Do Not Be Afraid, Keep On Speaking
Comments for Study 20
Memory Verse: 9
BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
BEFORE BEGINNING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW A MAP OF PAUL'S FIRST AND SECOND MISSIONARY JOUNEYS.
BEFORE BEGINNING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW A MAP OF PAUL'S THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY.
I. A Tent Maker's Mission (1-8)
>1. Where did Paul go next? (1)
* Acts 18:1 "After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth."
* "After this" -Paul did not stay very long in Athens arriving alone, but not long, see below trace. He remained in Corinth for around eighteen months.
* "Corinth" -Corinth was a Roman Colony (see earlier study on what this means) and capital of the Roman province of Achaia. It was located on the south-west end of the isthmus that joined the southern part of the Greek peninsula with the mainland to the north. The city was located on an elevated plain at the foot of Acrocorinth, a rugged hill reaching 1,886 feet (575m) above sea level. Corinth was a maritime city and commercial center located between two important seaports: the port of Lechaion on the Gulf of Corinth about two miles (3km) to the north and the port of Cenchreae on the Saronic Gulf about six miles (9km) east of Corinth. A century after Rome destroyed the city Julius Caesar rebuilt it in 44-46 B.C., and it quickly became an important city in the Roman Empire. The city of Corinth as Paul found it was a cosmopolitan city composed of people from varying cultural backgrounds. Being near the site of the Isthmian games held every two years, the Corinthians enjoyed both the pleasures of these games and the wealth that the visitors brought to the city. While their ships were being carried across the isthmus, sailors came to the city to spend their money on the pleasures of Corinth. Even in an age of sexual immorality, Corinth was known for its licentious life-style. According to Strabo, the temple of Aphrodite had a thousand religious prostitutes. A Roman term "a Corinthian girl" meant a harlot. All this explains the problem in the congregation as stated in Paul's letters to them.
* 1 Corinthians 1:14-16 is a recall of the early days in Corinth.
>Who did he meet there? (2)
* Acts 18:2 "There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them,"
* "Aquila" -Aquila was a Jew with a Latin name.
* "a native of Pontus" -In the north-eastern region of Asia Minor, a Roman province lying along the Black Sea between Bithynia and Armenia. He was from an area that Paul wanted to go into at the beginning of this mission journey, but was kept from doing so by the Holy Spirit. (16:6-7)
* "who had recently come from Italy" -The couple were Jews living in the city of Rome.
* "Priscilla" -Priscilla (Prisca) was a Jewish women with a Latin name.
* "Claudius" -Roman emperor from A.D. 41 to 54. He made Judea a Roman province in A.D. 44. He expelled Jews from Rome in about A.D. 49 (Acts 18:2), probably due to conflict between Jews and Christians in Rome. Apparently his fourth wife Agrippina poisoned him in A.D. 54 and took charge of the empire for her son Nero. The prophet Agabus announced a coming famine during Claudius’ reign (Acts 11:28). (Holman Bible Dictionary)
* "ordered all the Jews to leave Rome" -Recorded in Suetonius (Claudius, 25). The expulsion order was given, Suetonius writes, because of "their (the Jews) continual tumults instigated by Chrestus (a common misspelling of Christ). If "Chrestus" refers to Christ, the riots obviously were "about" him rather than led "by" him. (NIV Study Bible)
* "Paul went to see them" -Aquila and Priscilla were already Christians when Paul arrived in Corinth. Most assume that they came to believe in Jesus as the Messiah from Christians who scattered after Pentecost to Rome. Paul went to be with other believers in Jesus since he came to the city alone.
* Paul wrote to the Romans that he wanted to visit them, but couldn't. (Rom. 15:22) The reason being was the law that forbid Jews in Rome. I believe that Paul would have not stopped at Antioch and then gone to Corinth if that law was not in place. God worked through a Roman law to direct Paul to where he wanted him. Paul saw this hand of God and that is why he wrote what he did in his letter to the Romans. (Rom 15:17-24)
>How did Paul support his gospel work? (3, 1 Cor. 9:3-14)
* Acts 18:3 "and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them."
* 1 Corinthians 9:3-14 "This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. Don't we have the right to food and drink? Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don't you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel."
* "he was a tentmaker" -Paul supported himself during most of his mission trips. Nowhere does it record that Paul took an offering up for himself. Though it can be assumed that the Christians often shared with one another, including with Paul. Yet, sharing is not the same as receiving 100% support for all expenses such as pastors do. Paul would have learned the trade as a youth. Jewish custom was to teach their children a manual trade whether rich or poor and whether it was intended to maintain themselves this way in adult life.
