Memory verses for this week: Phil 2:12 Wherefore, my
beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but
now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear
In Chapter 17, Paul and
his companions went into Thessalonica and reasoned with the Jews in
the synagogue. Such
opposition arose that they fled to Berea were the people had a more
ready mind to test the words to see if they were true.
But the Jews who opposed Paul in Thessalonica came down to
Berea and cause much trouble.
Paul then went to Athens, were he declared the “unknown
god” that they ignorantly worshipped to the people there on Mars
Hill. This week, Paul
arrives in Corinth. Corinth
was the culture capital of the world during this time, but God’s
view of the city was not like the world’s view.
It was a commercial place of great importance, and had many
activities going on in it like fairs, races, and gambling.
Sailors came in from two different seas, and this was a very
Paul at Corinth
Acts 18:1 After these
things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
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.
Acts 18:3 And because he
was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their
occupation they were tentmakers.
most of the recent travels, Paul had had one to four people with
him. At this time, he
was by himself. Timothy
had joined Paul at Athens, but Paul sent him to Thessalonica.
Silas was still in Berea, and Luke had remained in Phillipi. When Paul came into Corinth, we see he found a Christian
family, Aquila and his wife Priscilla.
It says they had come from Italy when Claudius commanded the
Jews to depart from Rome. This
couple is one of the more notable couples of the New Testament.
They had something in common with Paul, they were all
tentmakers. It is a
wonderful thing to find other Christians when you travel to new
cities. And while
Christians may be a minority in numbers to the world, praise the
Lord you can find Christians in almost any place you travel.
Paul’s Ministry and Founding of the Church at Corinth
Acts 18:4 And he
reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and
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.
was great in Corinth, and many of the Jews followed the possibility
for financial gain. We
see that the Jews had a synagogue there in Corinth as was the case
in most of the cities. Paul
went there every sabbath day and persuaded the Jews and Greeks with
the scriptures. How do you persuade someone?
You do it a little at a time and prove each point.
The Word of God makes it clear that Jesus Christ was the one
who was prophesied to come, and he met every jot and tittle of the
law as was promised. Every
thing that the Law and Prophets had to say about Christ fit him.
Paul not simply asserted that Jesus was the Christ, he
solemnly testified that the virgin born son of Mary was the Christ,
the very one who is Mediator between God and man today.
Only Christ can give life to the spiritually dead.
And all of us, until we accept Christ as Savior, are half
dead. We may have
physical life, but the spiritual man is not alive until we are
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.
Paul first began to teach, the Jews listened to him. But as his teachings became clear about Jesus, they opposed
Paul. Note the
scriptures say they opposed themselves.
Anytime we reject God, we are at odds with our own selves.
God tells us to try and reach that man and woman who are
2 Tim 2:24
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle
unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2 Tim 2:25
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the
2 Tim 2:26
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the
devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Jews were so against the truth Paul was preaching, that he told them
that he was turning his message to 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
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
says after Paul left the synagogue, he came to the home of Justus
and began to hold services right there in the house next to the
synagogue. And it
says that Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue came to the
knowledge of Christ and was saved as well as several of the
Corinthians who were baptized after being saved.
We know that God’s desire is for every believer to be
baptized after they are saved, but not in order to be saved.
Baptism is a work of righteousness which gives us access into
the church. And we know that works of righteousness do not save us.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be
baptized of him.
But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of
thee, and comest thou to me?
And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now:
for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration,
and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs
according to the hope of eternal life.
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.
gather by these verses that Paul’s life may have been in great
danger here in Corinth. We
have seen how the lost rebel against those who preach the truth if
they reject the message. Many
a convicted sinner either comes to repentance, or lashes out in
stands by Paul in the night and tells him not to be afraid.
I looked last night, and “fear not” is in the bible 63
times. God does not
want His children to be fearful, but of a strong mind and of great
courage. And we can be
when we look to God for our strength.
God promises to be with him and not let any harm come to him.
We know from verse 3 of the second book of Corinthians, that
Paul had to have been threatened and in fear while being with these
1 Cor 2:3
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much
Acts 18:11 And he
continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God
was one of the longest periods of time that Paul stayed in one area
teaching the word of God to those who were saved.
