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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Acts 18

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 18

Acts 18:1. παῦλος is wanting in important witnesses. Rightly deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. With χωρισθείς a church-lesson begins.

Acts 18:2. ἐχ] A B D E G א, min. Vulg. have ἀπό . So Lachm. Tisch. Born., and rightly, on account of the decisive attestation.

On preponderating evidence, τῇ τέχνῃ is, in Acts 18:3, to be adopted, with Lachm. and Tisch., instead of τὴν τέχυην.

Acts 18:5. τῷ λόγῳ] Elz. has τῷ πνεύματι, in opposition to A B D E G א, min. several vss. and Fathers. Defended by Rinck on the ground that τῷ λόγῳ is a scholion on διαμαρτ. But it was not διαμαρτ., but συνείχετο, that needed a scholion, namely, τῷ πνεύματι, which, being received into the text, displaced the original τῷ λόγῳ.

Acts 18:7. ἰούστου] Syr. Erp. Sahid. Cassiod. have τίτου; E א, min. Copt. Arm. Syr. p. Vulg. have τίτου ἰούστου; B D**: τιτίου . A traditional alteration.(71)

Acts 18:12. ἀνθυπατεύοντος] Lachm. Born. read ἀνθυπάτου ὄντος after A B D א, min. An explanatory resolution of a word not elsewhere occurring in the N.T.

Acts 18:14. ούν] Lachm. and Born. have deleted it according to important testimony. But it was very easily passed over amidst the cumulation of particles and between ΄εν and ην, especially as οὖν has not its reference in what immediately precedes.

Acts 18:15. ζήτη΄α] A B D** א, min. Theophyl. and several vss. have ζητή΄ατα . Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. The singular was, in spite of the several objects afterwards named, very easily introduced mechanically as an echo of ἀδίκημα and ῥᾳδιούργημα.

γάρ] is to be deleted, with Lachm. Tisch. Born. in accordance with A B D א, Vulg. Copt., as a connective addition.

Acts 18:17. After πάντες, Elz. Born. read οἱ ἕλληνες, which is wanting in A B א, Erp. Copt. Vulg. Chrys. Bed. Some more recent codd. have, instead of it, οἱ ἰουδαῖοι. Both are supplementary additions, according to different modes of viewing the passage. See the exegetical remarks.

Acts 18:19. κατήντησε] Lachm. Tisch. read κατήντησαν, after A B E א, 40, and some vss. The sing. intruded itself from the context.

αὐτοῦ] ἐκεῖ, which Lachm. and Born. have according to important evidence, was imported as by far the more usual word.

Acts 18:21. ἀπετάξατο αὐτ. εἰπών] Lachm. Tisch. Born. read ἀποταξάμενος καὶ εἰπών (with the omission of καί before ἀνήχθη), after A B D E א, min. vss. Rightly; the Recepta is an obviously suggested simplification.

δεῖ ΄ε πάντως εἰς ἱεροσ.] is wanting in A B E א, min. Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Arm. Vulg., as well as δέ after πάλιν. Both are deleted by Lachm. and Tisch., and condemned already by Mill and Bengel. But the omission is far more easily accounted for than the addition of these words,—occasioned possibly by Acts 19:21, Acts 20:16, or by the πάλιν ἀνακ. presumed to be too abrupt,—as in what directly follows copyists, overlooking the reference of ἀναβάς in Acts 18:22, found no journey of the apostle to Jerusalem, and accordingly did not see the reason why Paul declined a longer residence at Ephesus verified by the course of his journey.

Acts 18:25. ἰησοῦ] Elz. has κυρίου, against decisive testimony.

Acts 18:26. The order πρίσκ. κ. ἀκ. (Lachm.) is attested, no doubt, by A B E א, 13, Vulg. Copt. Aeth., but is to be derived from Acts 18:18 .

τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ὁδόν] A B א, min. vss. Lachm. have τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ θεοῦ; E, vss. have τ. ὁδ. τοῦ κυρίου; D has only τὴν ὁδόν (so Born.). With the witnesses thus divided, the reading of Lachm. is to be preferred as the best attested.


Verse 1-2

Acts 18:1-2. In Corinth, at which Paul had arrived after his parting from Athens ( χωρισθ., comp. Acts 1:4), he met with the Jew ἀκύλας (Greek form of the Latin Aquila, which is to be considered as a Roman name adopted after the manner of the times instead of the Jewish name; see Eust. ad Dion. Per. 381), a native of the Asiatic province of Pontus, but who had hitherto resided at Rome, and afterwards dwelt there also (Romans 16:3), and so probably had his dwelling-place in that city—an inference which is rendered the more probable, as his temporary removal to a distance from Rome had its compulsory occasion in the imperial edict. We make this remark in opposition to the view of Neander, who thinks that Aquila had not his permanent abode at Rome, but settled, on account of his trade, now in one and then in another great city forming a centre of commerce, such as Corinth and Ephesus. The conjecture that he was a freedman of a Pontius Aquila (Cic. ad Famil. x. 33. 4; Suet. Caes. 78), so that the statement ποντικὸν τῷ γένει is an error (Reiche on Romans 16:3, de Wette), is entirely arbitrary. Whether πρίσκιλλα (identical with Prisca, Romans 16:3, for, as is well known, many Roman names were also used in diminutive forms; see Grotius on Rom. l.c.) was a Roman by birth, or a Jewess, remains undecided. But the opinion—which has of late become common and is defended by Kuinoel, Olshausen, Lange, and Ewald—that Aquila and his wife were already Christians (having been so possibly at starting from Rome) when Paul met with them at Corinth, because there is no account of their conversion, is very forced. Luke, in fact, calls Aquila simply ἰουδαῖον (he does not say, τινα μαθητὴν ἰουδ.), whereas elsewhere he always definitely makes known the Jewish Christians; and accordingly, by the subsequent πάντας τοὺς ἰουδαίους, he places Aquila (without any distinction) among the general body of the expelled Jews. He also very particularly indicates as the reason of the apostle’s lodging with him, not their common Christian faith, but their common handicraft, Acts 18:3. It is therefore to be assumed that Aquila and Priscilla were still Jews when Paul met with them at Corinth, but through their connection with him they became Christians.(72) This Luke, keeping in view the apostolic labours of Paul as a whole (comp. Baumgarten, p. 578), leaves the reader to infer, inasmuch as he soon afterwards speaks of the Christian working of the two (Acts 18:26). We may add that the reply to the question, whether and how far Christianity existed at all in Rome before the decree of Claudius (see on Rom., Introd. § 2), can here be of no consequence, seeing that, although there was no Christian church at Rome, individual Christians might still at any rate be found, and certainly were found, among the resident Jews there.