* "as they were" -Aquila and his wife supported themselves too.
* "he stayed and worked with them" -The three of them had common life. They were from different congregations, and yet they worked together for the common goal of preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth. I attend a church that works collectively with other churches throughout the word to do the same thing. The "denomination" is called The Christian and Missionary Alliance.
>When he wasn't working, what did he do? (4)
* Acts 18:4 "Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks."
* Paul did as he always did if there was a synagogue in the city he was in. Acts is in this way a general repeat of similar events.
>Is there such an excuse as, "I'm to busy to serve God and live his gospel work"? (Lk. 8:14)
* Luke 8:14 "The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature."
* Many have called Paul, Aquila and Priscilla tent maker ministries meaning they were self supportive, not getting a salary from the local congregations. All believers are called to sow the seed of God's word. All Christians are to share the good news of the kingdom of God. All of Jesus' followers are to go into all the earth and preach the word. God will be with us and take care of us as we serve him and his people. Some people will not get any financial help from others, only supporting themselves, their families and their local congregation. Others will get some finicial help and some support through a job of their own. Others will be fully supported by the congregation. Jesus never said anyone should and would get rich on the gospel work. If anyone has we should question their motives and full commitment. I have not received financial support from anyone for the gospel work I've done since Jesus called me in the summer of 1982. It is now the summer of 2011. I've always supported myself and the Lord has been kind enough to use me to witness to strangers, family, and friends. He has used me to give messages to over a thousand and to a crowd of three. He has used me to teach the Bible one to one and in small groups. He is using me to share the studies for the last almost thirty years to many all over the world freely. I am not alone. Millions of believers in the Lord Jesus over the last two thousand years have done the same thing; being used as a "tent maker ministry".
>2. Where had Silas and Timothy been? (17:15)
* Acts 17:15 "The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible."
* Below is a outline tracing the locations and events during this missionary trip:
1) Early 50 A.D. Paul and Silas left Antioch going through Tarsus to the churches in Galatia where Timothy joins them. (15:36-16:10)
2) The same year crossing the Aegean Sea arriving at Philippi. (16:11-40)
3) They flee Philippi after considerable time there and went to Thessalonica were they spend considerable time. (17:1-9)
4) Paul and Silas flee from Thessalonica to Berea. Since Timothy is not mentioned, it is possible that he stayed in Thessalonica or Philippi and then rejoined Paul in Silas in Berea.
5) Paul fled to Athens from Berean persecution, leaving Silas and Timothy in Berea. (14) Paul asked Silas and Timothy to join him in Athens. (15, and 1 Thess. 3:1-2)
6) Timothy rejoined Paul at Athens and was sent back to Thessalonica. (1 Thess. 3:1-5) Since Silas is not mentioned, it has been conjectured that he went back to Philippi when Timothy went to Thessalonica.
7) Paul moved on the Corinth. (18:1) Silas and Timothy came to Paul in Corinth. (18:5, and 1 Thess. 3:6)
8) Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians and sent it to the church. About six months later in late 51 or early 52 A.D. Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians. These are the first two letters that we have that Paul wrote.
9) Most believe that Paul wrote Galatians while in Corinth or perhaps when he arrived back at Antioch at the end of this mission trip in late 52 A.D.
>When they finally rejoined him what did Paul do? (5)
* Acts 18:5 "When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ."
* "Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching" -Paul stopped making tents and spent all of his time preaching. He became Corinth's first fully supported pastor. Pastor is Latin for shepherd, a term Jesus often used for himself and for his followers. (See John 21) The literal translation of "devoted himself exclusively to preaching" is "pressed in the spirit" meaning "constrained by the word" and as it is translated into English here.
* During the early rapid growth of the Jerusalem church the apostles decided, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables." (Acts 6:2)
* After a congregations reaches a certain size, large enough to support a well versed man in the word of God, full of the Spirit, it should do so. A Jewish synagogue was always established when ten believers lived in the town. Since all gave a tenth of their offering, the pastor (shepherd in Latin) would receive the same amount of income as they did on average. Then the pastor of the local congregation could support his family the same as the members of his congregation supported their family. The local congregations to where the gospel spread were not communes. They are little different than what many local congregations are now.
* "testifying to the Jews" -Paul not only help the local congregation, but he personally engaged in outreach activities.
* "that Jesus was the Christ" -Christ is Greek for Messiah. Most in the Roman Empire knew Greek since it was the language of the intellect. In order to be converted a Jew needed to accept that Jesus was the promised Messiah. So Paul did all he could to help them believe Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah. Each evangelist and pastor should present what is needed according to the scriptures what a person is lacking in understanding and believe in order to be saved.
