Acts 18
Pulpit Commentary
After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
Verse 1. - He for Paul, A.V. and T.R. After these things, etc. No hint is given by St. Luke as to the length of Paul's sojourn at Athens. But as the double journey of the Beroeans, who accompanied him to Athens, back to Beraea, and of Timothy from Beraea to Athens, amounted to above five hundred miles (Lewin, p. 268), we cannot suppose it to have been less than a month; and it may have been a good deal more. His reasonings in the synagogue with the Jews and devout Greeks, apparently on successive sabbaths, his daily disputations in the Agora, apparently not begun till after he had "waited" some time for Silas and Timothy, the knowledge he had acquired of the numerous temples and altars at Athens, and the phrase with which this chapter begins, all indicate a stay of some length. Came to Corinth. If by land, a forty miles' or two days' journey, through Eleusis and Megara; if by sea, a day's sail. Lewin thinks he came by sea, and that it was in winter, and that possibly one of the shipwrecks mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:25 may have occurred at this time. Corinth, at this time a Roman colony, the capital of the province of Achaia, and the residence of the proconsul. It was a great commercial city, the center of the trade of the Levant, and consequently a great resort of the Jews. It had a very large Greek population. Ancient Corinth had been destroyed by Mummins, surnamed Achaicus, R.C. 146, and remained waste (ἐρήμη) many years. Julius Caesar founded a Roman colony on the old site (Howson), "consisting principally of freedmen, among whom were great numbers of the Jewish race." Corinth, as a Roman colony, had its duumviri, as appears by coins of the reign of Claudius (Lewin, p. 270.
And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
Verse 2. - He found for found, A.V.; a man of Pontus by race for born in Pontus, A.V.; because for because that, A.V.; the Jews for ,[ewe, A.V.: he came for came, A.V. Aquila. A Roman name, Graecized into Ἀκύλας. Knights and tribunes and others of the name occur in Roman history. Whether the Jewish family residing in Pontus took the name of Aquila from any of these Romans is not known. Aquila, the translator of the Old Testament into Greek about A.D. , was also a Jew of Pontus, the old kingdom of Mithridates. That there was a considerable colony of Jews in Pontus appears also from 1 Peter 1:1 and Acts 2:9. Priscilla. Also called Prison (2 Timothy 4:19). So in classical authors, Livia and Livilla, Drusa and Drusilla, are used of the same persons (Howson, p. 415). Prisca is a not uncommon name for Roman women. The masculine Priscus occurs very frequently. Aquila and Priscilla were among the most active Christians, and the most devoted friends of St. Paul (vers. 18, 26; Romans 16:3, 4, 5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19); and were evidently persons of culture as well as piety. Lately; προσφάτως (i.q. πρόσφατον, Pindar, etc.), only found here in the New Testament. But it occurs in the LXX. of Deuteronomy 24:5 and Ezekiel 11:3, and in the apocryphal books repeatedly, and in Polybius. The adjective πρόσφατος, which is also used by the LXX. and the Apocrypha and in classical Greek for "new," is used only once in the New Testament, in Hebrews 10:20. It means properly "newly killed," hence anything "recent," "fresh, or "new." Both the adjective and the adverb are very common in medical writings. Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome. Suetonius mentions the fact, but unfortunately does not say in what year of Claudius's reign it took place. His account is that, in consequence of frequent disturbances and riots among the Jews at the instigation of Chrestus, Claudius drove them from Rome. It seems almost certain, as Renan says, especially combining Tacitus's account ('Annal.,' 15:44) of the spread of Christianity in the city of Rome before the time of Nero, that Chrestus (Greek Ξρηστός,) is only a corruption of the name Christ, similar to that found on three or four inscriptions before the time of Constantine, where Christians are called Ξρηστιανοί, and to the formation of the French word Chretien - in old French Chrestien; and that the true account of these riots is that they were attacks of the unbelieving Jews upon Christian Jews, similar to these at Jerusalem (Acts 8.), at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:50), at Iconium and Lystra (Acts 14.), and at Thessalonica and Beraea (Acts 17.). The Romans did not discriminate between Jews and Christian Jews, and thought that those who called Christ their King were fighting under his leadership (comp. Acts 17:7; Luke 23:2; see Renan, 'St. Paul,' p. 101). Tertullian and Lactantius (quoted by Lewin, p. 274) both speak of the vulgar pronunciation, Chres-tianus and Chrestus. Howson also adopts the above explanation. But Meyer thinks that Chrestus was, as Suetonius says, a Jewish leader of insurrection at Rome. The question bears on the passage before us chiefly as the solution does or does not prove the existence of Christians at Rome at this time, and affects the probability of Aquila and Priscilla being already Christians when they came to Corinth, before they made St. Paul's acquaintance.