προσφάτως] nuper (Polyb. iii 37. 11, iii. 48. 6; Alciphr. i. 39; Judith 4:3; Judith 4:5; 2 Maccabees 14:36), from πρόσφατος, which properly signifies fresh (= just slaughtered or killed), then generally new, of quite recent occurrence; see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 374 f.; Klausen, ad Aesch. Choeph. 756.

διὰ τὸ διατεταχ. κλ. κ. τ. λ.] “Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit,” Sueton. Claud. 25. As Chrestus was actually a current Greek and Roman name (Philostr. v. Soph. ii. 11; Inscr. 194; Cic. ad Fam. xi. 8), it is altogether arbitrary to interpret impulsore Chresto otherwise than we should interpret it, if another name stood instead of Chresto. Chrestus was the name of a Jewish agitator at Rome, whose doings produced constant tumults, and led at length to the edict of expulsion.(73) See also Wieseler, p. 122, and earlier, Ernesti, in Suet., l.c. This we remark in opposition to the hypothesis upheld, after older interpreters in Wolf, by most modern expositors, that Suetonius had made a mistake in the name and written Chresto instead of Christo—a view, in connection with which it is either thought that the disturbances arose out of Christianity having made its way among the Jewish population at Rome and simply affected the Jews themselves, who were thrown into a ferment by it, so that the portion of them which had come to believe was at strife with that which remained unbelieving (Wassenbergh, ad Valcken. p. 554; Kuinoel, Hug, Credner, Baur, Gieseler, Reuss, Thiersch, Ewald; also Lehmann, Stud. zur Gesch. d. apost. Zeitalt., Greifsw. 1856, p. 6 ff.; Sepp, Mangold, Beyschlag in the Stud. u. Krit. 1867, p. 652 f.; Laurent, neutest. Stud. p. 88, and others); or it is assumed (Paulus, Reiche, Neander, Lange, and others) that enthusiastic Messianic hopes excited the insurrection among the Jews, and that the Romans had manufactured out of the ideal person of the Messiah a rebel of the same name. While, however, the alleged error of the name has against it generally the fact that the names Christus and Christiani were well known to the Roman writers (Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetonius himself, Ner. 16), it may be specially urged against the former view, that at the time of the edict (probably in the year 52, see Anger, de temp. rat. p. 118; Wieseler, p. 125 ff.) the existence of an influential number of Christians at Rome, putting the Jewish population into a tumultuous ferment, is quite improbable; and against the latter view, that the Messianic hopes of the Jews were well enough known to the Romans in general (Tacit. Hist. v. 13) and to Suetonius in particular (Suet. Vesp. 4). Hence the change (attested by Tertull. Apol. 3, ad nat. i. 3, and by Lactant. Inst. div. iv. 7. 5) of Christus into Chrestos ( χρηστός) and of Christianus into Chrestianus (which pronunciation Tertullian rejects by perperam) may not be imputed to the compiler of a history resting on documentary authority, but to the misuse of the Roman colloquial language. Indeed, according to Tacit. Ann. xv. 44: “Nero … poenis affecit, quos … vulgus Christianos appellabat; auctor nominis ejus Christus,” etc., it must be assumed that that interchange of names only became usual at a later period; in Justin. Apol. I. 4, τὸ χρηστόν is only an allusion to χριστιανοί. The detailed discussion of the point does not belong to us here, except in so far as the narrative of Dio Cass. lx. 6 appears to be at variance with this passage and with Suet. l.c.: τούς τε ἰουδαίους πλεονάσαντας αὖθις, ὥστε χαλεπῶς ἂν ἄνευ ταραχῆς ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου σφῶν τῆς πόλεως εἰρχθῆναι, οὐκ ἐξήλασε μὲν, τῷ δὲ δὴ πατρίῳ νόμῳ βίῳ χρωμένους ἐκέλευσε μὴ συναθροίζεσθαι.(74) This apparent contradiction is solved by our regarding what Dio Cassius relates as something which happened before the edict of banishment (Wieseler, p. 123, and Lehmann, p. 5, view it otherwise), and excited the Jews to the complete outbreak of insurrection.(75) The words ὥστεεἰρχθῆναι, which represent the ordinance as a precautionary measure against the outbreak of a revolt, warrant this view. From Acts 28:15 ff., Romans 16:3, it follows that the edict of Claudius, which referred not only to those making the tumult (Credner, Einl. p. 380), but, according to the express testimony of this passage, to all the Jews, must soon either tacitly or officially have passed into abeyance, as, indeed, it was incapable of being permanently carried into effect in all its severity. Therefore the opinion of Hug, Eichhorn, Schrader, and Hemsen, that the Jews returned to Rome only at the mild commencement of Nero’s reign, is to be rejected.

πάντας τοὺς ἰουδαίους] with the exception of the proselytes, Beyschlag thinks, so that only the national Jews were concerned. But the proselytes of righteousness at least cannot, without arbitrariness, be excluded from the comprehensive designation.