>How did most of the Jews in the synagogue respond? (6)
* Acts 18:6 "But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
* "when the Jews opposed Paul" -This means most, especially the leaders would not accept that Jesus was the Messiah.
* "became abusive" -Often when people refuse to believe the gospel they not only reject it they become abusive to the messenger. I have experienced this many many times. I have seen people converted and I have seen people become offensive. Jesus told his disciples that this would happen.
* "clear of my responsibility" -Paul and all the apostles were following Jesus direction to go to the Jews first. A subject of an earlier Acts study.
* "From now on I will go to the Gentiles" -Paul would only preach to the non-circumcised and not descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Paul did all he could in Corinth for the Jews, presenting the gospel as it is found in the Old Testament, given them ample evidence of Jesus' Messiahship.
>What does shaking ones clothes mean? (6, Matt. 10:14)
* Matthew 10:14 "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. "
* Shaking the dust off ones clothes was a symbol meaning not even the dust of your homes and city are good enough to come with me.
>Who believed in Jesus? (8)
* Acts 18:7-8 "Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized."
* "Titius Justus" -A God-fearing Gentile, whose house became the center of the congregation. He may be "Gaius, mine host" of Romans 16:23, in which case his full name would be Gaius Titius Justus.
* "the synagogue ruler" -The most prominent Jew in Corinth. The synagogue ruler was always the most prominent Jew in the city he lived in. Crispus' conversion must have been a big shock tot he other Jews.
* "his entire household believed" -This kind of influence is only obtained through a life of love and virtue.
* "and many of the Corinthians" -The biggest believers were Gentiles as it was in every town the gospel went to. Jesus said he would call for himself a people from amongst the Gentiles. Paul and the other Jews who believed were fulfilling the mission that God had always wanted Israel to fulfill, being a blessing to the Gentiles.
* "were baptised" -Full immersion baptism was the only type practiced in those days. It was an outward symbol of the inward change. It was a symbol to the people that God had changed their heart and status when they believed by faith.
>3. Did Paul and God ever lose his love for Jews? See Romans 11:11-16.
* Romans 11:11-16 "Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches."
* God's plan for Israel cannot be changed. He is calling them back to him again.
> What is God's mysterious future plan? See Romans 11:25-36.
* Romans 11:25-36 "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,
29 for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,
31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you.
32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"
35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."
>In light of this how should we live?
* God's mercy should be the understanding of why anyone has come to him. Ephesians 2:4-5 states, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."
II. Do Not Be Afraid (9-17)
>4. What did the Lord say to Paul?
* Acts 18:9-10 "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: "Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."
* "One night the Lord" -Paul must have wondered if he was to stay in Corinth, go back to check on the cities he had preached in earlier, or whether he should go to a new area to preach. Often at this point Paul was forced to leave the city he was in. He mainly engaged in church planting, not in church growth. He must have prayed for direction, and was given it.
* "the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision" -The Lord still speaks to his people in visions. As the end of this age in upon us the Lord has been do so every more frequently.
* "Do not be afraid" -Paul's fear was not fear of the Lord, but a very real fear of pain from men. Paul's history told him that at this point he would be jailed, or beaten, or worse. Who would not be afraid of such things? Those who received assurance from Jesus. A very common phrase in the four gospels is Jesus saying, "Do not be afraid."
* "Keep on speaking" -Our mission is to speak the word. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 states, "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction."
* "Do not be silent" -Paul may have been depressed to the point of considering to stop preaching and teaching. After all, up to this point great masses of people were not coming to the Lord as they did on Pentecost and shortly after it.
* "I have many people in this city" -Meaning not only those who already accept, but who are also about those who would soon accept.
>What does this show us about how Paul was no different than us?
* How many times have I turned to the Lord wondering where I could be and should be used next? Several. There have even been times that I was afraid that the verbal persecution would turn to physical persecution. Throughout my life I was in the place that Paul was in while at this point. David also experience this as reading his Psalms displays.
* Psalms 3:1-4 "O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, "God will not deliver him." Selah But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah"
* Psalms 5:8-9 "Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies-- make straight your way before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit."
* Psalms 6:6-10 "I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; they will turn back in sudden disgrace."
>How long did Paul stay in Corinth? (11)
* Acts 18:11 "So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God."
* Paul's stay in Corinth mark the end of his second missionary journey by some Bible scholars. Others bring him back to Antioch before they call his second mission an end. (22) I'm inclined to say a mission trip must end by giving a report to the church that sent the missionary. Therefore, his arrival in Antioch as recorded in verse 22 is the end. Interestingly verse 23 marks the beginning of Paul's third missionary journey. Paul only stayed in Antioch for a few weeks.
