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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - ACTS 18
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    CHAPTER 18

    Ac 18:1-22. PAUL'S ARRIVAL AND LABORS AT CORINTH, WHERE HE IS REJOINED BY SILAS AND TIMOTHY, AND, UNDER DIVINE ENCOURAGEMENT, MAKES A LONG STAY--AT LENGTH, RETRACING HIS STEPS, BY EPHESUS, CÆSAREA, AND JERUSALEM, HE RETURNS FOR THE LAST TIME TO ANTIOCH, THUS COMPLETING HIS SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY.

    1-4. came to Corinth--rebuilt by Julius Cæsar on the isthmus between the Ægean and Ionian Seas; the capital of the Roman province of Achaia, and the residence of the proconsul; a large and populous mercantile city, and the center of commerce alike for East and West; having a considerable Jewish population, larger, probably, at this time than usual, owing to the banishment of the Jews from Rome by Claudius Cæsar (Ac 18:2). Such a city was a noble field for the Gospel, which, once established there, would naturally diffuse itself far and wide.

    2. a Jew . . . Aquila . . . with his wife Priscilla--From these Latin names one would conclude that they had resided so long in Rome as to lose their Jewish family names.
    - born in Pontus--the most easterly province of Asia Minor, stretching along the southern shore of the Black Sea. From this province there were Jews at Jerusalem on the great Pentecost (Ac 2:9), and the Christians of it are included among "the strangers of the dispersion," to whom Peter addressed his first Epistle (1Pe 1:1). Whether this couple were converted before Paul made their acquaintance, commentators are much divided. They may have brought their Christianity with them from Rome [OLSHAUSEN], or Paul may have been drawn to them merely by like occupation, and, lodging with them, have been the instrument of their conversion [MEYER]. They appear to have been in good circumstances, and after travelling much, to have eventually settled at Ephesus. The Christian friendship now first formed continued warm and unbroken, and the highest testimony is once and again borne to them by the apostle.
    - Claudius, &c.--This edict is almost certainly that mentioned by SUETONIUS, in his life of this emperor [Lives of the Cæsars, "Claudius," 25].

    3. tentmakers--manufacturers, probably, of those hair-cloth tents supplied by the goats of the apostle's native province, and hence, as sold in the markets of the Levant, called cilicium. Every Jewish youth, whatever the pecuniary circumstances of his parents, was taught some trade (see on Lu 2:42), and Paul made it a point of conscience to work at that which he had probably been bred to, partly that he might not be burdensome to the churches, and partly that his motives as a minister of Christ might not be liable to misconstruction. To both these he makes frequent reference in his Epistles.

    4. the Greeks--that is, Gentile proselytes; for to the heathen, as usual, he only turned when rejected by the Jews (Ac 18:6).

    5, 6. And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia--that is, from Thessalonica, whither Silas had probably accompanied Timothy when sent back from Athens (see on Ac 17:15).
    - Paul was pressed in the spirit--rather (according to what is certainly the true reading) "was pressed with the word"; expressing not only his zeal and assiduity in preaching it, but some inward pressure which at this time he experienced in the work (to convey which more clearly was probably the origin of the common reading). What that pressure was we happen to know, with singular minuteness and vividness of description, from the apostle himself, in his first Epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians (1Co 2:1-5; 1Th 3:1-10). He had come away from Athens, as he remained there, in a depressed and anxious state of mind, having there met, for the first time, with unwilling Gentile ears. He continued, apparently for some time, laboring alone in the synagogue of Corinth, full of deep and anxious solicitude for his Thessalonian converts. His early ministry at Corinth was colored by these feelings. Himself deeply humbled, his power as a preacher was more than ever felt to lie in demonstration of the Spirit. At length Silas and Timotheus arrived with exhilarating tidings of the faith and love of his Thessalonian children, and of their earnest longing again to see their father in Christ; bringing with them also, in token of their love and duty, a pecuniary contribution for the supply of his wants. This seems to have so lifted him as to put new life and vigor into his ministry. He now wrote his FIRST EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS, in which the "pressure" which resulted from all this strikingly appears. (See Introduction to First Thessalonians). Such emotions are known only to the ministers of Christ, and, even of them, only to such as "travail in birth until Christ be formed in" their hearers.

    6. Your blood be upon your own heads, &c.--See Eze 33:4, 9.
    - from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles--Compare Ac 13:46.

    7, 8. he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus--not changing his lodging, as if Aquila and Priscilla up to this time were with the opponents of the apostle [ALFORD], but merely ceasing any more to testify in the synagogue, and henceforth carrying on his labors in this house of Justus, which "joining hard to the synagogue," would be easily accessible to such of its worshippers as were still open to light. Justus, too, being probably a proselyte, would more easily draw a mixed audience than the synagogue. From this time forth conversions rapidly increased.

    8. Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house--an event felt to be so important that the apostle deviated from his usual practice (1Co 1:14-16) and baptized him, as well as Caius (Gaius) and the household of Stephanas, with his own hand [HOWSON].
    - many of the Corinthians . . . believed and were baptized--The beginning of the church gathered there.

    9-11. Then spake the Lord to Paul . . . by a vision, Be not afraid . . . no man shall set on thee to hurt thee, &c.--From this it would seem that these signal successes were stirring up the wrath of the unbelieving Jews, and probably the apostle feared being driven by violence, as before, from this scene of such promising labor. He is reassured, however, from above.