Verse 3-4

Acts 18:3-4. It was a custom among the Jews, and admits of sufficient explanation from the national esteem for trade generally, and from the design of rendering the Rabbins independent of others as regards their subsistence (Juch. xliii. 1, 2), that the Rabbins practised a trade. Olshausen strangely holds that the practice was based on the idea of warding off temptations by bodily activity. Comp. on Mark 6:3, according to which Christ Himself was a τέκτων.

διὰ τὸ ὁμότεχνον εἶναι] sc. αὐτόν, because he (Paul) was of the same handicraft. Luke might also have written διὰ τὸ ὁμότεχνος εἶναι (Kühner, II. p. 352); but comp. on the accusative Luke 11:8, and see on the omission of the pronoun, where it is of itself evident from the preceding noun, Kühner, § 852 b, and ad Xen. Mem. i. 2. 49.

ἦσαν] the two married persons.

σκηνοποιοί] is not with Michaelis to be interpreted makers of art-instruments, which is merely based on a misunderstanding of Pollux, vii. 189, nor yet (with Hug and others) makers of tent-cloth. It is true that the trade of preparing cloth from the hair of goats, which was also used for tents ( κιλίκια), had its seat in Cilicia (Plin. N. H. vi. 28; Veget. de re mil. iv. 6; Serv. and Philarg. ad Virg. Georg. iii. 313, vol. II. pp. 278 and 338, ed. Lion); but even apart from the fact that the weaving of cloth was more difficult to be combined with the unsettled mode of life of the apostle, the word imports nothing else than tent-maker (Pollux, l.c.; Stob. ecl. phys. i. 52, p. 1084), tent-tailor, which meaning is simply to be retained. Such a person is also called σκηνοῤῥάφος, Ael. V. H. ii. 1; and so Chrysostom(76) designates the apostle, whilst Origen makes him a worker in leather (Hom. 17 in Num.), thinking on leathern tents (comp. de Dieu).

ἔπειθε is the result of διελέγετο (Acts 17:2; Acts 17:17). He convinced, persuaded and won, Jews and Greeks (here—as it is those present in the synagogue that are spoken of—proselytes of the gate).


Verse 5

Acts 18:5. This activity on his part increased yet further when Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia (Acts 17:14 f.), in whose fellowship naturally the zeal and courage of Paul could not but grow.

The element of increased activity, in relation to what is related in Acts 18:4, is contained in συνείχετο τῷ λόγῳ: he was wholly seized and arrested by the doctrine, so that he applied himself to it with assiduity and utmost earnestness. Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 17:20, and Grimm in loc. So in the main, following the Vulgate (“instabat verbo”), most modern interpreters, including Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten, Lange, Ewald. Against my earlier rendering: he was pressed in respect of the doctrine (comp. on Philippians 1:23), he was hard-beset (comp. Chrysostom, reading τῷ πνεύματι: ἐπηρέαζον αὐτῷ, ἐφίσταντο αὐτῷ), it may be decisively urged, partly on linguistic grounds, that the dative with συνέχεσθαι is always the thing itself which presses (comp. Acts 28:8; Luke 8:37),(77) partly according to the connection, that there results in that view no significant relation to the arrival of Silas and Timothy.

τὸν χριστὸν ἰησοῦν, as in Acts 18:28.


Verse 6

Acts 18:6. The refractoriness (Romans 13:2) and reviling, which he experienced from them amidst this increased activity, induced him to turn to the Gentiles.

ἐκτιναξ. τὰ ἱμάτ.] he shook out his garments, ridding himself of the dust, indicating contempt, as in Acts 13:51.

τὸ αἷμα ὑμῶνὑμῶν] sc. ἐλθέτω (Matthew 23:35), i.e. let the blame of the destruction, which will as a divine punishment reach you, light on no other than yourselves. Comp. 2 Samuel 1:16; 1 Kings 2:33; Ezekiel 3:16 ff; Ezekiel 33:4; Ezekiel 33:7 ff. On ἐπὶ or εἰς τ. κεφάλην, see Dem. p. 323, ult. 381. 15. On the elliptical mode of expression, see Matthew 27:25; 2 Samuel 1:16; Plat. Euthyd. p. 283 E Arist. Plut. 526. The expression is not to be explained from the custom of laying the hands on the victim (Leviticus 16:31; comp. Herod. ii. 39), as Elsner and others suppose, or on the accused on the part of the witnesses (so Piscator); but in all languages (comp. Heinsius, ad Ov. Her. xx. 127) the head is the significant designation of the person himself. The significance here lies particularly in the conception of the divine punishment coming from above, Romans 1:18.

What Paul intends by the destruction which he announces as certainly coming, and the blame of which he adjudges to themselves, is not moral corruption (de Wette, who sees here an un-Pauline expression), but eternal ἀπώλεια, which is conceived as θάνατος (Romans 1:32; Romans 6:16; Romans 6:21; Romans 6:23; Romans 7:5; Romans 7:10; Romans 7:13; Romans 7:24; Romans 8:2; Romans 8:6 al.), and therefore symbolized as αἷμα (to be shed), because the blood is the seat of life (comp. on Acts 15:20). The setting in of this ἀπώλεια occurs at the Parousia (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Thus Paul, as his conduct was already in point of fact for his adversaries an ἐνδείξις ἀπωλείας (Philippians 1:28), expressly gives to them such an ἐνδείξις.

καθαρὸς ἐγώ] comp. Acts 20:26.

ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν κ. τ. λ.] as in Acts 13:46.


Verse 7

Acts 18:7. Paul immediately gave practical proof of this solemn renunciation of the Jews by departing from the synagogue ( ἐκεῖθεν, which Heinrichs and Alford after Calvin explain, contrary to the context, ex domo Aguilae), and went, not into the house of a Jew, but into that of a proselyte, the otherwise unknown Justus, who is not to be identified with Titus (Wieseler). That Paul betook himself to the non-Jewish house nearest to the synagogue, is entirely in keeping with the profoundly excited emotion under which he acted, and with his decision of character.