>What does this say about his obedient faith?
* Paul trusted the Lord and obeyed the instruction he received. This stay was the longest that Paul stayed in any city at this point (other than Antioch, his home congregation).
>5. What happened to Paul? (12-13)
* Acts 18:12-13 "While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. "This man," they charged, "is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law."
* "Gallio was proconsul of Achaia" -"Gallio was brother to Hero's tutor, Seneca, the Stoic philosopher, and as his proconsul title most probably began in July 51, we have here an approximate date for the Corinthian ministry." (from The International Bible Commentary) Also, "Gallio was from an illustrious family. His father was the elder Seneca; his brother was Seneca the Stoic and tutor of Nero; and his nephew was Lucan the poet. He became proconsul of Achaia in A.D. 51 and is characterized in extra-Biblical writing as an amiable, witty and lovable person." (from The Acts of the Apostles by Ryrie) Also, "At the end of this period of time, a new proconsul came to the province of Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital city. Such provinces were under the supervision of the Senate and were governed by proconsuls, who filled a two-year term..." (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary and it continues repeating what I already quoted from other sources). Also, "...From an inscription found at Delphi, it is known that Gallio was proconsul of Achaia in A.D. 51-52. This information enables us to date Paul's visit to Corinth on his second journey as well as his writing of the Thessalonian letter." (From NIV Study Bible)
* "the Jews made a united attack" -Perhaps meaning Jews from other city in Achaia province joined the Jews of Corinth. They were so jealous and tired of God's work through Paul that they make a formal court arrangement to have his locked away or even killed.
* "brought him into court" -The court is called "the Bema seat". It sat up high on a large flat stone. Jews took formal legal action against him in the highest court available to them.
* "contrary to the law" -Whose law? God's law or Roman law? They meant both.
>Why did they go to a Greek for help? (8)
* Acts 18:14-16 "Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law--settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things." So he had them ejected from the court."
* The Jew's second synagogue ruler (Sosthenes) and other Jews were leaving their congregation. This was happening all over the Roman Empire by now. They couldn't stand it and couldn't stop it themselves. From their point of view they had to get someone else involved.
* Anti-Semitism was flowing through the Roman empire because wherever the gospel went the Jews did all they could to stop it, even to going to Roman court. This caused unrest and "clogged up" the courts. The Romans became angered at the Jews and resented them for getting them involved in "meaningless Jewish religious laws". By resisting God they made themselves a stench to their neighbors and their rulers. Pride and jealousy was the heart attitude that brough anti-Semitism at this time. They wanted God for themselves in their way. They didn't want others to share in their blessing. They are like the elder brother in Jesus' Parable of the Lost Son,
* Luke 15:25-32 records, "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
>Why didn't they beat Paul? (16:37-38)
* Acts 16:37-38 "But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out." The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed."
* Paul was a Roman citizen and perhaps most of them weren't. A Roman citizen being attacked by a non-Roman would have been a serious charge involving sure jail time and perhaps even killed.
>6. What does the proconsul's reaction to the beating tell us about the times? (17)
* Acts 18:17 "Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever."
* As mentioned above the Romans were feed up with the problem caused by the Jews. They did not see a distinction between Christians and Jews. To the Romans the two groups were the same religion and a joke to watch and as annoying as a mosquito or a fly.
* The proconsul's decision would have major impact for Christians and Jews in the whole area leading to the further spread of the gospel.
* American's talk about separation of church and state meaning one shouldn't affect the other and get involved with the other. Gallio took just such a stance.
>How should believers in Jesus be different? (Matt. 5:13-16)
* Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
III. Priscilla, Aquila, and Apollos (18-28)
>7. Who did Paul bring with him when he finally left Corinth?
* Acts 18:18 "Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken."
* "Syria" -Antioch is in Syria. Paul was going back to his home church.
* "accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila" -The fact that they went along indicated that this was an important decision.
* "he had his hair cut off" -Called a Nazarene vow usually lasting at least thirty days. Paul followed this and other Jewish customs.
* "Cenchrea" -Corinthian's port.
* "because of a vow" -unknown vow, perhaps person to person. J. Vernon McGee wrote, "Under grace, friend, if you want to make a vow, you can make it. And if you do not want to make a vow, you don't have to. Paul didn't force anyone else to make a vow. In fact, he said emphatically that no one has to do that. But if Paul wants to make a vow, that is his business. That is the marvellous freedom that we have in the grace of God today. There are some super-saints who form little cliques and make laws for the Christian. They say we can't do this and we can't do that. May I say to you very candidly that our relationship is to the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is a love affair. If we love Him, of course we will not do anything that will break our fellowship with Him. Don't insist that I go through your little wicket gate; I am to follow Him. He shows me what I can and cannot do in order to maintain fellowship with Him."