And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
Verse 3. - Trade for craft, A.V.; they wrought for (he) wrought, A.V. and T.R.; trade for occupation, A.V. (τέχνῃ). Of the same trade; ὁμότεχνον. This word occurs here only in the New Testament, but is of frequent use in Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Galen (Hobart, as before). Tent-makers; σκηνοποιοί, which is paraphrased by σκηοῥῤάφοι, tent-stitchers or tailors, by Chrysostom and Theodoret. Hug and others erroneously interpret it "makers of tent-cloth," from the fact that a certain kind of cloth made of goats' hair, called κιλίκιον, was manufactured in Paul's native country of Cilicia. But the fact of such manufacture would equally lead persons who were living in Cilicia to exercise the trade of making tents of the cloth so manufactured. St. Paul alludes to his manual labor in Acts 20:33-35; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8, 9.
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
Verse 4. - Jews and Greeks for the Jews and the Greeks, A.V. Observe again the influence of the synagogue upon the Greek population. Reasoned (see Acts 17:2, 17, note).
And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Verse 5. - But for and, A.V.; Timothy for Timotheus, A.V.; came down for were come down, A.V.; constrained by the Word for pressed in spirit, A.V. and T.R.; testifying for and testified, A.V.; the Christ for Christ, A.V. When Silas and Timothy, etc. It is probable that Silas had returned by St. Paul's directions to Beraea, and Timothy to Thessalonica from Athens. If there were extant a letter of Paul to the Beraeans, it would probably mention his sending back Silas to them, just as the Epistle to the Thessalonians mentions his sending Timothy to them. Now they both come to Corinth from Macedonia, which includes Beraea and Thessalonica. If they came by sea, they would probably sail together from Dium to Cenchreae (see Acts 17:14, note). Was constrained by the Word. As an English phrase, this is almost destitute of meaning. If the R.T. is right, and it has very strong manuscript authority, the words συνείχετο τῷ λόγῳ mean that he was seized, taken possession of, and as it were bound by the necessity of preaching the Word, constrained as it were to preach more earnestly than ever. In St. Luke συνέχεσθαι is a medical term: in Luke 4:28, R.T., "Holden with a great fever;" Luke 8:37, "Holden with a great fear;" Acts 28:8, "Sick of fever and dysentery;" and so frequently in medical writers ('Medical Language of St. Luke,' Hobart). But it is worth considering whether συνείχετο is not in the middle voice, with the sense belonging to συνεχής, i.e. "continuous," "unbroken," and so that the phrase means that, after the arrival of Silas and Timothy, St. Paul gave himself up to continuous preaching. St. Luke has not infrequently a use of words peculiar to himself. The Vulgate rendering, instabat verbo, seems so to understand it. It was probably soon after the arrival of Silas and Timothy that St. Paul wrote his First Epistle to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 2, 6). The Second Epistle followed some time before St. Paul left Corinth. If the T.R., τῷ πνεύματι, is right, it must be construed, "constrained by the Spirit," in accordance with Greek usage. Testifying, etc. Note how different St. Paul's preaching in the synagogue was from his preaching in the Areopagus.
And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
Verse 6. - Shook out for shook, A.V. For this action of shaking his raiment, comp. Acts 13:51. It was in accordance with our Lord's direction in Matthew 10:14, where the same word (ἐκτινάσσειν) is used. It is "much employed in medical language" (Hobart, ' Medical Language of St. Luke,' p. 240). The idea seems to be having nothing henceforth in common with them. Your blood, etc. (see Ezekiel 33:4-9). St. Paul's keen sense of the perverseness of the Jews breaks out in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians (it. 14-16), written about this time. See hole to ver. 5.