συνομορεῖν] to border upon, is not found elsewhere; the Greeks use ὁμορεῖν in that sense. Observe, moreover, that a change of lodging is not mentioned.


Verse 8

Acts 18:8. This decided proceeding made a remarkable impression, so that even Crispus, the president of the synagogue, whom the apostle himself baptized (1 Corinthians 1:14), with all his family, believed on the Lord (Acts 16:15; Acts 16:34), and that generally many Corinthians (Jews and Gentiles; for the house of the proselyte was accessible to both) heard him and received faith and baptism.


Verses 9-11

Acts 18:9-11.(78) But Jesus Himself, appearing to Paul in a night-vision (comp. Acts 9:10), infused into him courage for fearless continuance in work.

λάλει κ. μὴ σιωπ.] solemnly emphatic. Comp. Isaiah 62:1, and see on John 1:3; John 1:20.

διότι is both times simply propterea quod.

ἐγώ] Bengel well says: “fundamentum fiduciae.”

ἐπιθήσεταί σοι τοῦ κακ. σε] will set on thee (aggredi) to injure thee. On the classical expression ἐπιτίθεσθαί τινι, to set on one, i.e. impetum facere in aliq., see many examples in Wetstein and Kypke. The attempt, in fact, which was made at a later period under Gallio, signally failed.

διότι λαός κ. τ. λ.] gives the reason of the assurance, ἐγώ εἰμι μετά σου, κ. οὐδ. ἐπιθήσ. σοι τοῦ κακ. σε. Under His people Jesus understands not only those already converted, but likewise proleptically (comp. John 10:16; John 11:52) those who are destined to be members of the church purchased by His blood (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:14),—the whole multitude of the τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον (Acts 13:48) at Corinth.

ἐνιαυτὸν κ. μῆνας ἕξ] The terminus ad quem is the attempt of the Jews (Acts 18:12), and not (in opposition to Anger, de temp. rat. p. 62 f., and Wieseler, p. 45 f.) the departure of Paul, Acts 18:18. For after Luke in Acts 18:9-10 has narrated the address and promise of Jesus, he immediately, Acts 18:11, observes how long Paul in consequence of this had his residence, i.e. his quiet abode, at Corinth ( ἐκάθισε, as in Luke 24:49), attending to his ministry; and he then in Acts 18:12-18 relates how on the other hand ( δέ, Acts 18:12, marks a contrast to Acts 18:11) an attack broke out, indeed, against him under Gallio, but passed over so harmlessly that he was able to spend before his departure yet (observe this ἔτι, Acts 18:18) a considerable time at Corinth (Acts 18:18).

ἐν αὐτοῖς] i.e. among the Corinthians, which is undoubtedly evident from the preceding ἐν τῇ πόλ. τ.


Verse 12-13

Acts 18:12-13. Achaia (i.e. according to the Roman division of provinces, the whole of Greece proper, including the Peloponnesus, so that by its side Macedonia, Illyria, Epirus, and Thessaly formed the province Macedonia, and these two provinces comprehended the whole Grecian territory), which originally had been a senatorial province (Dio Cass. liii. p. 704), but by Tiberius was made an imperial one (Tacit. Ann. i. 76), and was again by Claudius (Suet. Claud. 25) converted into a senatorial province (see Hermann, Staatsalterth. § 190, 1–3), and had in the years 53 and 54 for its proconsul ( ἀνθύπατος, see on Acts 13:7) Jun. Ann. Gallio, who had assumed this name (his proper name was M. Ann. Novatus) from L. Jun. Gallio, the rhetorician, by whom he was adopted. He was a brother of the philosopher L. Ann. Seneca (Tacit. Ann. xv. 73, xvi. 17), and was likewise put to death by Nero. See Lipsius, in Senec. prooem. 2, and ep. 104; Winer, Realw.

κατεπέστ.] they stood forth against him, is found neither in Greek writers nor in the LXX.

παρὰ τ. νόμ.] i.e. against the Jewish law. See Acts 18:15.(79) To the Jews the exercise of religion according to their laws was conceded by the Roman authority. Hence the accusers expected of the proconsul measures to be taken against Paul, whose religious doctrines they found at variance with the legal standpoint of Mosaism. Luke gives only the chief point of the complaint. For details, see Acts 18:15.


Verse 14-15

Acts 18:14-15. The mild and humane Gallio (Stat. Silv. ii. 7, 32; Seneca, Q. Nat. 4 praef.) refuses to examine into the complaint, and hands it over, as simply concerning doctrine, to the decision of the accusers themselves—to the Jewish tribunal—without permitting Paul, who was about to begin his defence, to speak.

οὖν] namely, in pursuance of your accusation.

ῥᾳδιούργ. ὑμῶν] I should with reason (see Plat. Rep. p. 366 B Wetstein in loc.; Bernhardy, p. 241) bear with you, i.e. according to the context: give you a patient hearing. Comp. Plat. Phil. p. 13 B Rep. p. 367 D. “Judaeos Gallion sibi molestos innuit,” Bengel.

εἰ δὲ ζητήματαὑμᾶς] but if (as your complaint shows) there are questions in dispute (Acts 15:2) concerning doctrine and names (plural of category; Paul’s assertion that the name of Messiah belonged to Jesus, was the essential matter of fact in the case, see Acts 18:5), and of your (and so not of Roman) law.

τοῦ καθʼ ὑμᾶς] See on Acts 17:28.