>Where did he leave them? (19a)
* Acts 18:19a "They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila."
* They would be a great influence at Ephesus.
* "Ephesus" -One of the largest and most impressive cities in the ancient world, a political, religious, and commercial center in western Asia Minor, on the coast of the Mediterranean. Associated with the ministries of Paul, Timothy, and the apostle John, the city played a significant role in the spread of early Christianity. Ephesus and its inhabitants are mentioned more than twenty times in the New Testament. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
>8. What did Paul do? (19b)
* Acts 18:19b "He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews."
* Paul's love for the Jews and desire for them to be saved continued even though their reaction was often harsh. How many converts have continually witnessed to their family members for the same reason?
* 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 "But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me."
>What did he promise them? (20-21)
* Acts 18:20-21 "When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, "I will come back if it is God's will." Then he set sail from Ephesus."
* Paul kept this promise on his next missionary journey.
>9. After spending time at his home church in Antioch what did Paul do? (22-23)
* Acts 18:22-23 "When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples."
* "Caesarea" -the main port of Palestine and the home of Roman government at the time (See earlier study in Acts).
* "he went up and greeted the church" -in Jerusalem.
* "After spending some time in Antioch" -Less than a year.
* "Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place" -Paul's third missionary journey.
* Paul went to the congregations that he started on his first and second missionary trips.
>10. Who was Apollos?
* Acts 18:24-25 "Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John."
* "Meanwhile" -Luke, the author of Acts breaks at the beginning of Paul's missionary journey to discuss God's work in someone else, Aquila and Priscilla.
* "Apollos" -A Jew with a Greek name. This was customary at the time.
* "Alexandria" -The capital of Egypt from 330 B.C., founded by Alexander the Great as an outstanding Greek cultural and academic center, home of the largest library of its time. Octavian incorporated it into the Roman empire about 30 B.C. It quickly became second in importance to Rome. Its importance declined about 100 A.D. Many Jews lived in the city. The Greek version of the Old Testament the Septuagint, was made and found there. Philo, a contemporary of Apollos in Alexandria, mingled Greek philosophy with Judaism in his famous writings. Alexandria was the center of the growing Christian population in Egypt and northern Africa, especially after Jerusalem fell. Although the Christians suffered persecution there, they produced a school with such notables as Clement and Origen in leadership. Athanasius, Tertullian, and Augustine, three other great men of the early church were also from there. The Christian school was noted for its allegorical approach to Scripture.
* "a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures" -The Old Testament for the New Testament did not exist yet with the exception of Paul's two letters to the Thessalonians and the letter to the Galatians.
* "he spoke with great fervor" -He was a great orator.
* "the way of the Lord" -the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament and the other Jewish traditions added by the Pharisees, scribes, and teachers of the law.
>Where did he live?
* Apollos moved to Ephesus.
>What was he doing?
* "taught about Jesus accurately" -The Old Testament points to the Messiah.
* "he knew only the baptism of John" -During Paul's third missionary journey he found a group of men who were like Apollos. (19:1-7) It is possible that the men Paul ran into learned from Apollos before he accepted Jesus as Messiah.
>Who noticed him and where at? (26)
* Acts 18:26 "He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately."
* "boldly in the synagogue" -When Apollos began to speak and he wasn't a Christian the Jews who had not accepted Jesus as the Messiah must have been shocked and even alarmed.
* "Priscilla and Aquila heard him" -The Christians had not been kicked out of the synagogue yet.
>What did they do?
* "they invited him to their home" -A good example to follow. They taught the Bible in their house.
>How did they affect Apollos' ministry?
* Acts 18:27-28 "When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."
* "the brothers" -A large group of Christians must have assembled in Ephesus by now.
* "wrote to the disciples there" -The different believers in Jesus stayed in contact with each other.
* "he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate" -At this point, the Jews who refused to believe in Jesus had no Biblical reason for their rejection, it was purely cultural reasons.
>What kind of couple does it seem Priscilla and Aquila were? See Rom. 16:3, and 1 Cor. 16:19, and 2 Tim. 4:19.
* Romans 16:3 "Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus."
* 1 Corinthians 16:19 "The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house."
* 2 Timothy 4:19 "Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus."
Click the house to go to the Bible Study HOME Page