ToBeLikeHim.com Return to Acts Series
The Book of Acts Series
Acts, Chapter 18
Acts 18 (New American Standard Bible)
Key events in Acts - Chapter 18
– Paul at
and Timothy come down from
Paul in the synagogue
Paul goes to the Gentiles
The Jews bring Paul up before Proconsul Gallio
- Paul goes to
leaves Priscilla and Aquila in
sails for Caesarea and then goes to
3 – Third Missionary Journey
Apollos, the Alexandrian, preaching Jesus of John the Baptist
Apollos travels to Achaia
1After these things he left
17 of Acts has ended with Paul leaving
many ways, the things going on in
the manner that God works the problem of earning his keep was solved. Paul
was a tent maker.
This is a wonderful lesson in occupational witness for each of us. Remembering Christ’s words in Matthew 28: 18-22 which translate best in the following:
“As you are going, Make Disciples”
since he was going to
In a common questioning of life, “Where will you be tomorrow?” the answer is you will be going – to the market – to the mall – to work. Jesus said, “since you are going anyway, make disciples as you go.”
is what Paul did with
This relationship between Paul and the Jewish convert couple will last throughout the rest of Paul's life and will impact lives across the range of the new church.
4And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
5But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 6But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
7Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. 8Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.
“But when Silas and
Timothy came down from
the arrival of Silas and Timothy in
"Your blood be upon your heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
needs to be reported that Paul's statement applied only to the Jews in the
there is still the statement that Paul makes in
In his fit of frustration, Paul left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, who was a worshiper of God. The funny thing is that God did not send Paul very far when he left the synagogue. In fact, there is some humor at this point of Luke’s story because Paul went right next door to the synagogue to continue his work. In fact, the Greek wording that Luke uses indicates that the Synagogue and Titus’ house shared a common wall.
Interestingly, Paul’s exit from the synagogue had an effect, because Luke now reports that Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was won to Christ along with all of his household.
continues by telling us that among the other citizens of
Many who heard Paul believed and were baptized.
9And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city."
11And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
A literal interpretation of what the Lord said to Paul in his vision was, "Stop being afraid, and keep right on speaking as an evangelist. There is no need to be afraid because I will protect you from physical harm."
Paul to have received such a vision in the words Luke uses indicates that he
was afraid of speaking out. It is understandable that he would be fearful, because
a very familiar pattern was developing. He had seen it many times before. He
had come to the synagogue and spoken to the Jews as was his obligation (to
bring the message of Christ Jesus first to the Jews). As was usual, many of
the Jews rejected his message and so he turned to the Gentiles and there was
immediate response, a great flood of people coming in. This aroused anger and
hostility from the Jews, and he knew that the next step was trouble for his
ministry. Evidently he had decided he would soon be ousted from the city by
some charges made by the Jews to the local authorities. It was also likely
that if they found him, he would suffer physical violence from them. Death by
beating or stoning had been the goal of the Jews in the past. There was a
likelihood it would be the same in
Many of us have imagined Paul to be a bold, fearless worker in Acts and yet he apparently suffered the same doubts, anxiety and fears that we do. In fact in a letter to these very Corinthians he addresses his fears. In 1 Corinthians chapter 2, he says, "When I came to you, ... I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling;" (1 Corinthians 2:1a, 2:3). He evidently was very much afraid of what might happen to him as he went about his ministry there.
The reason, of course, was that the city was responding to the gospel and the message of deliverance from sin he was bringing. Strongholds of evil were being broken down. The life of the city was being disrupted by the spiritual awakening which was spreading because of Paul's teaching.
The comfort is that the Holy Spirit was with him. We should understand that it is also with us as we sow the seed.
The attack against Paul's ministry comes
12But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, 13saying, "This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law."
14But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, "If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; 15but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters." 16And he drove them away from the judgment seat.
17And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.
the attack against Paul finally does come, we can see God's hand is still at
work to exert control over it. The tribunal where the charges were brought
against Paul has been excavated and is one of the tourist spots in
is not difficult to imagine Paul on trial in the Bema. The judge, Gallio, was well known in
Once again, the charge brought against Paul was that he was violating the Roman laws against beginning a new religion. "This man is persuading men to worship God contrary to the law." It is interesting that the Jews meant the Roman law, which they commonly disregarded in their worship and lifestyle. Then the Jews evidently supported this charge with arguments concerning Paul's preaching of Christ.
But Gallio possessed a high level of perception and provides an example of how God often uses governmental authorities to preserve the peace and to permit the gospel to go forth. Before Paul could open his mouth to defend himself, the judge threw the case out of court. He denied the jurisdiction of his court, saying to the Jews, "Look, if this man had committed a crime, or had done something wrong, I would judge him. But it is obvious to me that all you are talking about are some silly semantic distinctions between your own Jewish religious factions. Therefore it has nothing to do with Roman law."
In saying this, Gallio was making an important decision. In effect, his ruling said Paul was now free to preach the gospel everywhere throughout the Roman empire without being charged with breaking the Roman law. Gallio ruled that Christianity, in the eyes of the Romans, was officially a Jewish sect, a part of Judaism. And Judaism was an established, official religion within the empire. This is what made it possible for Paul to preach in many Roman cities without any difficulty with the officials.
