BIBLE: Acts Chapter 18 – Headline “Judgment Hot Seat”

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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Acts 18

These events occur in between January 51 AD and August 52 AD, two to three years after 49 AD when Claudius kicked the Jews out of Rome.
It is believed Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians during this time.

  • Paul travels from Athens to Corinth
  • Paul, a tent maker, met Aquila and Priscilla in Corinth who were also tent makers, who had been deported from Rome. (Aquila was born in Pontus).
  • Silas and Timothy from Macedonia joined Paul in Corinth
  • Paul, rejected by Jews in the synagogue moves in with Titius Justus, living next to the synagogue
  • Then, Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household
  • Many Corinthians believed
  • After one year and six months Paul is taken to Gallio’s judgment seat by the stirred up Jews.
  • Gallio, proconsul of Achaia, rejects becoming involved in Jewish affairs
  • Then Gentiles (Greek) beat Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, in front of the judgment seat.
  • After a few more days, Paul departs toward Syria, with Priscilla and Aquila
  • (On the way) Paul leaves Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus, where he entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
  • Alone, Paul travels from Ephesus to Caesarea (by Jerusalem)
  • Paul greets the church, then travels up to Antioch (by Tarsus)
  • Continues up the region to Galatia and Phrygia (next to Ephesus)
  • Paul reunites in Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla and meets Apollo

Ministering at Corinth

Acts 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.
Acts 18:And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them.
  • In 49 AD, all the Jews were expelled from Rome this time by the emperor Claudius. According to Suetonius, the Jews were expelled due to disturbances they caused in response to the rise of Christianity.
  • Aquila was born in Pontus:

Acts 18:So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tent makers.
Acts 18:And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 18:When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
Acts 18:But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Acts 18:And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named (Titius Justus) Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.
Acts 18:Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
Acts 18:Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;
Acts 18:10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”
Acts 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Acts 18:12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the (Gr. bema) judgment seat,
Acts 18:13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”
Acts 18:14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you.
Acts 18:15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.
Acts 18:16 And he drove them from the judgment seat.
  • The reference to proconsul Gallio in the inscription at the Temple of Apollo, where the Delphi Inscription was discovered in the 20th century, provides an important marker for developing a chronology of the life of Apostle Paul by relating it to the trial of Paul in Achaea.
Temple of Apollo Ruins
Delphi museum – Fragment with the name ΓΑΛΛίΩΝ (proconsul Gallio)
  • A fairly precise date for Acts 18:1-18 is derived from the mention of the proconsul Gallio and the existence of an inscription found at Delphi and published in 1905,[5] preserving a letter from Claudius concerning Gallio dated during the 26th acclamation of Claudius, sometime between January 51 AD and August 52 AD.
  • The beginning of the reconstructed inscription:
    Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, invested with tribunician power for the 12th time, acclaimed Imperator for the 26th time, Father of the Fatherland… . For a long time have I been not only well-disposed towards the city of Delphi, but also solicitous for its prosperity, and I have always guarded the cult of the Pythian Apollo. But now since it is said to be destitute of citizens, as L. Junius Gallio, my friend and proconsul, recently reported to me, and being desirous that Delphi should retain intact its former rank, I order you (pl.) to invite well-born people also from other cities to Delphi as new inhabitants….
Acts 18:17 Then (they all) all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.
  • Sosthenes (“safe in strength”) was the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, who, according to the Acts of the Apostles, was seized and beaten by the mob in the presence of Gallio , the Roman governor, when he refused to proceed against Paul at the instigation of the Jews (Acts 18:12-17). The motives of this assault against Sosthenes are not recorded.

Paul Returns to Antioch

Acts 18:18 So Paul still remained (Lit. many days) a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow.
  • Syria is north of Jerusalem
  • Paul’s vow probably was in connection to reasoning with the Jews at the coming feast in Jerusalem.
Acts 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
Acts 18:20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent,
Acts 18:21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
  • It seems to have been a desire to appease those Jews who thought such things were very important. This was not out of fear but to give him an opportunity to reason with his Jewish people about their Messiah. Paul wrote:
    • 1 Corinthians 9:22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
    • Colossians 2:16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
Acts 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.
Acts 18:23 After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order (successively), (next to Ephesus where Aquila and Priscilla were left) strengthening all the disciples.

Ministry of Apollos

Acts 18:24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.
  • Apollos, born at Alexandria, on the delta of the Nile River in Egypt.
Acts 18:25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.
Acts 18:26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Acts 18:27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace;
  • Apollos traveled from Ephesus to Achaia. Paul, Aquila and Priscilla stayed in Ephesus.
Acts 18:28 for he (Apollos) vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

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