And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
Verse 7. - Went for entered, A.V.; the house of a certain man for a certain man's house, A.V.; Titus Justus for Justus, A.V. and T.R. Thence. Clearly from the synagogue, where he had been preaching to the Jews, not from Aquila's house, as Alford and others. It does not appear to be a question here of where Paul lodged, but where he preached. Justus had probably a large room, which he gave Paul the use of for his sabbath and other meetings. As Howson truly says, he continued to "lodge" (μένειν) with Aquila and Priscilla. It is only said that he "came" (ῆλθεν) to the house of Justus from the synagogue. So Renan, "Il enseigna desor-mais dans la maison de Titius Justus" (p. 216). One that worshipped God (σεβομένον τὸν Θεόν); i.e. a Greek proselyte of the gate (see Acts 13:43, 50; Acts 16:14; Acts 17:4, 17, etc.) Cornelius is called εὐσεβὴς καὶ φοβούμενος τὸν Θεόν. Whose house, etc. Either his proximity to the synagogue had led to his attending there, or, being already a proselyte, he had taken a house hard by for the convenience of attending. Joined hard; ῆν συνομοροῦσα, found only here either in the New Testament or elsewhere. Ὁμορέω occurs in Plutarch; συνόμορος is also a word (Steph., 'Thesaur.').
And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
Verse 8. - Ruler for chief ruler, A.V. (ἀρχισυνάγωγος, as in Acts 13:15); in for on, A.V. Crispus (a common Roman name) was one of the very few whom St. Paul himself baptized, probably on account of his important position as ruler of the synagogue, as we learn from 1 Corinthians 1:14. With all his house (comp. Acts 16:33, 34). Many of the Corinthians; i.e. of the Greeks and Romans, who composed the population of the city. It is seldom that we have the names of so many converts preserved as we have of this Achaian mission. Besides Crispus and Gaius, we know of Epaenetus and Stephanas, who would seem to have been converted together (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15); and probably also Fortunatus and Achaicus (1 Corinthians 16:17). Gains, from his name (Caius) and his salutation to the Church at Rome, was probably a Roman. Fortunatus and Achaicus also be-belonged, perhaps, to the Roman colony. Here too were many heathen converts (1 Corinthians 12:2), though mostly of the lower rank (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
Verse 9. - And the Lord said unto for then spake the Lord to, A.V. A vision (ὅραμα); literally, a thing seen, but always used of a wonderful "sight:" Matthew 17:9 of the Transfiguration, Acts 7:31 of the burning bush. But more commonly of a "vision," as in Acts 9:10, 12; Acts 10:3, 17, 19; Acts 11:5; Acts 12:9; Acts 16:9. So in the LXX. (Genesis 46:2, etc.). St. Paul received a similar gracious token of the Lord's watchful care of him soon after his conversion (Acts 22:17-21). He tells us that then he was in an "ecstasy," or trance. The ἔκστασις describes the mental condition of the person who sees an ὅραμαα.
For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
Verse 10. - Harm for hurt, A.V. I have much people, etc. We may infer from this intimation from him who "knoweth them that are his," which led to St. Paul staying on at Corinth upwards of a year and six months (ver. 11), that the shortness of his stay at Athens was because the Lord had not much people there. For the encouraging promise of protection in the midst of danger given to St. Paul by Christ in this vision, comp. Jeremiah 1:17-19.
And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Verse 11. - Dwelt for continued, A.V. Dwelt; literally, sat down, as Acts 13:14, etc., and hence to "remain quietly" (Luke 24:49). A year and six months. It is not clear whether these eighteen months are to be measured to the end of St. Paul's stay at Corinth, or only to the rising up of the Jews related in vers. 12-17. Renan is doubtful. Howson does not go into the question. But Lewin rightly measures the eighteen months down to Gallio's arrival. And so does Meyer, who also notices the force of ἐκάθισε, as indicating a quiet, undisturbed abode, and calls special attention to the ἔτι of ver. 18, as showing that the "many days" there mentioned were additional to the year and a half of ver. 11. The only longer residence we know of was that of three years at Ephesus (Acts 20:31).
