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Bible Commentaries
Acts 18

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


And went on to Corinth. This distance is forty-five miles by sea. The Romans had destroyed this city in 146 B.C., and it had been rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. It was a gateway for commerce between Italy and Asia. Its moral climate was demonstrated by the Temple of Venus Pandemos, which utilized a thousand prostitutes.

Verse 2


A Jew named Aquila. Some think the term “Jew” shows he was not yet a Christian. Johnson thinks both Aquila and Priscilla became Christians at Corinth. Yet Paul may mention that this man was a Jew, only to account for the fact he had just come from Italy.

Verse 3


And stayed and worked with them. They both made tents. Every Jewish boy was taught a manual trade, no matter what future had been planned for him. They said: “Whoever does not teach his son to work, teaches him to steal “ Paul sometimes worked at his trade to support himself. See Acts 20:34; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 4:12. Other times he received money from others (Philippians 4:15-16).

Verse 4


He argued in the synagogue. After working six days making tents, he spent the seventh day proclaiming the Good News of Christ.

Verse 5


When Silas and Timothy arrived. They had stayed at Berea (Acts 17:14), but Paul had sent for them to join him. Timothy must have joined him at Athens, and been immediately sent back to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3:1). He would now be returning from there to be with Paul. Some, however, think Timothy is just now meeting with Paul the first time since Berea. Paul now devoted full time to preaching the message of Christ.

Verse 6


When they opposed him. They became hostile and said evil things against both him and the Christ he preached. He protested. Shaking the dust off was symbolic (see Luke 9:5 and note). I am not responsible. The choice was their own. Paul had fulfilled his mission. He would now go to the Gentiles in this area. [But see Acts 19:8.]

Verses 7-11


So he left them. Paul now makes the house of a Gentile into his own synagogue, next door to the Jewish synagogue! Titus Justus may be the Titus to whom Paul wrote a letter. See introduction to Titus. Crispas. Paul baptized the leader of the synagogue with his own hands (1 Corinthians 1:14). One night Paul had a vision. God promised success in his mission to turn people to Christ. No political ideology can give Christianity a greater test than it received at Corinth. Yet there were many even here who would and did respond to the Good News of God’s act in Christ to set men free. See what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. So Paul stayed there. During this time he wrote the two letters to the Thessalonians.

Verses 12-17


When Gallio was made. Ramsay thinks this was in the summer of 52 A.D. Gallio’s brother, Seneca, was the teacher of Nero. Seized Paul and took him Into court. This implies they could not stir up a mob against him, as had been done at other places. In a way that is against the law. Rome permitted many religions, including Judaism. Since these Jews have no authority over Paul, they try to make him “look bad” to Gallio. Paul was about to speak. Gallio interrupts to scold the Jews for bringing this to him. He seems to think Christianity is just another sect of Judaism. He has no love for either the Jews or the Christians, and throws the whole thing out of court. This does show that the Roman authorities would do nothing to stop the spread of Christianity at this time. And he drove them out. The guards ejected them. They all grabbed Sosthenes. They take out their frustration on their own leader by beating him. Gallio ignored the whole thing. It was only the Jews, who he considered irrational anyway.

Verses 18-23


Paul stayed on in Corinth. This may be included in the year and a half (Acts 18:11). The point is that he was not forced to leave the area by what the Jews were doing. Then left them and sailed off. Heading back to Antioch in Syria, to the “parent church” that sent him out. Before sailing he made a vow. Cenchreae was the eastern harbor of Corinth, where shipping for the East arrived and departed. Jews often made vows for personal reasons. Why Paul did this just now, we do not know. It could be that it was part of some custom which would help him reach his Jewish people with the gospel (compare Acts 21:24). They arrived in Ephesus. On the coast of the Roman province of Asia. He went into the synagogue. As he always did. Compare note on Acts 17:2. They seemed to be interested in what he said, but he could not stay. If it is the will of God. See James 4:13-17. Paul was making a hurried trip to Jerusalem, perhaps for the feast of Pentecost. He did return (Acts 19:1). He sailed from Ephesus to Caesarea, then traveled some seventy miles inland to Jerusalem. And greeted the church. We are told nothing else about this visit. This would be his fourth visit to Jerusalem since becoming a Christian (Acts 9:26; Acts 11:30; Acts 12:25). It could be that he made this fourth visit to complete a vow (Acts 18:18). Then went to Antioch. The “parent church” of the Gentile Christians. He did not stay long, but started his third tour of missions.

Verses 24-28


A certain Jew named Apollos. Alexandria was the cultural center of the Greek-speaking Jews. The Septuagint [Greek translation of the Old Testament] was written there; and the most magnificent synagogue was there. Johnson thinks this man was a teacher of the Law. And taught correctly the facts about Jesus. He may have known as much of the facts as were contained in Mark’s Gospel, in its mutilated form (without the longer ending), and so knew only John’s water baptism. See note on Acts 19:4. He knew nothing of the final instructions Christ had given (Matthew 28:19-20) and the events of Pentecost. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him. The fact that he knew only the baptism of John distorted his understanding, and it was necessary to explain more correctly the Way of God. Nothing is said about him being re-immersed (baptized), but Acts 19:5 would strongly imply that he was. Apollos decided to go to Greece. The believers send letters along with him to “identify” him to their brothers (in Christ) there. He was a great help. His knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures helped him present a powerful argument to prove Jesus is the Messiah.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Acts 18". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/acts-18.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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