κριτὴς κ. τ. λ.] Observe the order of the words, judge will I for my part, etc. Thus Gallio speaks in the consciousness of his political official position; and his wise judgment—which Calovius too harshly designates as ἀμέλεια atheistica—is after a corresponding manner to be borne in mind in determining the limits of the ecclesiastical power of princes as bearing on the separation of the secular and spiritual government, with due attention, however, to the circumstance that Gallio was outside the pale of the Jewish religious community.


Verse 16-17

Acts 18:16-17. ἀπήλασεν] he dismissed them as plaintiffs, whose information it was not competent to him to entertain. Comp. Dem. 272. 11. 1373. 12.

Under the legal pretext of the necessity of supporting this ἀπήλασεν of the proconsul, all the bystanders ( πάντες, partly perhaps Roman subordinate officials, but certainly all Gentiles, therefore οἱ ἕλληνες is a correct gloss) used the opportunity of wreaking their anger on the leader and certainly also the spokesman of the hated Jews; they seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, even before the tribunal, and beat him.

σωσθένης is by Theodoret, Erasmus, Calvin, and others, also Hofmann, heil. Schr. d. N.T. II. ii. p. 4 f., very arbitrarily (especially as this name was so common) considered as identical with the person mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:1; hence also the erroneous gloss οἱ ἰουδαῖοι added to πάντες has arisen from the supposition that he either was at this time actually a Christian, or at least inclined to Christianity, and therefore not sufficiently energetic in his accusation. Against this may be urged the very part which Sosthenes, as ruler of the synagogue, evidently plays against Paul;(80) and not less the circumstance, that the person mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:1 was a fellow-labourer of Paul out of Corinth; according to which, for the identification of the two, a more extended hypothesis would be necessary, such as Ewald has. Chrysostom considers him even identical with Crispus.

τὸν ἀρχισυν.] Whether he was a colleague (see on Acts 13:15) of the above-named κρίσπος, Acts 18:8, or successor to him on his resignation in consequence of embracing Christianity (Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten, Ewald, and others), or whether he presided over another synagogue in Corinth (Grotius), remains undetermined.

καὶ οὐδὲν τούτων κ. τ. λ.] and Gallio troubled himself about none of these things, which here took place; he quite disregarded the spectacle. The purpose of this statement is to exhibit the utter failure of the attempt. So little was the charge successful, that even the leader of the accusers himself was beaten by the rabble without any interference of the judge, who by this indifference tacitly connived with the accused.


Verse 18

Acts 18:18. ἀποτάσσεσθαί τινι] to say farewell to one. See on Mark 6:46.

κειράμενος τ. κεφ.] is not to be referred to Paul, as Augustine, Beda, Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Calovius, Spencer, Reland, Wolf, Bengel, Rosenmüller, Morus, Olshausen, Zeller, de Wette, Baumgarten, Lange, Hackett, Lechler, Ewald, Sepp, Bleek, and others connect it, but to Aquila, with Vulgate, Theophylact,(81) Castalio, Hammond, Grotius, Alberti, Valckenaer, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Wieseler, Schneckenburger, also Oertel, Paul. in d. Apgesch. p. 191. A decisive consideration in favour of this is the order of the names πρίσκιλλα καὶ ἀκύλας, which (comp. with Acts 18:2; Acts 18:26) appears as designedly chosen. Luke, if he had meant the κειράμ. of Paul, would, by placing the wife first, have led the reader himself into error, whereas, with the precedence naturally given to the husband, no one would have thought of referring κειράμ. to any other than Paul as the principal subject of the sentence. If, accordingly, κειράμ. is to be referred to Aquila, Luke has with design and foresight placed the names so; but if it is to be referred to Paul, he has written with a strange, uncalled for, and misleading deviation from Acts 18:2; Acts 18:26 (comp. 1 Corinthians 16:19).(82) On the other hand, appeal is no doubt made to Romans 16:3 (comp. 2 Timothy 4:19), where also the wife stands first (see especially, Neander, p. 349, and Zeller, p. 304); but Paul here followed a point of view determining his arrangement (see on Romans 16:3), which was not followed by Luke in his history, as is evident from Acts 18:2; Acts 18:26. Accordingly, we do not need to have recourse to the argument, that it could not but at all events be very strange to see the liberal Paul thus, entirely without any higher necessity or determining occasion given from without (the case in Acts 21:23 ff. is different), voluntarily engaging himself in a Jewish votive ceremony. How many occasions for vows had he in his varied fortunes, but we never find a trace that he thus became a Jew to the Jews! If there had been at that time a special reason for accommodation to such an exceptionally legal ceremony, Luke would hardly have omitted to give some more precise indication of it (comp. Acts 16:3), and would not have mentioned the matter merely thus in passing, as if it were nothing at all strange and exceptional in Paul’s case. Of Aquila, a subordinate, he might throw in thus, without stating the precise circumstances, the cursory notice how it happened that the married couple joined Paul on his departure at the seaport; regarding Paul as the bearer of such a vow, he could not but have entered into particulars. Nothing is gained by importing suggestions of some particular design; e.g. Erasmus here discovers an obsequium charitatis toward the Jews, to whom Paul had appeared as a despiser of their legal customs (and so in substance Lange, apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 249 f.); Bengel supposes(83) that the purpose of the apostle was: “ut necessitatem sibi imponeret celeriter peragendi iter hoc Hierosolymitanum;” Neander presupposes some occasion for the public expression of gratitude to God in the spirit of Christian wisdom; and Baumgarten thinks that “we should hence infer that Paul, during his working at Corinth, lived in the state of weakness and self-denial appointed by the law and placed under a special constitution;”(84) whereas Zeller uses the reference to Paul in order to prove a design of the writer to impute to him Jewish piety.

ἐν κεγχρεαῖς] κεγχρεαὶ (in Thuc. κεγχρειαί) κώ΄η καὶ λι΄ὴν ἀπέχων τῆς πόλεως ὅσον ἑβδο΄ήκοντα στάδια. τούτῳ ΄ὲν οὖν χρῶνται πρὸς τοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἀσίας, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἰταλίας τῷ λεχαίῳ, Strabo, viii. 6, p. 380.