And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,
Verse 12. - But for and, A.V.; proconsul for the deputy, A.V.; with one accord rose up for made insurrection with one accord, A.V.; before for to, A.V. Gallio. Marcus Annaeus Novatus took the name of Lucius Junius Annaeus Gallio, on account of his adoption by L. Junius Gallio. He was the elder brother of Seneca, and a man of ability, and of a most amiable temper and disposition. His brother Seneca said that he had not a fault, and that everybody loved him. He was called "Dulcis Gallio" by Statius. It is unfortunately not known exactly in what year Gallio became either Consul or Proconsul of Achaia. Had it been known, it would have been invaluable for fixing the chronology of St. Paul's life. Lewin puts it (his proconsulate) in the year A.D. , and so does Renan; Howson, between A.D. and A.D. . The circumstantial evidence from secular writers corroborating St. Luke's account is exceedingly curious. There is no account extant either of his consulate or of his proconsulate of Achaia. But Pithy, speaking of the medicinal effect of a sea-voyage on persons in consumption, gives as an example, "as I remember was the case with Annaeus Gallio after his consulate," and seems to imply that he went to Egypt for the sake of the long sea-voyage; which would suit very well his going there from his government in Achaia (Pliny, 'Nat. Hist.,' 31. cap. 6:33). And that his proconsulate was in Achaia is corroborated by a chance quotation in Seneca's Epistle 104, of a saying of "my lord Gallio, when ha had a fever in Achaia and immediately went on board ship," where the phrase "domini met," applied to his own brother, seems also to indicate his high rank. Profane history also shuts up the probable date of Gallio's proconsulate between the year A.D. and the year A.D. or 66, in which he died. There is a diversity of accounts as to his death. Ernesti, in his note on Tacitus, 'Auual.,' 15. 73, where Tacitus speaks of him as frightened at the death of his brother Seneca, and a suppliant for his own life, says, "quem Nero post interfecit," and refers to Dion Cassius, 58,18, and Eusebius. But Dion is there speaking of Junius Gallio in the reign of Tiberius, not of our Gallio at all; though afterwards, speaking of the death of Seneca, he says, "and his brothers also were killed after him "(62, 25). As for Eusebius, the passage quoted is not found in the Greek or Armenian copies of the 'Chronicon,' but only in the Latin of Jerome. But, as Scaliger points out, there is a manifest blunder here, because the 'Chronicon ' places the death of Gallio two years before that of Seneca, whereas we know from Tacitus that Gallio was alive after his brother's death. Moreover, the description "egregius declamator" clearly applies to Junius Gallio the rhetorician, and not to Gallio his adopted son. Though, therefore, Renan says, "Comme son frere il eut l'honneur sous Neron d'expier par, la mort sa distinction et son honnetete" ('St. Paul,' p. 222), if we give duo weight to the silence of Tacitus, it is very doubtful whether he died a violent death at all. St. Luke, as usual, is most accurate in calling him proconsul. Achaia had been recently made a senatorial province by Claudius. For ἀνθύπατος, see Acts 13:7, 8, 12; Acts 19:38. The verb occurs only here in the New Testament. The term deputy was adopted in the A.V. doubtless from that being the title of the Viceroy of Ireland, and other officers who exercise a deputed authority, just as the proconsul was in the place of the consul. Rose up against; κατεπέστησαν, one of Luke's peculiar words, found neither in the New Testament nor in the LXX., nor in classical writers (Steph., 'Thesaur.'). The judgment seat (see note to ver. 12).
Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.
Verse 13. - Man for fellow, A.V. The A.V. was intended to express the contemptuous feeling often implied in οϋτος (Luke 23:2; Matthew 12:24; Acts 5:28, etc.). Contrary to the Law; meaning, as it naturally would in the mouth of a Jew, the Law of Moses. Hence Gallio's answer in ver. 15, "If it be a question... of your Law, look ye to it." The very phrase, to "worship God," had a technical sense (see above, ver. 7). Paul, they said, professed to make proselytes, and encouraged them to break the Law.
And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:
Verse 14. - But for and, A.V.; about for now about, A.V.; if indeed for if, A.V.; of wicked villainy for wicked lewdness, A.V. The Greek ῤᾳδιούργημα occurs only here in the New Testament or elsewhere; ῤᾳδιουργία, which is not uncommon in Greek writers, occurs in Acts 13:10.
But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.
Verse 15. - They are questions about for it be a question of, A.V. and T.R.; your own for of your, A.V., an unnecessary change; look to it yourselves for look ye to it, A.V.; I am not minded to be a for for I will be no, A.V. and T.R.; these for such, A.V.
And he drave them from the judgment seat.
