Chapter 18: Acts 18: 1-28, Concluding Paul’s second missionary journey
Heavenly Father, help us to encounter You as we journey with Paul to Corinth. Give us ears to listen, eyes to see, hearts to learn, minds to know, and willingness to obey, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Paul traveled from Athens to Corinth, the capital of Achaia. Ancient Achaia is Southern Greece today. Northern Greece and Southern Greece are seperat4e by a narrow 4 miles wide Isthmus. Today, ships can cross Corinth from east to west and vice versa, via the Corinthian canal but this was not possible in the first-century world. Ancient Corinth was a big city with a population of 200,000.
Corinth had a reputation for Corinthian bronze, Corinthian architecture, Corinthian columns, Corinthian sports, Isthmian games, and immorality. A Corinthian is someone immoral. To corinthianise means to be a prostitute. The temple of Aphrodite housed 1000 prostitutes who roamed the streets of Corinth every night to ply their trade.
VV 1-4, After these things Paul departed from Athens and came to Corinth. 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.3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought, for by their occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Paul met Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth, a husband and wife Jewish tentmakers from Rome. They had migrated to Corinth due to persecution by Claudius Caesar, the emperor of Rome.
VV 5-8, 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. 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. 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. 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.
Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul in Corinth from Macedonia. Paul preached to Corinthians Jews that Jesus was the Christ but they did not believe and persecuted him. Shaking his garments as a sign of breaking fellowship, Paul announced that he would take the gospel to the Gentiles.
Paul entered the house of Justus, a Gentile God-fearer. Crispus, a ruler of the synagogue believed. Many Gentiles Corinthians believed and were baptised.
VV 9-13, 9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace. 10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee, for I have much people in this city. 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. 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, 13 saying, this fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision encouraging him to continue speaking with a promise to protect him. Jesus had many people loyal to Him in Corinth. Paul stayed on in Corinth for 18 months, teaching the word of God, from 50-52 AD. The Jews joined hands to persecute Paul and brought him before Roman proconsul Gallio.
VV 14-17, 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. 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. 16 And he drave them from the judgment seat. 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.
Gallio spoke up for Paul but did not want to be involved. He dismissed the case and sent the Jews away from the judgment seat. The Greeks beat Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue at the judgment seat but Gallio ignored it.
VV 18-23, 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. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there, but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not, 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. 22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. 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.
Paul left Corinth, and sailed to Ephesus in Asia Minor via Cenchrea, with Priscilla and Aquila. Paul shaved his hair at Cenchrea because he had taken a Nazarite wow, Number 6:1-4. Aquila and Priscilla parted company with Paul at Ephesus but Paul continued to preach in the local synagogue. The Ephesians believers begged Paul to stay longer but he declined because he had to be in Jerusalem before the feast. Paul left Ephesus by sea and landed in Caesarea, and traveled by land to Antioch, Syria, bringing his second missionary journey to a close.
Paul’s second missionary journey took 3 years from 49 to 52 AD. Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians during this second missionary journey.
After some time in Antioch, Syria, Paul started his third missionary journey, traveling through Galatia, Asia Minor. You can follow Paul’s third missionary journey on a map available on the internet.
Numbers 6:1-4, “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.”
VV 24-25, 24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 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
The author of Acts introduced us to Apollos in Ephesus who was a bible scholar, teacher, preacher, orator, and disciple of John the Baptist. His full name was Apollonius, a Hellenistic Jew from Alexandria, a Jewish settlement in Egypt, where the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the New Testament, was compiled in 132 BC. Baptised by John the Baptist, Apollos did not know about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
VV 26-28, 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.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. 28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
Aquila and Priscilla discipled Apollo and taught him that Jesus was the Christ. Apollos left Ephesus and crossed over to Corinth, where he taught and discipled the believers. He confronted the unbelieving Jews boldly proving from scripture that Jesus was the Messiah. Apollos made a great impact on the Corinthian church.
Aquila and Priscilla took Apollo aside and discipled him. The church needs more Aquila’s and Priscillas. Have you taught and discipled anyone in the faith? The church needs more Apollos who made an impact on the church. Do have an Apollos spirit? Have you made an impact on the church?
Heavenly Father, we pray that You will deposit into us the spirit of Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos. Help us to make an impact on the lives of people through mentoring, discipleship, and teaching, in Jesus’ name, Amen.