εἶχε γὰρ εὐχήν] states the reason of κειρά΄. τ. κεφ. ἐν κ.: for he had a vow on him, which he discharged by having his head shorn at Cenchreae.

The vow itself is not to be considered as a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6), called by Philo εὐχὴ μεγάλη, according to which a man bound himself, for the glory of Jehovah, to permit his hair to grow for a certain time and to abstain from all intoxicating drink (“Tres species sunt prohibitae Nasiraeis, immundities, tonsura et quicquid de vite egreditur” (Mischna Nasir, vi. 1), and then after the lapse of the consecrated time to have his hair shorn off before the temple, and to present a sacrifice, into the flames of which the hair was cast. See Num. l.c.; Ewald, Alterth. p. 113 ff. Comp. on Acts 21:23 ff. For the redemption of such a vow had to take place, as formerly at the tabernacle, so afterwards at the temple and consequently in Jerusalem, Numbers 6, Reland, Antiquitt. p. 277; and entirely without proof Grotius holds: “haec praecepta … eos non obligabant, qui extra Judaeam agebant.” If it is assumed (Wolf, Stolz, Rosenmüller) that the Nazarite vow had in this case been interrupted by a Levitical uncleanness, such as by contact with a dead person (according to Lange, by intercourse with Gentiles), and was begun anew by the shearing off of the hair already consecrated but now polluted (Numbers 6:9), this is a mere empty supposition, as the simple εἶχε γὰρ εὐχήν indicates nothing at all extraordinary. And even the renewal of an interrupted Nazarite vow was bound to the temple. See Numbers 6:10. Therefore a proper Nazarite vow is here entirely out of the question; it is to be understood as a private vow (votum civile) which Aquila had resting upon him, and which he discharged at Cenchreae by the shaving of his head. On the occasion of some circumstances unknown to us,—perhaps under some distress, in view of eventual deliverance,—he had vowed to let his hair grow for a certain time; this time had now elapsed, and therefore he had his head shorn at Cenchreae. Comp. Salmasius, de coma, p. 710; Wolf, Cur. in loc.; Spencer, de leg. Jud. rit. p. 862 ff. The permitting the hair to grow is, in the Nazarite state, according to Numbers 6:7, nothing else than the sign of complete consecration to God (whence also Judges 16:17 is to be explained), comp. Ewald, Alterth. p. 115, not that of a blessed, flourishing life, which meaning Bähr, Symbol. II. p. 432 f., imports (comp. in opposition to this, Keil, Archäol. § lxvii. 11); nor yet, from the later view of common life, 1 Corinthians 11:14, a representation of man’s renunciation of his dignity and of his subjection to God (Baumgarten), which is entirely foreign to the matter. In a corresponding manner is the usage in the case of the vow to be understood. For the vow was certainly analogous to the Nazarite state (see Ewald, Alterth. p. 28 f.), in so far as one idea lay at the root of both; but it was again specifically different from it, as not requiring the official intervention of the priests, and as not bound to the temple and to prescribed forms. Neander correctly describes the εὐχή in this passage (comp. Bengel) as a modification of the Nazarite vow; but for this very reason it seems erroneous that he takes the shearing of the head as the commencement of the redemption of the vow, and not as its termination.(85) See Numbers 6:5; Numbers 6:18; Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 15. 1 : τοὺς γὰρ νόσῳ καταπονουμένους, τισιν ἄλλαις ἀνάγκαις, ἔθος εὔχεσθαι πρὸ τριάκοντα ἡμερῶν, ἧς ἀποδώσειν μέλλοιεν θυσίας, οἴνου τε ἀφέξασθαί καὶ ξυρήσασθαι τὰς κό΄ας, where the meaning from ἔθος onwards is thus to be taken: “They are accustomed, thirty days before the intended presentation of the offering, to vow that they will abstain from wine and (at the end of that period) have the head shorn.”

A special set purpose, moreover, on the part of Luke, in bringing in this remark concerning Aquila, cannot be proved, whether of a conciliatory nature (Schneckenburger, p. 66), with the assumed object of indirectly defending Paul against the charge of antagonism to the law, or by way of explaining the historical nexus of cause and effect (Wieseler, p. 203, conjecturally), according to which his object would be to give information concerning the delay of the departure of the apostle, and concerning his leaving Ephesus more quickly.


Verse 19-20

Acts 18:19-20. κατέλιπεν αὐτοῦ] he left them there, separated himself from them, so that he without them ( αὐτός, he on his part) went to the synagogue, there discoursed with the Jews (Acts 18:4; Acts 17:2; Acts 17:17), and then, without longer stay, pursued his journey. The shift, to which Schneckenburger has recourse, that αὐτὸς δέ properly belongs to ἀπετάξ. αὐτοῖς, is impossible; and that of de Wette, that Luke has written κἀκείνους κατέλιπ. αὐτ. in anticipation, “in order, as it were, to get rid of these secondary figures,” is arbitrarily harsh.

We may remark, that within this short abode of the apostle at Ephesus occurred the first foundation of a church there, with which the visit to the synagogue and discussion with the Jews are appropriately in keeping as the commencement of his operations. So much the less, therefore, is an earlier presence there and foundation of the church to be assumed.(86)

ἐπὶ πλ. χρ.] for a longer time. It was to take place only at a later period, chap. 19.