Verse 16. - And he drave them; ἀπήλασεν, found only here in the New Testament or LXX. But it is used by Demosthenes and Plutarch in exactly the same connection: ἀπὸ τοῦ συνεδρίου ἀπὸ τοῦ βήματος (Demosthenes, 1373,12; Plutarch, ' Marcell.,' p. 410, in Schleusner). It implies the ignominious dismissal of the case, without its being even tried. The judgment seat (βῆμα); the proconsular place of judgment. The βῆμα (here and ver. 12) was properly the "raised space," or "tribune," on which, in the case of a consul, proconsul, or praetor, the sella curulis was placed on which he sat and gave judgment. It was usually a kind of apse to the basilica. In Matthew 27:19; John 19:13, and, indeed, here and elsewhere, it seems to be used, generally, for the judgment-seat itself (see Acts 25:10).
Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.
Verse 17. - And they all laid hold on for then all the Greeks took, A.V. and T.R.; ruler for chief ruler, A.V., as ver. 8. The R.T. has far more manuscript support than either the T.R. or another reading, which has "Jews" instead of "Greeks." All means all the crowd of bystanders and lookers-on, mostly, no doubt, Greeks. The Jews, always unpopular, would be sure to have the Corinthian rabble against them as soon as the proconsul drove them from the judgment seat. Sosthenes. There is no probability whatever that he is the same person as the Sosthenes of 1 Corinthians 1:1. The name was very common. He appears to have succeeded Crispus as ruler of the synagogue, and would be likely, therefore, to be especially hostile to Paul.
And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
Verse 18. - Having tarried after this yet many days for after this tarried there yet a good while, and then, A.V.; for for into, A.V.; Cenchreae for Cenchrea, A.V. Took his leave; ἀποταξάμενος, here and again in ver. 21. This is a somewhat peculiar use of the word, which occurs also in Luke 9:61 and 2 Corinthians 2:13 (see too Mark 6:46). It is used in the same sense in Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 11. 8:6). In a metaphorical sense it means" to renounce," "to bid adieu to" (Luke 14:23). Of the six times it occurs in the New Testament, four are in St. Luke's writings and one in St. Paul's. With him Priscilla and Aquila, having shorn his head in Cenchreae, etc. There is great diversity of opinion as to whether it was St. Paul or Aquila who had the vow. Meyer thinks that the mention of Priscilla before Aquila, contrary to the order in ver. 2 and in ver. 26 (where, however, the R.T. reads "Priscilla and Aquila), is a clear indication that Luke meant the words κειράμενος κ.τ.λ., to refer to Aquila, not to St. Paul, and Howson takes the same view. But this is a very weak argument, refuted at once by Romans 16:3 and 2 Timothy 4:19, as well as by the whole run of the passage, in which Paul is throughout the person spoken of; or, as Alford puts it, in the consecutive narrative from ver. 18 to ver. 25, there are nine aorist participles, of which eight apply to Paul, as the subject of the section, making it scarcely doubtful that the ninth applies to him likewise. Moreover, there is no conceivable reason why the vow should be mentioned if it was taken by Aquila, and, what is still more conclusive, the person who went to Jerusalem, i.e. Paul, must be the one who had the vow, not the person who stayed behind, i.e. Aquila. In fact, nobody would ever have thought of making Aquila the subject if it were not for the thought that there is an incongruity with Paul's character in his making a vow of that kind. But we must take what we find in Scripture, and not force it to speak our own thoughts. As regards the nature of the vow, it is not quite clear what it was. It was not the simple Nazaritic vow described in Numbers 6:18-21; nor is the word here used by St. Luke (κειράμενος) the one which is there and elsewhere employed by the LXX., and by St. Luke himself in Acts 21:24, of that final shaving of the hair of the Nazarite for the purpose of offering it at the door of the tabernacle (ξυράω). It seems rather to have been of the nature of that vow which Josephus speaks of as customary for persons in any affliction, viz. to make a vow that, for thirty days previous to that on which they intend to offer sacrifice, they will abstain from wine and will shave off (ξυρήσασθαι) their hair, adding that Bernice was now at Jerusalem in order to perform such a vow ('Bell. Jud.,' it. 15:1). But it further appears, from certain passages in the Mishna, that, if any one had a Nazarite vow upon him outside the limits of the Holy Land, he could not fulfill such vow till he was come to the Holy Laud, to Jerusalem; but it was allowable in such case to cut his hair short (κείρεσθαι τὴν κεφαλήν), and as some say to take it with him to Jerusalem, and there offer it at the same time that he offered his sacrifice and shaved his head (ξυρήσασθαι). It would seem, therefore, that either in a severe illness or under some great danger (ἀνάγκη) St. Paul had made such a vow; that he had been unwilling to cut his hair short at Corinth, where he was thrown so much into the society of Greeks, and therefore did so at Cenchreae just before he embarked for Syria; and that he made all haste to reach Jerusalem in time for the Passover, that he might there accomplish his vow (see Bishop Wordsworth's note on Acts 18:18; and Farrar's ' Life of St. Paul,' 2. p. 2). His motives for the vow may have been partly those described on another occasion (Acts 21:24), and partly his own Jewish feelings of piety showing themselves in the accustomed way. Cenchreae. The eastern port of Corinth; a considerable place. There was a Church there, doubtless founded by St. Paul during his stay at Corinth (Romans 16:1).
