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Acts: Chapter 18

Categories: ActsTags: 3.8 min read

Paul continues his journey and meets with others who are keen to help him preach the word of God through an understanding of the teachings, and death and resurrection of Jesus.

Acts 18:1 – 3 Claudius, the Roman emperor had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. If they were Jews by birth they had to leave even if they had become Christians. Priscilla and Aquila were Jews living in Corinth. Both they and Paul were tent makers by trade for it was a rule among the Jews that all children, however wealthy, must be trained for a useful trade.

Acts 18:4 – 8 Paul continued to have problems when preaching about Jesus in the synagogue at Corinth. When Timothy and Silas arrived Paul decided to devote his time to preaching to the Jews. However, he became very disheartened by their response. He shook his clothes as a sign that he would shake off his responsibility for them. Although he continued preaching to both Jews and Gentiles in Corinth he did not go into the synagogue to teach. Instead he went to the house of Titius Justus, a Gentile, where people were willing to listen and be baptised into the saving name of Jesus.

Acts 18:9 – 11 Although Paul was disheartened with the response of many people in Corinth he was given encouragement through a vision to continue preaching in the area. God told him that he had no need to be afraid for there were many people who were interested in the word of God in the city.

Acts 18:12 – 17 Corinth was the chief city of Achaia, and Gallio was the proconsul. He was the brother of the Roman writer and philosopher Seneca. According to Seneca, Gallio was well-known for his easy-going personality. The Jews took Paul to the court overseen by Gallio. They complained that he was encouraging people to worship in ways that were against the Jewish religious laws. However, Gallio refused to become involved in Jewish religious arguments and emphasised that he was only interested in upholding Roman laws.

Acts 18:18 – 22 Priscilla and Aquila had clearly supported Paul in a number of ways during his stay in Corinth and now they were willing to travel with him to continue preaching the word of God. In Cenchrea, a seaport town just a small distance from Corinth, Paul cut his hair because of a vow that he had made. The vow was probably a Nazarite vow. Usually this vow was taken for a certain period of time and when completed, the hair (which had been allowed to grow freely) was cut off and offered to the Lord at a special ceremony at the temple in Jerusalem. The purpose of the vow of a Nazarite was to express an individual’s consecration to God, promising to abstain from food and drink produced from grapes, not to cut your hair, and not to go near a dead body during the time of the vow.
Paul had wanted to preach in Ephesus some two years earlier, but was prevented by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6). Now he was able to preach freely and was able to leave Priscilla and Aquila to continue with the good work. Paul could not stay long in Ephesus because he would have needed to present the offering of his Nazarite vow in Jerusalem at an upcoming feast. Leaving Jerusalem, Paul returned to his home church in Syrian Antioch. This was the end of his second missionary journey.

Acts 18:23 – 27 We don’t know exactly how much time Paul spent back at Antioch but we can see that his third missionary journey began in the regions of Galatia, Phyrgia, and the city of Ephesus. Paul’s first focus on this trip was the strengthening of all the disciples in the areas where he had preached. While Paul was working in Galatia and Phrygia a man named Apollos came from Alexandria to Ephesus. Apollos spoke with fervour and a good knowledge of the Jewish scriptures. Apollos knew of the work of John the Baptist and it is likely that he preached that the Messiah had come and people should repent of their old ways and be baptised as John the Baptist had taught. However, he didn’t understand the true meaning of the teachings of Jesus. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and explained to him the way of God’s purpose, through Jesus, more accurately. With support from Aquila and Priscilla Apollos was able to preach in the region of Achaia and was described as being eloquent and fervent in spirit. He was able to debate with the Jews about the status of Jesus as the promised Messiah.

ADDITIONAL READING

FURTHER THOUGHTS

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