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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Acts 18



Verse 17

Acts 18:17

I. Gallio was a Roman of a gentler than Roman type. His brother, the great Seneca, speaks of the wonderful charm of his character, and declares that they who loved him with all their love loved him at best too little. It is well for us to read in this conflict of description the mighty measureless discrepancy between man's judgment and God's. The beauty is the bane. Gallio's friends love him for the sweetness which in God's sight is feebleness; and Gallio the well-beloved, exposed to the sunlight of Bible photography, becomes to the Church of all time Gallio the indifferent.

II. In the particular instance Gallio was not to blame. A stranger is dragged before the proconsul's tribunal on a charge which the magistrate sees to be at once religious and sectarian. These Jews are trading upon toleration to invoke intolerance. Their religion is recognised by the law, and they are to be judges of the exact shape and colour, the precise limit and margin, of the protecting recognition. Orthodox Judaism, yes; Nonconformist Judaism, no. "This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law." The magistrate interposes. Without calling on the accused he dismisses the case. The decision was right, but not the motive. The searcher of hearts sees not there the sentence of justice, but only that utter indifference to truth and falsehood which makes it as easy to be impartial as earnestness finds it difficult.

III. We see indifference in a thousand forms and due to a thousand influences. (1) Sometimes we believe it to be an affectation; (2) sometimes it is the effect of early forcing; (3) sometimes it is the rebound and reaction of earnestness; (4) sometimes it is the expression of suspense; (5) sometimes it is the indifference of disappointment, of unhappiness, of sin. How shall we shake off this lethargy which lies upon us all more or less in this body of death? One moment of real, vivid, intense prayer—one resolute wishing of the wish into the ear, into the spirit, of the present listening God—that will do it. Hath He taken upon Him, and shall He not succeed?

C. J. Vaughan, Sundays in the Temple, p. 20.

References: Acts 18:17.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vi., p. 58; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines, p. 258. Acts 18:21.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. vii., p. 187. Acts 18:24-26.—R. Hughes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 36. Acts 18:25.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. x., p. 99.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Acts 18:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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