And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.
Verse 19. - They came for he came, A.V. and T.R.; he left for left, A.V. They came to Ephesus. "No voyage across the AEgean was more frequently made than that between Corinth and Ephesus. They were the capitals of the two flourishing and peaceful provinces of Achaia and Asia, and the two great mercantile towns on opposite sides of the sea" (Howson, vol. 1:454). The voyage would take from ten to fifteen days. Reasoned; διελέχθη, as in Acts 17:2, 17; ver. 4, 19:8,9; 20:7, 9; 24:25. As regards the expression, left them there, it probably arises from some actual detail which made it the natural one to use. If, for example, the synagogue was just outside the city, and Paul, parting with Aquila and Priscilla in the city, had gone off immediately to the synagogue, the phrase used would be the natural one; or the words, "he left them there," may be spoken with reference to the main narrative, which is momentarily interrupted by the mention of St. Paul's visit to the synagogue. Note the extreme importance of this brief visit to Ephesus, where the foundation of a vigorous and flourishing Church seems to have been laid. He who knows "the times and the seasons" sent St. Paul there now, though two years before he had forbidden him to go to Asia.
When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not;
Verse 20. - And when they asked for when they desired, A.V.; abide a for tarry, A.V.; time for time with them, A.V. He consented not; οὐκ ἐπένευσεν, only here in the New Testament, but found in Proverbs 26:20; 2 Macc. 4:10, etc., and frequently in medical writers; literally, to bend the head forward by the proper muscles (Hobart).
But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.
Verse 21. - Taking his leave of them, and saying for bade them farewell, saying, A.V.; I will return for I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem; but I will return, A.V. and T.R.; he set sail for and he sailed, A.V. and T.R. Taking his leave; as in ver. 18, note. I must by all means, etc. This clause is not found in א, A, B, E, and several versions, and is omitted in the R.T. But Alford, Meyer, Wordsworth, and others consider it to be genuine. It is certainly difficult to account for such words being inserted in the text if they were not genuine; whereas it is easy to account for their omission, either by accident or from the fact that the brevity of the allusion to his visit to Jerusalem in ver. 22 might easily mislead a copyist into thinking that St. Paul did not go to Jerusalem at this time, and therefore that the words were misplaced. Observe how St. Paul's fixed purpose to reach Jerusalem as soon as possible tallies with the account of his vow. This feast (A.V.). It is not clear what feast is meant. Alford, Wordsworth, ' Speaker's Commentary,' and others, following Wieseler, think it was the Feast of Pentecost, being influenced by the consideration that sailing was dangerous and very unusual so early as before the Passover. But Meyer thinks it uncertain. But the expression, "I must by all means," would cover the risk of a voyage in the stormy season. I will return again. The fulfillment of this promise is related in Acts 19:1, etc. If God will (see James 4:13-15).
And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.
