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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Acts 18

 

 

Verses 1-28

CHAPTER 18

1. In Corinth with Aquila and Priscilla. His Testimony and Separation from the Jews (Acts 18:1-8).

2. Encouragement from the Lord in a vision (Acts 18:9-11).

3. Paul and Gallio (Acts 18:12-17).

4. From Corinth to Ephesus and Antioch. The second journey ended (Acts 18:18-22).

5. Establishing disciples in Galatia and Phrygia (Acts 18:23).

6. Apollos, the Alexandrian (Acts 18:24-28).

Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned here for the first time. This interesting couple had established themselves in Corinth, and what a joy it must have been to the Apostle when he was led to their home. How sweet their fellowship must have been as they toiled together in their trade as tent makers and spoke one to another about the Lord. From the same chapter we learn that after Paul’s ministry had terminated they went to Ephesus (Acts 18:19). From 1 Corinthians 16:19 we learn that they were still there when that epistle was written. But in writing to the Romans Paul says, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3), so that they had wandered back to Rome and were in happy fellowship with the Roman assembly. 2 Timothy 4:19 tells us that once more they were back in Ephesus where Timothy had his abode. “Salute Prisca (an abbreviation of Priscilla) and Aquila.” They were indeed strangers and pilgrims, but blessed to know that their wanderings were by the Lord. Priscilla is mostly mentioned before Aquila, from which we may learn that she, like other notable women of apostolic days, “labored for the Gospel.”

It seems that Paul followed the same method of work as he did in Thessalonica. First, he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks (Acts 18:4). This must have been altogether on Old Testament ground, showing the divine predictions concerning Christ. When Silas and Timotheus arrived, then he was greatly pressed in spirit and testified to the Jews more fully that Jesus is the Christ. That there was blessed fruit we learn from his epistles to the Corinthians. He himself baptized Crispus and Gaius and the household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:14-16). And he was with them in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. His speech was far different from the one he had used in addressing the philosophers of Athens. “My speech was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:3-4). His presence was base unto them “Who in presence am base among you” (2 Corinthians 10:1). His bodily presence, these Corinthians said, is weak, and his speech contemptible (2 Corinthians 10:10).

The Lord encouraged His servant in a vision. The Jews’ attempt to harm Paul through Gallio failed. Sosthenes the chief ruler received a beating instead of the apostle.

If the Sosthenes who is mentioned in the opening verse of the first Epistle of the Corinthians is the same, then he profited immensely by his experience. Paul addresses him as a brother. We believe he is the same person, for the Grace of God delights to take up such characters and show in them what Grace can do.

From Corinth he went to Ephesus, then to Jerusalem and back to Antioch. Thus ended the second missionary journey. After this he established the disciples in Galatia and Phrygia. An extremely beautiful incident closes this chapter. A new preacher appeared among the Jews in Ephesus, Apollos the Alexandrian. He is described as an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures. In Alexandria, Philo, the great Hellenistic Jewish Philosopher, had flourished. He was born about 20 B.C. and died after the year 40 A.D. He introduced Platonism into Judaism. In all probability Apollos was one of his disciples, but he accepted that which Philo did not believe. He had come most likely in touch with disciples of John the Baptist, and had been baptized with John’s baptism unto repentance. He knew that Jesus is the Messiah, knew the facts of His earthly life and the miracles He did. Of the meaning of His death and resurrection Apollos knew nothing, nor had he any knowledge of the Holy Spirit. The entire truth of the Gospel of Grace was unknown to Him. The text in the authorized version that he “taught diligently the things of the Lord” is incorrect. The correct translation is “he taught diligently the things concerning Jesus.”

Aquila and Priscilla were then used to expound unto him the way of God more perfectly.

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Acts 18:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/acts-18.html. 1913-1922.

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