Acts 18:1-22 Paul Completes His Second Missionary Journey
In this study we finish up Paul's second missionary journey. In line with our new format, the study will include questions, however, there are only three questions with this study. Feel free to address any part of the study.
In some portions I will give a brief synopsis on the Scriptures under consideration, without giving the Scriptures themselves. It would help to follow in your Bible.
This is Acts034 - Acts 18:1-22 Paul Completes His Second Missionary Journey.
Acts 18:1-4: "After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks."
... Paul arrives in 'sin city' of the east. The term 'Corinthianize' was commonly used for the depths of immorality. Corinth was referred to as 'corai entha,' or, 'here are girls (whores).' The temple of Aphrodite (Venus) had 1000 temple prostitutes. This would be one of Paul's greatest challenges. Knowing something about Corinth will help put a backdrop on Paul's two letters to the Corinthian churches.
Note: It would be good to review the study HF011 - The Corinthian Dilemma. Go to: http://www.christianchallenge.org/hebraic-foundations/HF011.html
... It is here that Paul meets Aquila and Priscilla. The Jews had been expelled from Rome, and the expulsion appears to have been the result of an in-house struggle between Christian Jews and non- Christian Jews. The Historian, Seutonius says that Claudius, "expelled the Jews from Rome, who were continually making tumults, being moved thereunto by one Chrestus." (Chrestus is thought to refer to Christ.)
Q1: Who started the Church in Rome?
Whether Aquila and Priscilla were already Christians is not known, but it is known that they became true disciples and were strong leaders in the early church. A church was established in their home. Like Paul, they were tent makers.
Paul does what is his custom, and reasons in the synagogues that Jesus is Messiah, and that there is no salvation aside from Him. And of course the pattern continues, as we will see.
Vss5-11: Synopsis - Silas and Timothy arrive and this frees Paul up to devote himself more completely to the ministry of the word. The resistance begins with certain of the Jews blaspheming the Lord. Paul shakes out his garment against them, and says, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles."
... This did not mean that Paul would stop speaking in the synagogues. It meant that the synagogue of Corinth had had plenty of opportunity to respond to God's message. It was time to turn to the Gentiles. Shaking the garment demonstrated that God was shaking the unbelieving Jews out of any covenant relationship with Him. It was also a way of saying that the rejecting Jews were now responsible for their own judgment from God.
Q2: Is there anything in the Scriptures where Paul may be drawing from when he shakes out his garment?
... Paul goes to the house of man named Titius Justus, which is right next door to the synagogue. Titius was a worshiper of God. He can be compared to Cornelius. It is interesting to note that the leader of the synagogue, Crispus, along with his household, and many Corinthians also become believers and are baptized. Thus we have the church of Corinth.
... The Lord speaks to Paul in the night, saying, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city." (Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half.)
Notice the promise made to Paul; "No man will attack you in order to harm you." We will see this in a moment.
Q3: What do you feel the Lord meant in saying that He had many people in Corinth?
Vss12-17: Synopsis - At some point the Christ-rejecting Jews rise up against Paul and bring him before the proconsul. They make their accusations, and as Paul is about to respond, the proconsul simply dismisses the case. His concluding remark is, "I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters." Then he has them driven away from the judgment seat.
The Greeks take note of the dismissal, and began to beat Sosthenes, the synagogue leader. It appears the beating served a good purpose. Sosthenes became a believer and joined himself to Paul. Isn't it interesting how our enemy can actually become our best friend. (When Jesus becomes the point of friendship.)
Vs18: "Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the brethren and put out to sea for Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow."
... What sort of vow that Paul kept is not said. It may have been a Nazarite vow. But that would be questionable, since the Nazarite vow was to be completed in Jerusalem. Of course Paul did not consider himself to be under the law. It also could also have been a vow thanking the Lord for his safe keeping in Corinth.
Vss19-21: "They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, but taking leave of them and saying, 'I will return to you again if God wills,' he set sail from Ephesus."
... Notice how Paul always heads for the synagogue first. The apostle is loyal to the charge of, "To the Jew first." Either Aquila and Priscilla are the ones asking him to stay, or possibly the synagogue people, but for some reason Paul is pressed in his spirit to continue on. We do know that a strong work is in place in Ephesus.
Vss22,23: Paul takes ship to Caesarea and greets the church there. He then goes to Antioch. This completes the apostle's second missionary journey.
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 22, 2004
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