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The Apostle Paul in Corinth

18 When Paul left Athens he traveled to Corinth,[a] where he met a Jewish man named Aquila, who was originally from northeastern Turkey.[b] He and his wife, Priscilla, had recently emigrated from Italy to Corinth because Emperor Claudius had expelled all the Jews from Rome. Since Paul and Aquila were both tentmakers[c] by trade, Paul moved in with them and they became business partners.

Every Sabbath day Paul spoke openly in the synagogue, to both Jews and non-Jews,[d] attempting to persuade them to believe the message of Jesus.

When Silas and Timothy finally arrived from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word of God,[e] trying to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.

When they viciously slandered him and hurled abuse on him, he symbolically shook the dust off his clothes in protest against them. He said to them, “Have it your way then! I am guiltless as to your fate, for the blood-guilt of your actions will be on your own heads, and from now on I will preach to the non-Jews.”

Leaving the synagogue, Paul went to the home of Titus,[f] a convert to Judaism, for he and his family attended the Jewish meetings[g] and they had all become believers in Jesus. Crispus,[h] the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire family, and many of the Corinthians who heard what had happened believed in the Lord and were baptized.

One night, the Lord spoke to Paul in a supernatural vision and said, “Don’t ever be afraid. Speak the words that I give you and don’t be intimidated, 10 because I am with you.[i] No one will be able to hurt you, for there are many in this city whom I call my own.”

11 For the next year and a half, Paul stayed in Corinth, faithfully teaching the word of God.

Paul Brought before the Roman Official Gallio

12 Now, at that time, Gallio was the regional governor who ruled over the Roman province of Achaia,[j] and the Jews turned against Paul and came together to seize him and bring him publicly before the governor’s court.[k] 13 They accused him before Gallio, saying, “This man is creating a disturbance by persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our laws.”

14 Just as Paul was about to speak in his defense, Gallio interrupted and said, “Wait! If this involved some major crime or fraud, it would be my responsibility to hear the case. 15 But this is nothing more than a disagreement among yourselves over semantics[l] and personalities[m] and traditions of your own Jewish laws.[n] Go and settle it yourselves! I refuse to be the judge of these issues.” 16 So Gallio dismissed them from the court.

17 Immediately the crowd turned on Sosthenes,[o] one of the leaders[p] of the synagogue who sided with Paul. They seized him and beat him up right there in the courtroom! But Gallio showed no concern at all over what was happening.

Priscilla and Aquila

18 After remaining in Corinth several more days, Paul finally bid shalom[q] to the believers and sailed away for the coast of Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila.[r] Before they left, Paul had his head shaved at Cenchrea,[s] because he had taken a vow of dedication.

19 When they reached Ephesus,[t] Paul left Priscilla and Aquila behind, then he went into the synagogue and spoke to the Jews. 20 They asked him to stay longer, but he refused 21 and said farewell to them, adding, “I will come back to you, if it is God’s will, after I go to Jerusalem to observe the feast.”[u] Then he set sail from Ephesus for Caesarea.

22 When he arrived there he traveled on to Jerusalem to visit the church and pray for them,[v] then he left for Antioch. 23 After spending some time there, Paul continued on through the region of Galatia and Phyrgia in central Turkey. And wherever he went he encouraged and strengthened the believers.[w]

The Ministry of Apollos

24 A Jewish man by the name of Apollos arrived in Ephesus. He was a native of Alexandria[x] and was recognized as an educated and cultured man. He was powerful in the Scriptures, 25 had accepted Jesus, and had been taught about the Lord. He was spiritually passionate[y] for Jesus and a convincing teacher, although he only knew about the baptism of John. 26 He fearlessly preached[z] in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos’ teachings, they met with him privately[aa] and revealed to him the ways of God more completely.[ab]

27 Then Apollos, with the encouragement of the believers, went to the province of Achaia.[ac] He took a letter of recommendation from the brothers of Ephesus so his ministry would be welcomed in the region. He was a tremendous help to the believers and caused them to increase in grace.[ad] 28 Apollos boldly and publicly confronted the Jews, vigorously debating them, proving undeniably from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.

