John. He then went on to Corinth, in Achaia, and continued with great success the work begun there by Paul (Acts 18:27-28; see also 1 Corinthians 3:5-6).

Acts 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

Acts 18:28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.