Verse 21

Acts 18:21. What feast was meant by τὴν ἑορτὴν τὴν ἐρχομ. must remain undetermined, as δεῖ με πάντως does not allow us absolutely to exclude the winter season dangerous for navigation, and as the indefinite ἡμέρας ἱκανάς, Acts 18:18—which period is not included in the one and a half years (see on Acts 18:11)—prevents an exact reckoning. It is commonly supposed to be either Easter or Pentecost. The latter by Anger, de temp. rat. p. 60 ff., and Wieseler, p. 48 ff. The former (Ewald) is at least not to be inferred from the use of the article “the feast,” which in general (Fritzsche, ad Matth. p. 804), and here specially on account of the addition τὴν ἐρχομ., would be an uncertain ground. The motive, also, of the determination indicated by δεῖ is completely unknown.

ποιεῖν] as in Acts 18:23; see on Acts 15:33.

εἰς ἱεροσόλ.] see Winer, p. 387 [E. T. 518].

πάλιν δὲ κ. τ. λ.] which took place, Acts 19:1.


Verse 22-23

Acts 18:22-23. Fourth journey to Jerusalem, according to chap. 9, 11, 15.

From Ephesus Paul sailed to Caesarea (i.e. Caesarea Stratonis, the best and most frequented harbour in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem; not, as Jerome, Beda, and Lyra suppose, Caesarea in Cappadocia, against which the very word ἀνήχθη serves as a proof), and from thence he went up to Jerusalem, whence he proceeded down to Antioch.

ἀναβάς] namely, to Jerusalem. So Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, Olshausen, Neander, Anger (de temp. rat. p. 60 f.), de Wette, Wieseler, Baumgarten, Lange, Ewald, and others. Others refer it to Caesarea (so Calovius, Wolf, Kuinoel, Schott, and several others), and think that the word is purposely chosen, either because the city was situated high up from the shore (Kuinoel and others), or because the church had its place of meeting in an elevated locality (de Dieu and others). The reference to Caesarea would be necessary, if δεῖ με πάντως κ. τ. λ., Acts 18:21, were not genuine; for then the reference to Jerusalem would have no ground assigned for it in the context. But with the genuineness of that asseveration, Acts 18:21, the historical connection requires that ἀναβ. κ. ἀσπασ. τ. ἐκκλ. should contain the fulfilment of it. In favour of this we may appeal both to the relation in meaning of the following κατέβη to this ἀναβάς, and to the circumstance that it would be very strangely in contrast to the hurried brevity with which the whole journey is despatched in Acts 18:22, if Luke should have specially indicated in the case of Caesarea not merely the arrival at it, but also the going up (?) to it. In spite of that hurried brevity, with which the author scarcely touches on this journey to Jerusalem, and mentions in regard to the residence there no intercourse with the Jews, no visit to the temple, and the like, but only a salutation of the church,(87) the fidelity of the apostle to the Jewish festivals has been regarded as the design of the narrative (Schneckenburger), and the narrative itself as invented (Zeller, Hausrath; comp. Holtzmann, p. 695). The identification of the journey with that mentioned in Galatians 2:1 (Wieseler) is incompatible with the aim of the apostle in adducing his journeys to Jerusalem in that passage. See on Galatians. Nor can the encounter with Peter, Galatians 2:11, belong to the residence of Paul at that time in Antioch (Neander, Wieseler, Lange, Baumgarten).

τὴν γαλατ. χ. τ. φρυγ.] certainly, also, Lycaonia (Acts 14:21), although Luke does not expressly name it. On ἐπιστηρίζων, comp. Acts 14:22, Acts 15:32; Acts 15:41.


Verse 24

Acts 18:24.(88) ἀπολλώς] the abbreviated ἀπολλώνιος, as D actually has it. His working was peculiarly influential in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:5 f., Acts 4:6 ff.

λόγιος] may mean either learned or eloquent. See Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 198; Jacobs, ad Anthol. XII. p. 116. Neander (also Vatablus) takes it in the former signification. But the usual rendering, eloquens, corresponds quite as well with his Alexandrian training (after the style of Philo), and is decidedly indicated as preferable by the reference to Acts 18:25; Acts 18:28, as well as by the characteristic mode of Apollo’s work at Corinth. Besides, his Scripture-learning is particularly brought forward alongside of λογιότης by δυνατὸς ὢν ἐν τ. γραφ.: he had in the Scriptures, in the understanding, exposition, and application of them, a peculiar power, for the conviction and winning of hearts, refutation of opponents, and the like.


Verses 24-28

Acts 18:24-28. Notice interposed concerning Apollos, who, during Paul’s absence from Ephesus, came thither as a Messianic preacher proceeding from the school of the disciples of John, completed his Christian training there, and then before the return of the apostle (Acts 19:1) departed to Achaia.


Verse 25

Acts 18:25. κατηχημένος τ. ὁδ. τ. κυρ.] Apollos was instructed concerning the way of the Lord (i.e. concerning Christianity as a mode of life appointed and shaped by Christ through means of faith in Him, see on Acts 9:2) doubtless by disciples of John, as follows from ἐπιστάμ. μόνον τ. βάπτ. ἰωάννου. How imperfect this instruction had been in respect of the doctrinal contents of Christianity,(89) appears from the fact that he knew nothing of a distinctively Christian baptism. He stood in this respect on the same stage with the μαθηταί in Acts 19:2; but, not maintaining the same passive attitude as they did, he was already—under the influence of the partial and preliminary light of Christian knowledge—full of a profound, living fervour, as if seething and boiling in his spirit, i.e. in the potency of his higher self-conscious life ( ζέων τῷ πνεύματι, see on Romans 12:11), so that he ἐλάλει καὶ ἐδίδασκεν ἀκριβῶς τὰ περὶ τοῦ ἰησσῦ. What had reference to Jesus, to whom as the Messiah John had borne witness, was naturally that concerning which he had in his Johannean training received most information and taken the deepest interest. He must have regarded Jesus

His historical person—actually as the Messiah (not merely as a precursor of Him, Baumgarten), which Bleek erroneously denies, contrary to the express words of the passage; but he still needed a more accurate Christian instruction, which he received, Acts 18:26. The incompleteness and even the lack to some extent of correctness in his Christian knowledge, made him, with his might in the Scriptures and fervour in spirit—which latter was under the control of the former—not incapable to teach, according to the measure of his knowledge, with accuracy(90) concerning Jesus, although he himself had to be instructed yet ἀκριβέστερον, Acts 18:26 (in opposition to Baur and Zeller, who find here contradictory statements). In a corresponding manner, for example, a missionary may labour with an incomplete and in part even defective knowledge of the way of salvation, if he is mighty in the Scriptures and of fervent spirit.