Footnotes

  1. 18:1 Corinth is about forty-eight miles (seventy-eight kilometers) from Athens. It was a large commercial center with trade links all over the entire ancient world. It was the home of the famous Isthmian Games and the temple of Aphrodite, which held a thousand temple prostitutes. Corinth was known for its debauchery. In the midst of a depraved culture, God birthed a church to become light to the people of their city.
  2. 18:2 Or “Pontus,” a Roman province in northeastern Asia Minor (Turkey).
  3. 18:3 The Aramaic can also mean “saddle makers.”
  4. 18:4 The Aramaic is “pagans.”
  5. 18:5 The Aramaic is “the manifestation of God.”
  6. 18:7 The Greek text is “Titus Justus,” but the Aramaic only has Titus. It is possible that he is the Titus who accompanied Paul in ministry and the one Paul addressed in the book of Titus.
  7. 18:7 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek says that Titus Justus lived next door to the synagogue.
  8. 18:8 Crispus was one of the few people Paul baptized. See 1 Cor. 1:14. According to church tradition he became the bishop of Aegina.
  9. 18:10 Somewhat more explicit in the Aramaic, this is the great “I AM” who is speaking with Paul, assuring him of God’s presence.
  10. 18:12 The province of Achaia included the three most important parts of southern Greece: Attica, Boeotia, and the Peloponnesus. Gallio was the brother of Seneca, the tutor of Nero.
  11. 18:12 Or “judgment seat.” This was a raised platform with a marble bench where judicial and governmental decrees were issued. This bench has been discovered after excavations in the agora.
  12. 18:15 Or “doctrines.”
  13. 18:15 Or “names.”
  14. 18:15 The Aramaic is “Torah” (the first five books of Moses).
  15. 18:17 Sosthenes means “savior of our nation.” See 1 Cor. 1:1.
  16. 18:17 The Aramaic word used here can mean “priest” or “elder.” Crispus is mentioned as the president or leader (v. 8). Some speculate that Crispus’ term of service had been completed and Sosthenes took his place.
  17. 18:18 Shalom is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for “peace and well-being.” The Greek is “farewell.” The Aramaic can also be translated “Paul brought peace to the brothers.”
  18. 18:18 Priscilla means “Ancient”; Aquila means “Eagle.”
  19. 18:18 Cenchrea was one of two major ports of Corinth, possibly where agricultural goods were exported, for Cenchrea means “millet,” a grain similar to quinoa.
  20. 18:19 Ephesus was in the ancient world, a white marble city, one of the most beautiful in the world. It had the temple of Artemis, one of the seven great wonders of that era. It also had two agoras, a beautiful fountain in the city supplied by an aqueduct, the monument of Phillio, the Koressian Gates, the Bouleuterion, a large stadium, and many terraced houses. It was the capital city of the Roman province of Asia and had a population of well over one hundred thousand at the time Paul visited the city. Ephesus was known historically as the center of powerful magical practices and the casting of spells, as well as the cult center of the worship of the Ephesian goddess Artemis, known as “the supreme power.” It was in this backdrop that the apostle Paul and his companions planted the renowned church of Ephesus.
  21. 18:21 This last clause is only found in the Aramaic.
  22. 18:22 Although this clause is missing in the Greek, the Aramaic can be translated “to pray for the peace of the congregation.” A true spiritual father prays for believers and brings them a message of hope and peace.
  23. 18:23 The Aramaic can be translated “Wherever he went he made them all disciples.”
  24. 18:24 This is Alexandria in Egypt.
  25. 18:25 Or “His spirit boiled.”
  26. 18:26 That is, boldly and powerfully. The Aramaic can be translated “with crystal clarity.”
  27. 18:26 The Aramaic is “they took him into their home.”
  28. 18:26 Or “more accurately.” They filled in the gaps in his understanding of the Lord Jesus.
  29. 18:27 See the first footnote on v. 12.
  30. 18:27 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “He helped those who believed by grace.”

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