Be sure that this was the very will of God for his life, as
Paul was constantly seeking the Lord’s will.
John Calvin said this about verse 11:
“We do not read of Paul staying anywhere else this long;
yet it is evident from his two letters not only that he had to put
up with many troubles, but that he endured many unjust things
because of people’s pride and ingratitude. The Lord made him experience every kind of warfare.
We also see how hard it is to build up the church, since the
best master-builder spent so much time laying the foundation of just
one church. Nor did he
boast of having finished the work, but only that the Lord had
replaced him with other people who would build on his foundation, as
he says later that he planted, but Apollos watered.
1 Cor 3:6
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
1 Cor 3:7
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he
that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Gallio Refuses to hear
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,
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
see that Gallio was the deputy of Achaia and was quite indifferent
to the accusations the people brought against Paul.
The Jews brought Paul to the judgment seat and charged him
with persuading men to worship God contrary to the law.
If this had been a case contrary to Roman law, Gallio would
have heard them. Paul
was never allowed to speak, but if given a chance, I’m sure he
would have told Gallio about Jesus Christ.
While it was good that he did not judge against Paul, the
fact that he never heard Paul was perhaps the greatest loss of his
life if he never came to know Christ as Savior later on.
It says he had nothing to do with the matter and drove them
from the judgement seat. The
Jews then took the ruler of synagogue and beat him.
Anytime someone acts with bitterness and hatred, you can be
sure that the love of the Lord is not in that individual.
The bible says we will know Christians by their fruits.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a
corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a
corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Paul Returns to Antioch
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
Acts 18:19 And he came
to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the
synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
We see Paul made a vow unto
the Lord and cut his hair due to this vow.
It is important that when we vow things that we stand by our
word, particularly when vowing to the Lord.
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he
hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou
shouldest vow and not pay.
Perhaps Paul took a temporary
Nazarite vow or perhaps he took the vow for life.
A man could take a Nazarite vow for 30 days if he so chose.
(See scriptures on Nazarites in Numbers 6:2, 13, 18)
Priscilla and Aquila accompany
Paul to Ephesus, but when they arrive, he leaves them and goes into
the synagogue to reason with the Jews.
I’m sure that the battles Paul faced wore him down, but he
was a man with courage and conviction, and did not give up.
God needs more men like Paul in this old world today.
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
The people wanted Paul to stay
longer, but he said the needed to go down to Jerusalem to keep the
feast. After this he
sailed to Caesarea and then to Antioch, always encouraging and
exhorting the church to serve the Lord.
IV. Apollos teaches at
Ephesus and in Achaia
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.
Apollos was one of the most
remarkable characters in the Bible, and no doubt God had he and Paul
meet for a special reason. He
was a Jew from Alexandria and very learned and eloquent Jew.
In his commentary on Acts, J. Vernon McGee said:
“Apollos was a Jew, which meant he had the background of
the Mosaic Law. His
name, Apollos, is Greek. So
he was a Hellenist of the Diaspora.
He hadn’t been born in Greece or in that area of Macedonia;
he was born at Alexandria in North Africa.
Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, was one of the
great centers of Greek culture.
A great university was there and it had one of the finest
libraries in the world. It
was there that a Greek version of the Old Testament, The Septuagint,
was made. There was a Jewish temple in Alexandria.
The great center of the early church moved from Jerusalem and
Antioch to Alexandria, and it remained important for several
centuries of early church history.
Athanasius, Tertullian, and Augustine, three great men of the
early church, came from there. We are told he was an eloquent man and a great preacher.
Also, it say he was “mighty in the scriptures” which
means he was well trained in the Old Testament.”
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.
Although Apollos had
much knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures, he had not been
informed of things beyond the baptism of John.
Two of those trained under Paul’s ministry, Aquila and
Priscilla, expounded unto to him the way of God more perfectly.
Most likely they brought him up to date on the things that
had happened in Jerusalem about Christ dying on the cross and being
raised from the dead after three days and three nights.
It says that when Apollos expressed a desire to go into
Achaia, the brethren wrote letters of exhortation that the other
churches might receive him with readiness of mind.
We know he was a great man, because verse 28 says that he
convinced the Jews mightily by using the scriptures.
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