Daily Devotion Text

September 27, 2019

Acts 18 – 2019-9-27

By carmenhsu In Acts, Devotion Text with Comments Off on Acts 18 – 2019-9-27
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  • CHAPTER 18 COMMENTARYBackground: Corinth was situated on the narrow neck of land that joins central Greece to the southern part of mainland Greece. Due to its strategic location, it became a major center of commerce.  It was also the center for the worship of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and had a temple with a thousand sacred prostitutes.

    v.1: “Paul reports that he came to Corinth ‘in weakness and fear and with much trembling’ (1 Cor. 2:3). This is understandable considering the pain he had endured in his last few stops. Paul may not have anticipated encountering much receptivity to his message in Corinth because of its prosperity and reputation for immorality. But he stayed here for over a year and a half and saw the founding of ‘a large and gifted church.’ Bruce writes, ‘It is plain from his two letters to the Corinthians that the church which he planted there caused him many a headache; it was turbulent and unruly, but it was undoubtedly alive, and remains so today.”[1]

    v.3: “[Paul] was a rabbi and according to Jewish practice every rabbi must have a trade. He must take no money for preaching and teaching and must make his own living. This meant that they never became detached scholars and always knew what the life of the working-man was like.” [2]

    v.5: “Silas and Timothy must have brought with them a financial gift from the believers in Macedonia (cf. Philippians 4:15). They also brought good word about the perseverance of the believers in Thessalonica. Paul must have been encouraged by all these factors.” [3]

    v.6: “That he shook the dust from his robe was a dramatic gesture separating him from even the dust found in such a rebellious synagogue. His pointed statement, ‘Your blood be upon your heads!’ is a reference to the Jews’ own responsibility for their eventual spiritual destruction and brings to mind the sobering warning of Ezekiel 33:4.”3

    vv.7-8: “The home of Titius Justus became Paul’s base of operations, and its proximity to the synagogue gave the apostle convenient and ongoing contact with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks. As the synagogue leader, Crispus, would have been responsible for maintenance of the synagogue complex and the services held there. Such a position would have made him a prominent and well-to-do person in the community. Thus, his conversion (and that of his household) was a significant breakthrough for the church.”3

    “It seems that Crispus was removed from his position due to his newfound sympathies for Christians and his belief that Jesus was the Christ.” [4]

    vv.9-11: “Apparently, the conversion of Crispus and other Corinthians together with the formation of a growing ‘house church’ right next door to the synagogue, must have provoked great controversy and opposition. But in contrast to his treatment elsewhere, no would harm Paul – he would not endure bodily harm during this time in Corinth. As a result of this divine word of assurance, Paul spent eighteen months in Corinth preaching and teaching.”3

    vv.18-22: “Paul went into the synagogue in Ephesus, reasoned with the Jews (v.19b), and won an invitation to spend more time with them. He declined it with the promise that he would return if it was God’s will (vv.20-21). It is interesting that earlier too he had been ‘kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia’ (16:6). Now for a second time he seemed to discern that the time was not ripe for full-blown ministry in Ephesus.”[5]

    “With the five-hundred-mile voyage from Ephesus completed, Paul went to Jerusalem, then to Antioch. Having been away from Antioch of Syria for some two years, Paul had much good news to report to his fellow believers. This verse marks the end of Paul’s second missionary journey.”[6]

    “Luke adds a note about Paul’s having his hair cut in connection with a vow he had taken before leaving the eastern port of Corinth (v.18). Hair was cut (usually shaven) after completion of a vow. It would probably be taken to Jerusalem and offered to God. Many have felt that Paul took this vow when he was in a discouraged state at the heart of his ministry in Corinth, or perhaps in connection with the vision he received with the promise of God’s blessing. If so, cutting his hair was an act of thanksgiving for protection while in Corinth.” [7] 

    v.23: “The story of the Third Missionary Journey begins at Ac.18:23. It began with a tour of Galatia and Phrygia to confirm the brethren there. Paul then moved on to Ephesus where he remained for nearly three years. From there he went to Macedonia; he then crossed over to Troas and proceeded by way of Miletus, Tyre and Caesarea to Jerusalem.”[8]