    10. I have much people in this city--"whom in virtue of their election to eternal life He already designates as His" (compare Ac 13:48) [BAUMGARTEN].

    11. continued there a year and six months--the whole period of this stay at Corinth, and not merely up to what is next recorded. During some part of this period he wrote his SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS. (See Introduction to Second Thessalonians.)

    12-17. when Gallio was the deputy--"the proconsul." See on Ac 13:7. He was brother to the celebrated philosopher SENECA, the tutor of Nero, who passed sentence of death on both.

    13. contrary to the--Jewish
    - law--probably in not requiring the Gentiles to be circumcised.

    14. If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness--any offense punishable by the magistrate.

    15. if it be a question of words and names, and of your law . . . I will be no judge, &c.--in this only laying down the proper limits of his office.

    16. drave them, &c.--annoyed at such a case.

    17. all the Greeks--the Gentile spectators.
    - took Sosthenes--perhaps the successor of Crispus, and certainly the head of the accusing party. It is very improbable that this was the same Sosthenes as the apostle afterwards calls "his brother" (1Co 1:1).
    - and beat him before the judgment-seat--under the very eye of the judge.
    - And Gallio cared for none of those things--nothing loath, perhaps, to see these turbulent Jews, for whom probably he felt contempt, themselves getting what they hoped to inflict on another, and indifferent to whatever was beyond the range of his office and case. His brother eulogizes his loving and lovable manners. Religious indifference, under the influence of an easy and amiable temper, reappears from age to age.

    18. Paul . . . tarried . . . yet a good while--During his long residence at Corinth, Paul planted other churches in Achaia (2Co 1:1).
    - then took . . . leave of the brethren, and sailed . . . into--rather, "for"
    - Syria--to Antioch, the starting-point of all the missions to the Gentiles, which he feels to be for the present concluded.
    - with him Priscilla and Aquila--In this order the names also occur in Ac 18:26 (according to the true reading); compare Ro 16:3; 2Ti 4:19, which seem to imply that the wife was the more prominent and helpful to the Church. Silas and Timotheus doubtless accompanied the apostle, as also Erastus, Gaius, and Aristarchus (Ac 19:22, 29). Of Silas, as Paul's associate, we read no more. His name occurs last in connection with Peter and the churches of Asia Minor [WEBSTER and WILKINSON].
    - having shorn his head in Cenchrea--the eastern harbor of Corinth, about ten miles distant, where a church had been formed (Ro 16:1).
    - for he--Paul.
    - had a vow--That it was the Nazarite vow (Nu 6:1-27) is not likely. It was probably one made in one of his seasons of difficulty or danger, in prosecution of which he cuts off his hair and hastens to Jerusalem to offer the requisite sacrifice within the prescribed thirty days [JOSEPHUS, Wars of the Jews, 2.15.1]. This explains the haste with which he leaves Ephesus (Ac 18:21), and the subsequent observance, on the recommendation of the brethren, of a similar vow (Ac 21:24). This one at Corinth was voluntary, and shows that even in heathen countries he systematically studied the prejudices of his Jewish brethren.

    19. he came to Ephesus--the capital of the Roman province of Asia. (See Introduction to Ephesians). It was a sail, right across from the west to the east side of the Ægean Sea, of some eight or ten days, with a fair wind.
    - left them there--Aquila and Priscilla.
    - but he himself entered into the synagogue--merely taking advantage of the vessel putting in there.
    - and reasoned with the Jews--the tense here not being the usual one denoting continuous action (as in Ac 17:2; 18:4), but that expressing a transient act. He had been forbidden to preach the word in Asia (Ac 16:6), but he would not consider that as precluding this passing exercise of his ministry when Providence brought him to its capital; nor did it follow that the prohibition was still in force.

    20. when they desired him to tarry--The Jews seldom rose against the Gospel till the successful preaching of it stirred them up, and there was no time for that here.

    21. I must . . . keep this feast--probably Pentecost, presenting a noble opportunity of preaching the Gospel.
    - but I will return--the fulfilment of which promise is recorded in Ac 19:1.

    22. And when he had landed at Cæsarea--where he left the vessel.
    - and gone up--that is, to Jerusalem.
    - and saluted the church--In these few words does the historian despatch the apostle's FOURTH VISIT TO JERUSALEM after his conversion. The expression "going up" is invariably used of a journey to the metropolis; and thence he naturally "went down to Antioch." Perhaps the vessel reached too late for the feast, as he seems to have done nothing in Jerusalem beyond "saluting the Church," and privately offering the sacrifice with which his vow (Ac 18:18) would conclude. It is left to be understood, as on his arrival from his first missionary tour, that "when he was come, and had gathered the church together, he rehearsed all that God had done with him" (Ac 14:27) on this his second missionary journey.

    Ac 18:23-21:16. PAUL'S THIRD AND LAST MISSIONARY JOURNEY--HE VISITS THE CHURCHES OF GALATIA AND PHRYGIA.

    23. And after he had spent some time there--but probably not long.
    - he departed--little thinking, probably, he was never more to return to Antioch.
    - went over all . . . Galatia and Phrygia in order--visiting the several churches in succession. See on Ac 16:6. Galatia is mentioned first here, as he would come to it first from Antioch. It was on this visitation that he GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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