Acts 18 is an important chapter in the Book of Acts, as it covers Paul’s ministry during his second missionary journey and the beginning of his third. It details his time in Corinth, the arrival of Aquila and Priscilla, and the growth of the early church.
Paul’s Arrival in Corinth, Acts 18:1-4
After debating with philosophers in Athens, Paul travels to Corinth, a major city in Greece. He meets Aquila and his wife Priscilla, a couple who had to leave Rome due to Emperor Claudius’ persecution of the Jews, as Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome.
Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla share the same profession of tent-making and work together during the week, and on Sabbaths, Paul focuses on preaching about Jesus as the Messiah in the local synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks
What is the commentary on Acts 18:1?
The commentary on Acts 18:1 describes Paul’s arrival in Corinth after he had been preaching the Gospel in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. While Paul had limited success in Berea and Athens, his preaching was not welcome in Thessalonica and lead to unrest and his departure from the city.
The “After this” in Acts 18:1 represents the time he spent in Athens as that was the last part of his journey before he came to Corinth.
Silas and Timothy Join Paul in Corinth, Acts 18:5-11
Silas and Timothy arrive in Corinth, allowing Paul to dedicate more time to spreading the gospel. Despite facing opposition from the synagogue, Paul continues to preach, even moving to a Gentile believer’s home next door.
The synagogue ruler, Crispus, and many others accept Paul’s message and convert.
Jesus appears to Paul in a vision, encouraging him to stay in Corinth, promising safety. Working to continue strengthening the early church, Paul and his team remain in Corinth for a year and a half.
What does Acts 18:9-10 mean?
Acts 18:9-10 means Paul is to remain in Corinth. The verses record a vision Paul had in Corinth: In this vision, the Lord spoke to Paul, encouraging him to continue preaching the Gospel in Corinth, assuring him of God’s presence and protection amidst opposition.
The Role of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s Ministry
Throughout Acts 18, we see the work of the Holy Spirit guiding Paul and his companions in their ministry.
In Acts 18:9-10, the Lord speaks to Paul in a vision, encouraging him to continue preaching in Corinth, where many people would come to believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s guidance is a recurring theme in the book of Acts, as it empowers believers to spread the gospel and face opposition with strength and courage.
Gallio’s Refusal to Judge Paul, Acts 18:12-17
The non-believing Jews of Corinth unite and make an attempt to convince Gallio, the proconsul, that Paul is a threat to the state.
This situation is reminiscent of Jesus’ crucifixion, where Pilate is caught in a similar predicament, however, unlike Pilate, Gallio refuses to get involved in a religious dispute and does not judge against Paul proclaiming:
The crowd then turns on the synagogue ruler Sosthenes and beats him. Gallio, witness to these actions, takes no action of his own, ensuring Paul’s safety.
Paul’s Departure from Corinth and Return to Antioch, Acts 18:18-23
Paul, along with Priscilla and Aquila, leaves Corinth and travels to Cenchreae, the city’s port. Paul fulfills a vow he had taken and has his hair cut off in Cenchreae before they cross to Ephesus, where he briefly preaches in the synagogue.
Although the Ephesian Jews ask him to stay, he promises to return “if it is God’s will” and sails back to Caesarea in Judea. After visiting a church in Jerusalem, Paul returns to Antioch and later embarks on his third missionary journey, revisiting churches that he and Barnabas had previously established.
Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos, Acts 18:24-28
In Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila encounter Apollos, a gifted Jewish speaker who is well-versed in the Scriptures. However, his comprehensive knowledge is impressive but limited and he perhaps spoke too boldly for only knowing of the baptism of John.
Priscilla and Aquila take Apollos under their wing, teaching him about salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection. As a result, Apollos becomes a powerful Christian teacher.
Apollos eventually travels to Corinth, where he builds upon the foundation Paul had laid and makes a significant impact on the church. As a greater speaker and with his expanded knowledge, he refutes many Jewish opponents in public debates and proves, through Scriptures, that Jesus was the Messiah.
How did Priscilla and Aquila save Paul’s life?
In the Book of Romans, Paul describes Priscilla and Aquila as having “risked their lives” for him. However, the manner and method in which they helped him, nor the specific danger Paul was in, is ever mentioned or clarified. He appears to be incredibly thankful as he goes on to say that “Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” (Romans 16:3-4)
Connecting Acts 18 to the Rest of the Bible
Acts 18 serves as a crucial point in the broader narrative of Acts and the New Testament.
The chapter showcases the perseverance and dedication of Paul and his companions in spreading the gospel, despite facing numerous obstacles. It also emphasizes the power of mentorship and teaching, as seen in the relationship between Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos.
Acts 1:7-8 provides a fitting summary for the Book of Acts and is exemplified in Acts 18 when demonstrating how the early church, led by Paul and his companions, works towards fulfilling the mission of spreading the gospel:
Furthermore, Acts 18 connects with other parts of the New Testament, like 1 Corinthians 1:12, which mentions the divisions in the Corinthian church partly caused by Apollos’ influence.
And Romans 1:9-12, where Paul expresses his desire to visit Rome, a journey he will eventually undertake after being arrested
The Importance of Adapting and Expanding the Gospel Message
Acts 18 also underscores the need for adaptability and flexibility in spreading the gospel message.
As seen in the story of Apollos, he initially taught only as far as John’s baptism and had limited knowledge about Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, with the guidance of Aquila and Priscilla, he gained a deeper understanding of the gospel, leading to him becoming a knowledgeable and influential Christian teacher.
Apollos’ story illustrates the significance of continuous learning, accepting and embracing an expansion of knowledge and the value of mentorship in the Christian faith.
As believers, it is essential to remain open to new insights and perspectives to effectively share the gospel message with others.
Cooperation and Unity Among Believers
Another crucial lesson from Acts 18 is the importance of cooperation and unity among believers. Aquila, Priscilla, and Paul provide a powerful example of collaboration in their ministry, as they work together to spread the gospel message. Their partnership exemplifies the importance of fellowship and mutual support among Christians.
Similarly, the story of Apollos, Aquila, and Priscilla demonstrates the power of collective effort in promoting the gospel. By coming together and sharing their knowledge, they were able to strengthen Apollos’ understanding of the Christian faith, allowing him to become a more effective teacher.
This cooperation and unity among believers serves as a reminder that the work of spreading the gospel is a collective effort that requires the support and contributions of every member of the Christian community.
Acts 18 is a rich chapter that offers valuable insights into the challenges and successes of the early church, as well as the growth of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.
The dedication of Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla, along with the transformative power of mentorship, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of perseverance and teaching in spreading the message of Christ.
By examining Acts 18 in the broader context of the Bible, we can better understand the significance of this chapter and the lessons it offers for Christians today.
What is the main message of Acts 18?
The main message of Acts 18 emphasizes the importance of adapting and expanding the Gospel message, the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding Paul’s ministry, and the value of cooperation and unity among believers. It is the account of Paul’s ministry in Corinth, his encounters with Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos, and the growth of the early Christian church.
Read Acts 18, NIV
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”
Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law – settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” So he drove them off. Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.
Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos
Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.
After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.