Verse 22. - He went up for and gone up, A. g.; and went for he went, A.V. When he had landed at Caesarea; i.e. Caesarea Stratonis, or Sebaste, or Παραλιός, as it was variously called, to distinguish it from Caesarea Philippi (see Acts 8:40; Acts 9:30; Acts 10:1, etc., and frequently elsewhere in the Acts). "Caesarea, whither probably the vessel was bound, was the military capital of the Roman province of Judea, of which Felix was at this time procurator. It was also the harbor by which all travelers from the West approached it, and from whence roads led to Egypt on the south, to Tyre and Sidon and Antioch on the north, and eastward to Nablous and Jerusalem and the Jordan" (Howson, 1:455). He went up and saluted the Church; meaning, without any doubt, he went up to Jerusalem, as both the word ἀναβὰς, and the object of his-going up, "to salute the Church," conclusively show. For ἀναβαίνω, whether coupled with εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα as in Matthew 20:17, 18, or standing alone as in John 7:8, 10, and John 12:20, is the regular word for going up to Jerusalem (see Acts 11:2; Acts 15:2; Acts 21:12, 15; Acts 24:11; Acts 25:1, 9); and ἡ ἐκκλησία, the Church, which Paul went to salute, can mean nothing but the mother Church of Jerusalem. No doubt he was received officially by the apostles, represented by James and the elders and the Church, as in Acts 15:4; and gave a formal account of the result of his second missionary journey, and of the great event of the introduction of the gospel into Macedonia and Achaia. It is a remarkable example of St. Luke's great brevity at times that this is the only notice of his arrival at Jerusalem, where his vow was to be fulfilled. Went down to Antioch; from whence he had started with Silas, after his separation from Barnabas, some three years before, "being recommended by the brethren to the grace of God" (Acts 16:40; comp. Acts 14:26, 27; Acts 15:30).
And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
Verse 23. - Having for after he had, A.V.; through the region for over all the country, A.V.; stablishing for strengthening, A.V. Having spent some time there (Acts 15:33, note). How long we have no means of knowing; probably under six months; "quelques mois" (Renan, pp. 329,330 ); "four months" (Lewin, 1:370, note; camp. 1 Car. 16:6, 7; Acts 19:22). According to Renan, Lewin, 'Speaker's Commentary,' and many others, it was at this time that the meeting with St. Peter occurred to which St. Paul refers in Galatians 2:11, etc. And Renan ingeniously connects that perversion of the faith of the Galatians which led to St. Paul's Epistle being addressed to them, with the visit to Antioch of James's emissaries, Lewin also identifies the journey of St Paul to Jerusalem mentioned in Galatians 2:1 with that recorded in our ver. 22. But neither of these theories is borne out by any known facts, nor is in itself probable. There is no appearance of Barnabas or Titus being with St. Paul at this time, and it is very unlikely that any should have come from James to Antioch so immediately after St. Paul's salutation of the Church at Jerusalem and the fulfillment of his vow there. The time preceding the visit of Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, as related in Acts 15, is far the most likely for the encounter of the two apostles (see Acts 14:28; Acts 15:1, and note). Went through; διερχόμενος, as in Acts 8:4, 40; Acts 10:38; Acts 13:6; Acts 16:6; Acts 17:23, etc. The region of Galatia and Phrygia. In Acts 16:6 the order is inverted, "the region of Phrygia and Galatia," R.V., or "Phrygia and the region of Galatia," A.V. The natural inference from this is, as Lewin says, with whom Farrar agrees, that on this occasion St. Paul went straight from Antioch to Galatia, passing through the Cilician Gates and by Mazaca, or Caesarea, as it was called by Tiberius Caesar, in Cappadocia, and not visiting the Churches of Lycaonia. He proceeded from Galatia through Phrygia to Ephesus. The distance from Antioch to Tarsus was one hundred and forty-one miles, from whence to Tavium in Galatia was two hundred and seventy-one miles, making the whole distance from Antioch to Tavium in Galatia four hundred and twelve miles, or about a three weeks' journey including rest on the sabbath days. From Galatia to Ephesus would be between six hundred and seven hundred miles. The entire journey would thus be considerably more than a thousand miles, a journey of forty days exclusive of all stoppages. Six months probably must have elapsed between his departure from Antioch and his arrival at Ephesus; Lewin says "several months" (p. 330, note). In order; in the same order, though inverted, in which he had first visited them, leaving out none. Stablishing, etc. (ἐπιστηρίζων); see above, Acts 14:22; Acts 15:32, 41.