Once again, Luke shows humor in a tense situation, because at this point, the Jews were so upset by this outcome that they seized their leader, Sosthenes, and beat him up in front of the tribunal, venting their anger when things did not go their way on him.
When Crispus became a Christian he was no longer the ruler of the synagogue, so Sosthenes evidently took his place and led the attack against Paul. But when he mismanaged the affair so badly that the whole thing was thrown out of court, the Jews beat him up right in the presence of the Roman judge. All this left Gallio quite unconcerned.
may be that the beating did Sosthenes a lot of
good. There is an interesting statement in the first verse of Paul's first
letter to the church in
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, (1 Corinthians 1:1 NASV)
So, did Sosthenes become a Christian?
this is the same Sosthenes, he eventually saw the reason in Paul's message
and was led by the Holy Spirit to a conviction of belief in Christ Jesus. It
may be that Sosthenes' eyes were opened when the
Jews turned against him in court that day and he decided that maybe their
cause was not so just after all. Regardless, he eventually gave heed to the
gospel, and by the time Paul wrote a letter back to the church in
End of the second missionary journey
Luke records the end of Paul's second missionary journey with just a few words:
18Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the
brethren and put out to sea for
22When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted
the church, and went down to
is characteristic of Paul's ministry during these days. After this Paul
stayed many days longer, and then he left, sailing
started his second missionary journey from
Paul cuts his hair
Cenchreae Luke writes that Paul cut his hair, “for
he had a vow”. Luke does not say exactly what the vow is, but it most likely refers
to a religious vow. According to the Jewish Law, this was a way of expressing
thanks. If that is so, then Paul may have vowed that for thirty days he would
not cut his hair but would give thanks to God and worship him. If that is
true he probably would have fasted during this period, refraining from
certain foods. At the end of the thirty days he cut his hair, having
fulfilled his vow. This would have simply been a Jewish way of giving thanks.
Perhaps he was offering thanks to God for protecting him while he was in
voyage brought them to
Paul’s Third Missionary Journey
23And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
he came back to the church at
On his third missionary journey, Paul starts out all alone. He has no Barnabas or Silas with him this time as he heads out to familiar ground, to minister among dear friends whom he personally had led to Christ. His purpose is to strengthen the churches. Paul loved to venture into new territories, but he never forgot the need to strengthen those already won. So Luke tells us that he begins his third journey devoting his efforts to the training of the disciples.
went about among the churches in
The Story of Apollos, Priscilla and
24Now a Jew named Apollos, an
Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to
now adds a short story (an aside) to his message to help explain what happens
when Paul comes to
Luke describes Apollos as mighty in the scriptures. Now days, we might say that he “Knew his stuff”. He was impressive, too. He was fervent in spirit, mighty in the scriptures, and was speaking and teaching accurately, but his message concerning Jesus was incomplete, because Luke tells us he was acquainted only with the Baptism of John. His knowledge of Jesus was incomplete and he was able to go no further than he knew and understood. The Baptism of John (the message John the Baptist preached – as in his preaching in the wilderness before the arrival of Jesus) was true, but it was not the whole truth. The whole truth only comes when Christ appears and moves through his ministry, death and resurrection.
Evidently the truths of John that Apollos was teaching included the following three great truths:
1 - Before God, forgiveness of sins is possible only on the basis of repentance. John stated the radical (to the Jews) position that there was no longer any need to bring a sacrifice or offering. John came with the startling word that what God really wanted was a repentant heart (and not a thousand rivers of blood). John had the people express their repentance in baptism, which was a symbolic act of cleansing. This also was something new. John came announcing that as people repented, changed their mind about their evil, called it what God called it, and forsook it, God forgave their sins. The symbol of that forgiveness was the washing of baptism.
2 - John insisted that repentance had to be real. He insisted that the believer actually produce fruit that befitted repentance. That is, the actions of the repented person had to demonstrate that they really meant what they said and would indeed turn from their evil.
3 – He announced that one was coming who would complete the work he had begun. Repentance is just a beginning with God. It is as far as human beings can go by ourselves, but it does not give us life. Repentance would achieve forgiveness of sins, but it would not give us any positive ground of action, any power by which to live. That is what John announced would be available when Jesus came. "There is coming one after me," he said, "who is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. I have baptized you with water, as a symbol of the forgiveness God gives. But he will go further; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. He will put life into you. He will give you power. He will pour into you that which it takes to live as God asks. That I can't do," (cf, Matt 3:11, Mark 1:7, Luke 3:16).
Apollos knew this much, but he knew nothing of the act of redemption that occurred on the cross or of the victory over death by resurrection, or of the ascension back to the father and he did not know of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. His message was incomplete.
26and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when
tells us that Apollus began to speak boldly in the
synagogue; but when Priscilla and
it was here in
is difficult to say who should be more admired,
27And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
gives no indication that Apollos began teaching the
gospel message in
reports that Apollos was a great help to those in
“and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
success Apollos had in
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul acknowledges the fact that he had planted, but Apollos had watered (1 Corinthians 3:6). Paul was grateful for the ministry of this mighty man of the Scriptures who could thus confirm and strengthen the word that he had planted there.
Copyright © 2010, by ToBeLikeHim Ministries