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Bible Commentaries

F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary

Acts 18



Verses 1-28

THE CHAPTER OPENS with Paul at Corinth, and there he met Aquila and Priscilla. The harsh decree of Claudias worked to throw them across Paul’s path, and this led to their conversion and then their subsequent service, which earned the high praise of Romans 16:3, Romans 16:4. God overruled the decree of expulsion, for good, making the wrath of man to praise Him; and we may hope and pray that He will work in just the same way in regard to modern decrees against the Jews. With this couple Paul abode, and began his work in the synagogue. Here Silas and Timothy joined him, and Paul’s testimony became stronger and more direct. Then, the Jews opposing, he turned to the Gentiles.

“He departed thence” (verse Acts 18:7); that is, from the synagogue; and carried on his testimony in the house of one, Justus, that was close by. Yet a very definite and large work of God took place, even the ruler of the synagogue being converted. By a vision the Lord encouraged him to boldly speak, with the assurance that he should not be molested there, as he had been elsewhere. So for eighteen months he laboured on. There was an attempt made against him, but under God’s hand this was frustrated by the cool indifference of Gallio, the Roman proconsul, who treated the whole matter as one of contentions about words and names, and cared for none of these things. So God can utilize the temperament of a governor, as well as the decree of a Caesar, to serve His ends, and Paul did not leave Corinth till some time after.

With this long stay in Corinth Paul’s second journey drew to its end, and he left for Jerusalem and Antioch via Ephesus, where his stay was but short; he promised to return, “if God will.” That God did so will, we see in the next chapter. Verse Acts 18:18 shows us that Paul still observed Jewish customs, as in the matter of a vow.

At Antioch he now spent “some time,” an expression which indicates not a very long period: then he was off on his third journey, and first to scenes of former labours in order to strengthen the disciples. This is always a much needed work since there are so many influences which make for the weakening of disciples. We pick up Paul’s story in the first verse of Acts 19:1-41, and verses Acts 18:24-28 are a parenthesis dealing with the full enlightenment of Apollos and his happy service, in which we discover that, though Paul had passed so quickly from Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla had remained there, and through them the Lord furnished Apollos with exactly what he needed.

Apollos possessed the natural endowment of eloquence—he was a master of words. By diligent study he had become “mighty in the Scriptures.” Yet, when he came to Ephesus he was not well-informed as to God’s intervention in Christ. He only knew of things up to the introduction of

Jesus by John’s baptism. What he knew, he diligently taught in the synagogue. Aquila and Priscilla, hearing him, at once perceived his lack, and performed the delightful service of showing him hospitality, in order to instruct him more fully in what had come to pass through Christ. Thus God used these saints, of no particular public gift, to fairly launch a very gifted vessel on his career of service. From Ephesus he went to Corinth, and not only did he convince many Jews as to Christ, but also he much helped on the believers. How much of the reward of his effective service will go to the credit of Aquila and Priscilla, who shall say?


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Bibliography Information
Hole, Frank Binford. "Commentary on Acts 18:4". "F. B. Hole's Old and New Testament Commentary". 1947.

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