ἐλάλ. κ. ἐδίδ. are simply to be distinguished as genus and species; and ἀκριβῶς, exactly, receives its limitation by ἐπιστ. μόν. τ. β. .

ἐπιστάμενος μόν. τ. βάπτ. ἰωάννου] although, etc. The view, that by this an absolute ignorance of Christian baptism is expressed, is incredible in itself, and not to be assumed on account of John 3:26. Notwithstanding, the simple literal sense is not to be interpreted, with Lange (apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 260), as though Apollos was wanting only in “complete Christian experience of salvation and maturity;” but, inasmuch as he did not recognise the characteristic distinction of the Christian baptism from that of John, he knew not that the former was something superior to the latter (Acts 19:3-4); he knew only the baptism of John.(91)


Verse 26

Acts 18:26. τέ] to which δέ afterwards corresponds, see Winer, p. 409 [E. T. 548]; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. v. 5. 8.

ἤρξατο] beginning of the παῤῥησ. ἐν τῇ συναγ. Immediately afterwards Aquila and Priscilla, who had temporarily settled in Ephesus (Acts 18:18 f.), and had heard him speak—from which they could not but learn what he lacked—took him to themselves for private instruction.

τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ ὁδόν] the same as τὴν ὁδὸν τ. κυρίου, Acts 18:25, inasmuch as the whole work of Christ is the work of God. That, also, Christian baptism was administered to Apollos by Aquila, is neither to be assumed as self-evident (Erasmus, Grotius, and others), nor is it to be arbitrarily added, with Olshausen, that he first received the Holy Spirit at Corinth by Paul (?). Ewald correctly remarks: “there could be no mention of a new baptism in the case of a man already, in a spiritual sense, moved deeply enough.” See on Acts 19:5. The Holy Spirit had already taken up His abode in his fervent spirit,—a relation which could only be furthered by the instruction of Aquila and Priscilla.


Verse 27

Acts 18:27. διελθεῖν εἰς τ. ἀχαΐαν] probably occasioned by what he had heard from Aquila and Priscilla concerning the working of Paul at Corinth.

προτρεψ. οἱ ἀδ. ἔγραψ. τοῖς μαθητ. ἀποδ. αὐτ.] The Christians already at Ephesus (doubtless but few at first, Acts 18:19 f.) wrote exhorting (issued a letter of exhortation) to the disciples (the Christians of Achaia) to receive him hospitably as a teacher of the gospel. So Luther, Castalio, and others, also de Wette and Ewald. The contents of their letter constituted a λόγος προτρεπτικός, Plat. Clit. p. 410 D. But many others, as Erasmus, Beza, Grotius, Bengel, following Chrysostom ( προπέμπουσι κ. γράμματα ἐπιδιδόασιν), refer προτρεψ. to Apollos(92) as its object, not to the ΄αθητάς (“sua exhortatione ipsum magis incitaverunt fratres et currenti addiderunt calcar,” Calvin); according to which we should necessarily expect either a defining αὐτόν with προτρεψ., or previously βουλό΄ενον δὲ αὐτόν.

συνεβάλετο] he contributed much (contulit, Vulg.; profuit, Cod. It.), helped much, Den. 558. 13; Plat. Legg. x. p. 905 C Polyb. i. 2. 8, ii. 13. 1; Philo, migr. Abr. p. 422 D. This meaning, not disseruit (Acts 17:18), is required by the following γάρ.

τοῖς πεπιστευκόσι] Bengel appropriately remarks: “rigavit Apollos, non plantavit.” Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:6.

διὰ τῆς χάριτος] is not to be connected with τοῖς πεπιστ. (Hammond, de Wette, Hackett, and others), but with συνεβ. πολύ; for the design of the text is to characterize Apollos and his working, and not the πεπιστευκ. The χάρις is to be explained of the divine grace sustaining and blessing his efforts. Not only is the view of Hammond and Bolten, that it denotes the gospel, to be rejected, but also that of Raphel, Wetstein, and Heinrichs, that it signifies facundia dicendique venustas, in which case the Christian point of view of Luke, according to which he signalizes that συνεβάλ. πολύ, is entirely mistaken. Apollos thus laboured, not by his art, but by grace. But the reception of baptism is not presupposed by this χάρις (in opposition to Grotius); see on Acts 18:26.


Verse 28

Acts 18:28. εὐτόνως] nervously, vigorously, also in Greek writers used of orators. Comp. Luke 23:10.

διακατηλ.] stronger than κατηλ.; not preserved elsewhere. The dative of reference (comp. Symm., Job 39:30 : διελεγχόμενος θεῷ) is to be rendered: for the Jews, i.e. over against the Jews, to instruct them better, he held public refutations, so that he showed, etc.

δημοσίᾳ] The opposite is ἰδίᾳ, Xen. Hier. xi. 9. It comprehends more than the activity in the synagogue. See Acts 19:9.

διὰ τῶν γραφ.] by means of the Scriptures, whose expressions he made use of for the explanation and proof of his proposition that Jesus was the Messiah ( ἰησοῦν is the subject, comp. Acts 18:5).

The description of the ministry of Apollos, Acts 18:27-28, entirely agrees with 1 Corinthians 3:6.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Acts 18:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/acts-18.html. 1832.

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