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
Verse 24. - Now for and, A.V.; an Alexandrian by race for born at Alexandria, A.V.; learned for eloquent, A.V. (λόγιος); came to Ephesus; and he was mighty, etc., for and mighty in the Scriptures, came, etc., A.V. From ver. 24 to ver. 28 is a distinct episode, and an important one, as containing the first mention of a very remarkable man, Apollos (a short form of Apollonius, like Epaphras for Epaphroditus) of Alexandria, a city destined to play a conspicuous part in Church history, as the traditional Church and see of St. Mark, the school of the Neoplatonists, the scene of the labors of Origen, Clement, and many other men of note, and the birthplace of the Gnostic leaders Cerinthus, Basilides, and Valentinus. The notices of Apollos in the New Testament are Acts 19:1; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 3:4, 5, 6, 22; 1 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Corinthians 16:12; Titus 3:13; and all show St. Paul's high esteem for him. It was no more his fault than St. Peter's and St. Paul's that the factious Corinthians elevated him, or rather degraded him, into the leader of a party, Eloquent seems to be a better translation of λόγιος here than learned. The Greek word, which only occurs here in the New Testament, has both meanings.
This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
Verses 25, 26. - Had been for was, A.V.; spirit for the spirit, A.V.; carefully for diligently, A.V.; things concerning Jesus for things of the Lord, A.V. and T.R.; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him for whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, A.V. and T.R.; carefully for perfectly, A.V. Knowing only the baptism of John. It is difficult at first sight to conceive how at this time any one could know the baptism of John without knowing further that of Christ. But a possible account of it is that Apollos living at Alexandria, where as yet there was no Christian Church. had met some Jews who had been in Judaea at the time of John's ministry, and had heard from them of John's baptism and preaching, and of his testimony to Jesus as the Messiah, but had had no further opportunity of careful instruction in the faith of Jesus Christ till he happened to come to Ephesus and make the acquaintance of his compatriots, Aquila and Priscilla. They hearing him speak with fervor and eloquence, but perceiving that his knowledge was imperfect, immediately invited him to their house, and instructed him in the fullness of the truth of the gospel. This necessarily included the doctrine of Christian baptism, which we cannot doubt was administered to him (John 1:33; Acts 1:5; Acts 2:38).
And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
Verse 27. - Minded for disposed, A.V.; pass over for pass, A.V.; encouraged him, and wrote to for wrote exhorting, A.V.; and... he helped for who... helped, A.V. To pass over into Achaia. Nothing can be more natural than the course of events here described. In his intimate intercourse with Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos had necessarily heard much of the great work at Corinth, and the flourishing Church there; and so he longed to see for himself and to exercise his powers in watering what St. Paul had so well planted (1 Corinthians 3:6). Priscilla and Aquila having heard his eloquent sermons at Ephesus, and being interested in the Corinthian Church, seem to have encouraged him, and to have joined with the other disciples at Ephesus in giving him commendatory letters to the Church of Corinth. Encouraged him; προτρεψάμενοι, a word found nowhere else in the New Testament, but used in classical Greek and in the Apocrypha, in the sense of "exhorting," "urging." Προτρεπτικοὶ λόγοι are hortatory words. In medical writers a "stimulant" is προτρεπτικόν. There is a difference of opinion among commentators whether the exhortation was addressed to Apollos, as the R.V. takes it, or to the brethren at Corinth, as the A.V. understands it. It seems rather more consonant to the structure of the sentence and to the probability of the case that the exhortation was addressed to the Corinthian Church, and not to Apollos, who needed no such encouragement, Προτρεψάμενοι ἔγραψαν is equivalent to "wrote and exhorted."
For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
Verse 28. - Powerfully confuted for mightily convinced, A.V.; the Christ for Christ, A.V. Powerfully confuted; διακατηλέγχετο, one of St. Luke's peculiar compounds, found nowhere else; εὐτόνως here and Luke 23:10 (vehemently), but nowhere else in the New Testament. The adjective εὔτονος, meaning "nervous," "vehement," and the adverb εὐτόνως, meaning "vigorously," "with force," are very frequent in medical writers; εὐτόνως is also found in the LXX. of Joshua 6:7, Σημαινέτωσαν εὐτόνως, "Let them blow a loud blast." Showing by the Scriptures, etc. The same line of preaching as St. Peter and St. Paul always adopted when address-lug Jews (see Acts 2; Acts 13; Acts 17:3; Acts 18:5, etc.). It is remarkable that the success of Apollos at Corinth seems to have been chiefly among the Jews, who had opposed themselves so vehemently to St. Paul (ver. 6). It is one of the many proofs of the singleness of eye and simplicity of purpose of the great apostle, that the success of this novice where he himself had failed did not excite the least jealousy (1 Corinthians 16:12). St. Luke, too, Paul's friend and biographer, here speaks of the powers and work of Apollos with no stinted measure of praise.

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