    “Christianity is here described as The Way of the Lord. One of the commonest titles in Acts is: ‘The Way’ (Ac.9:2; Ac.19:9; Ac.19:23; Ac.22:4; Ac.24:14,22), and that title shows us at once that Christianity means not only believing certain things but putting them into practice.”[9]

    v.24: “Apollos came from Alexandria where there were about one million Jews. So strong were they that two out of the five wards into which Alexandria was divided were Jewish. Alexandria was the city of scholars. It was specially the place where scholars believed in the allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament. They believed that not only did the Old Testament record history but that every recorded event had an inner meaning. Because of this Apollos would be exceedingly useful in convincing the Jews, for he would be able to find Christ all over the Old Testament and to prove to them that the Old Testament looked forward all the time to his coming.”[10]

    “For all that there was a lack in his training. He knew only the baptism of John. When we come to deal with the next passage we shall see more clearly what that means. But we can say now that Apollos must have seen the need for repentance and have recognized Jesus as the Messiah; but as yet he did not know the good news of Jesus as the Savior of men and of the coming of the Holy Spirit in power. He knew of the task Jesus gave men to do but he did not yet fully know of the help Jesus gave men to do it. By the words of Aquila and Priscilla he was more fully instructed. The result was that Apollos, who already knew Jesus as a figure in history, came also to know him as a living presence; and his power as a preacher must have been increased a hundredfold.”[11]

    “Into this situation Priscilla and Aquila entered (18:26).  Luke has changed the order of their names from this first mention of them (18:2), giving the wife’s name first (see also 18:18-19).  On two occasions when Paul sends greetings to this couple, he mentions Priscilla first (Rom. 16:3; 2 Tim. 4:19) […]  Priscilla may have been the more prominent of the two.” [12]

    “We are not told whether Apollos lodged in Priscilla and Aquila’s home, but this act of inviting Apollos into their home is typical of the open home attitude that this couple had.  Though Apollos ‘was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures’ (18:24b), he was willing to learn from his hosts.” [13]

    v.25:What was the baptism of John?   A confession of sin and repentance (see Matt. 3:6, 11).  Apollos came from Alexandria in Egypt, where he had perhaps encountered disciples of John carrying the message of repentance from sin.  Another possibility is that he’d been taught by believers in Christ who did not know about or did not practice Christian baptism.  With the limited communication of those days, Christianity did not develop uniformly from one area to the next.  A person can believe in Christ and receive the Spirit before being baptized (10:44-10:48).”[14]

    [1]Ajith Fernando, Acts (The NIV Application Commentary Series, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), p. 490

    [2]William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, (Daily Study Bible Series, Rev.ed. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976),135

    [3]The NIV Life Application New Testament  Commentary, 538

    [4]Quest Study Bible, study notes (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994),1533

    [5]Ajith Fernando, Acts (The NIV Application Commentary Series, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998) 494.

    [6]Acts (The Life Application New Testament Commentary, Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1994) 539.

    [7]Ajith Fernando, Acts (The NIV Application Commentary Series, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998) 494.

    [8] William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1975) 138.

    [9] William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1975) 139.

    [10] William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1975) 139.

    [11] William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. (Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1975) 139.

    [12] Ajith Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998) 504.

    [13] Ajith Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998) 504-505.

    [14] Quest Study Bible, study notes (Grand Rapids, MI:  Zondervan, 1994) 1534.

  • Acts 18:1-22 (ESV) After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. And he reasoned in the synagogueevery Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

    5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. 9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

    12 But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13 saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. 15 But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” 16 And he drove them from the tribunal. 17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this. 18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers[c] and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19 And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. 21 But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus.

    22 When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch.

  • Reflection Question

  • Acts 18:1-22
    • Note again how Paul’s speaking is described in v. 4. How does this challenge me?
    • What was Paul’s trade, and what did it provide for him? What did Silas and Timothy’s arrival from Macedonia enable Paul to do? (See Philippians 4:14-16)

    Philippians 4:14-16 (ESV) 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.

    Acts 18:9-11

    • Consider Paul’s recent experiences as described in Acts 16:22-18:6: beaten and imprisoned in Philippi; rejected by the Jews in Thessalonica; forced to flee an angry crowd in Berea; preaching of the gospel received with mixed results in Athens; and now kicked out of the synagogue in Corinth. How might Paul have been feeling at this point? How does God encourage Paul? Recall a time when I received specific encouragement from God’s word.

    Acts 18:22

    • Paul’s second missionary journey concludes with his return to Antioch. Consider all of the suffering that Paul endured on this trip (15:36-18:22). How does this challenge my level of willingness to suffer for the salvation of souls and the establishment of new churches?
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