The Apostle Paul in Corinth
1When Paul left Athens he traveled to Corinth, # 18:1 Corinth is about forty-eight miles (seventy-eight kilometers) from Athens. It was a large commercial center with trade links all over the entire ancient world. It was the home of the famous Isthmian Games and the temple of Aphrodite, which held a thousand temple prostitutes. Corinth was known for its debauchery. In the midst of a depraved culture, God birthed a church to become light to the people of their city. 2where he met a Jewish man named Aquila, who was originally from northeastern Turkey. # 18:2 Or “Pontus,” a Roman province in northeastern Asia Minor (Turkey). He and his wife, Priscilla, had recently emigrated from Italy to Corinth because Emperor Claudius had expelled all the Jews from Rome. 3Since Paul and Aquila were both tentmakers # 18:3 The Aramaic can also mean “saddle makers.” by trade, Paul moved in with them and they became business partners.
4Every Sabbath day Paul spoke openly in the synagogue, to both Jews and non-Jews, # 18:4 The Aramaic is “pagans.” attempting to persuade them to believe the message of Jesus.
5When Silas and Timothy finally arrived from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word of God, # 18:5 The Aramaic is “the manifestation of God.” trying to convince the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.
6When they viciously slandered him and hurled abuse on him, he symbolically shook the dust off his clothes in protest against them. He said to them, “Have it your way then! I am guiltless as to your fate, for the blood-guilt of your actions will be on your own heads, and from now on I will preach to the non-Jews.”
7Leaving the synagogue, Paul went to the home of Titus, # 18:7 The Greek text is “Titus Justus,” but the Aramaic only has Titus. It is possible that he is the Titus who accompanied Paul in ministry and the one Paul addressed in the book of Titus. a convert to Judaism, for he and his family attended the Jewish meetings # 18:7 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek says that Titus Justus lived next door to the synagogue. and they had all become believers in Jesus. 8Crispus, # 18:8 Crispus was one of the few people Paul baptized. See 1 Cor. 1:14. According to church tradition he became the bishop of Aegina. the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire family, and many of the Corinthians who heard what had happened believed in the Lord and were baptized.
9One night, the Lord spoke to Paul in a supernatural vision and said, “Don’t ever be afraid. Speak the words that I give you and don’t be intimidated, 10because I am with you. # 18:10 Somewhat more explicit in the Aramaic, this is the great “I AM” who is speaking with Paul, assuring him of God’s presence. No one will be able to hurt you, for there are many in this city whom I call my own.”
11For the next year and a half, Paul stayed in Corinth, faithfully teaching the word of God.
Paul Brought before the Roman Official Gallio
12Now, at that time, Gallio was the regional governor who ruled over the Roman province of Achaia, # 18:12 The province of Achaia included the three most important parts of southern Greece: Attica, Boeotia, and the Peloponnesus. Gallio was the brother of Seneca, the tutor of Nero. and the Jews turned against Paul and came together to seize him and bring him publicly before the governor’s court. # 18:12 Or “judgment seat.” This was a raised platform with a marble bench where judicial and governmental decrees were issued. This bench has been discovered after excavations in the agora. 13They accused him before Gallio, saying, “This man is creating a disturbance by persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our laws.”
14Just as Paul was about to speak in his defense, Gallio interrupted and said, “Wait! If this involved some major crime or fraud, it would be my responsibility to hear the case. 15But this is nothing more than a disagreement among yourselves over semantics # 18:15 Or “doctrines.” and personalities # 18:15 Or “names.” and traditions of your own Jewish laws. # 18:15 The Aramaic is “Torah” (the first five books of Moses). Go and settle it yourselves! I refuse to be the judge of these issues.” 16So Gallio dismissed them from the court.
17Immediately the crowd turned on Sosthenes, # 18:17 Sosthenes means “savior of our nation.” See 1 Cor. 1:1. one of the leaders # 18:17 The Aramaic word used here can mean “priest” or “elder.” Crispus is mentioned as the president or leader (v. 8). Some speculate that Crispus’ term of service had been completed and Sosthenes took his place. of the synagogue who sided with Paul. They seized him and beat him up right there in the courtroom! But Gallio showed no concern at all over what was happening.
Priscilla and Aquila
18After remaining in Corinth several more days, Paul finally bid shalom # 18:18 Shalom is the Hebrew and Aramaic word for “peace and well-being.” The Greek is “farewell.” The Aramaic can also be translated “Paul brought peace to the brothers.” to the believers and sailed away for the coast of Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. # 18:18 Priscilla means “Ancient”; Aquila means “Eagle.” Before they left, Paul had his head shaved at Cenchrea, # 18:18 Cenchrea was one of two major ports of Corinth, possibly where agricultural goods were exported, for Cenchrea means “millet,” a grain similar to quinoa. because he had taken a vow of dedication.
19When they reached Ephesus, # 18:19 Ephesus was in the ancient world, a white marble city, one of the most beautiful in the world. It had the temple of Artemis, one of the seven great wonders of that era. It also had two agoras, a beautiful fountain in the city supplied by an aqueduct, the monument of Phillio, the Koressian Gates, the Bouleuterion, a large stadium, and many terraced houses. It was the capital city of the Roman province of Asia and had a population of well over one hundred thousand at the time Paul visited the city. Ephesus was known historically as the center of powerful magical practices and the casting of spells, as well as the cult center of the worship of the Ephesian goddess Artemis, known as “the supreme power.” It was in this backdrop that the apostle Paul and his companions planted the renowned church of Ephesus. Paul left Priscilla and Aquila behind, then he went into the synagogue and spoke to the Jews. 20They asked him to stay longer, but he refused 21and said farewell to them, adding, “I will come back to you, if it is God’s will, after I go to Jerusalem to observe the feast.” # 18:21 This last clause is only found in the Aramaic. Then he set sail from Ephesus for Caesarea.
22When he arrived there he traveled on to Jerusalem to visit the church and pray for them, # 18:22 Although this clause is missing in the Greek, the Aramaic can be translated “to pray for the peace of the congregation.” A true spiritual father prays for believers and brings them a message of hope and peace. then he left for Antioch. 23After spending some time there, Paul continued on through the region of Galatia and Phyrgia in central Turkey. And wherever he went he encouraged and strengthened the believers. # 18:23 The Aramaic can be translated “Wherever he went he made them all disciples.”
The Ministry of Apollos
24A Jewish man by the name of Apollos arrived in Ephesus. He was a native of Alexandria # 18:24 This is Alexandria in Egypt. and was recognized as an educated and cultured man. He was powerful in the Scriptures, 25had accepted Jesus, and had been taught about the Lord. He was spiritually passionate # 18:25 Or “His spirit boiled.” for Jesus and a convincing teacher, although he only knew about the baptism of John. 26He fearlessly preached # 18:26 That is, boldly and powerfully. The Aramaic can be translated “with crystal clarity.” in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos’ teachings, they met with him privately # 18:26 The Aramaic is “they took him into their home.” and revealed to him the ways of God more completely. # 18:26 Or “more accurately.” They filled in the gaps in his understanding of the Lord Jesus.
27Then Apollos, with the encouragement of the believers, went to the province of Achaia. # 18:27 See the first footnote on v. 12. He took a letter of recommendation from the brothers of Ephesus so his ministry would be welcomed in the region. He was a tremendous help to the believers and caused them to increase in grace. # 18:27 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “He helped those who believed by grace.” 28Apollos boldly and publicly confronted the Jews, vigorously debating them, proving undeniably from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.