Acts 18 Paul Ends Second Journey, Begins a Third
Summary

The early part of chapter 18 deals with Paul’s evangelistic work in Corinth, another Greek city. In this, he works alongside Aquila and Priscilla. Silas and Timothy also came to Corinth from Macedonia. They first preached in the synagogue of the Jews but upon being blasphemed, they went to the Gentiles. Ironically, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue believed. Paul continued at Corinth a year and six months. During that time, the persecution by Jews continued and Paul was brought before the court of Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia. Gallio drove them away. Paul returned to Antioch. As the chapter ends, Paul begins his third preaching journey going to Ephesus.

Paul in Corinth

18After this Paul[1] left Athens and went to Corinth. 2And 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, 3and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. 4And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

5When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. 6And 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.” 7And 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. 8Crispus, 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. 9And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Question 1

Why would the Jews at Corinth, a Greek city, oppose Paul so vigorously?

Question 2

What was the attitude of the authorities at Corinth?

Question 3

What did the Lord say when He spoke to Paul at Corinth?

12But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14But 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. 15But 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.” 16And he drove them from the tribunal. 17And 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.

Paul Returns to Antioch

18After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers[2] and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. 21But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus.

22When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. 23After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Question 4

How does the third evangelistic trip begin?

Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus

24Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit,[3] he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

Question 5

Who was Apollos and how did Aquila and Priscilla wisely deal with him?

People
  • Paul
  • Preaching the gospel in Corinth

  • Aquila and Priscilla
  • Tentmakers from Rome

  • Silas and Timothy
  • Come from Macedonia

  • Justus
  • Lived next door to synagogue

  • Crispus
  • Ruler of synagogue

  • Apollos
  • Alexandrian at Ephesus

Places
  • Corinth
  • In Achaia, Greece

  • Ephesus
  • Paul on return trip to Antioch left Aquila and Priscilla there

  • Galatia, Phrygia and Ephesus
  • Judea
  • Places where Paul preached on 3rd journey

Paul in Corinth

18After this Paul[1] left Athens and went to Corinth. 2And 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, 3and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. 4And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.

Acts 18:1

Corinth is located about forty miles west of Athens.

A synagogue has been excavated near the agora in Corinth. The city was fairly new (about 44 BC) Population was about 200,000 at this time. The Isthmian games were held near Corinth.


Acts 18:2

Although Jewish, Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers (perhaps leatherworkers) from Rome.

The decree to banish Jews from Rome appears to have been made by Claudius in AD 49.

Aquila came from Pontus, near the Black Sea. Priscilla is also called Prisca.

5When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. 6And 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.” 7And 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. 8Crispus, 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. 9And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Acts 18:7

Justus is identified in NU as Titius Justus. He was a God-fearing Greek, the last mentioned in Acts.


Acts 18:8

Crispus is noted in 1 Corinthians 1:14 as one whom Paul baptized.


Acts 18:10

Notice three promises: I am with you; no one will hurt you, I have many people in this city.


Acts 18:11

Paul remained at Corinth a year and a half.

12But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, 13saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” 14But 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. 15But 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.” 16And he drove them from the tribunal. 17And 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.

Acts 18:12

Gallio was proconsul. He was a son of the orator Seneca the Elder and brother of the Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger. He was known to be anti-Jewish.


Acts 18:14

The verdict is essentially that there is no wrong-doing or vicious or fraudulent crime.


Acts 18:15

Gallio saw this as a dispute about the Jewish law including words and names.


Acts 18:17

This Sosthenes may or may not be the same as in 1 Corinthians 1:10. If he is the same person, he could have later obeyed the gospel because here he is simply “the ruler of the synagogue.” Some, however, think this is another name for Crispus (vs. 8) and that this is one person.

Paul Returns to Antioch

18After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers[2] and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. 19And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. 21But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus.

Acts 18:18

Cenchrea was the Corinthian seaport seven miles to the southeast.This vow may be Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-21) or some other personal vow.

22When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. 23After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Apollos Speaks Boldly in Ephesus

24Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit,[3] he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. 27And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

Acts 18:25

Apollos’ teaching is incomplete and thus inadequate until he listens to Aquila and Priscilla.


Acts 18:26

Notice the kind way in which they instruct Apollos, taking him aside.

Perspectives

There is a time to leave hostile critics and move on in the work of the Lord to others who listen.

There will also be those who are indifferent and do not wish to have anything to do with God’s people to help them.

The Gospel can be taught to honest hearts in a gentle and kind manner.