Acts 18 v 1 - 28

We have been racing through Paul's journeys: he is moving apace, harried out of city after city; but he arrives at Corinth and he will stay for eighteen months. This highly important city was known for three things in particular: all north-south traffic in Greece had to pass through Corinth, so it was called 'the bridge of Greece'; it was the home of the Isthmian games, second to the Olympics; and it was known for its temple of Aphrodite, which housed one thousand temple prostitutes who roamed the streets at night offering sex: it was said 'Not every man can afford a journey to Corinth.'

So above all else, it was known for its immorality which was so prevalent it was accepted as normal by Corinthians. Into that city comes Paul and his group preaching a message of One God, purity and new life.

Paul, like every good Rabbi, had a trade so he wouldn't be a burden to anyone. We think of him as a tent-maker, but the Greek word implies that he was a leather-worker: he was a skilled craftsman. It appears that on arriving at Corinth, Silas and Timothy brought a financial gift from the church at Philippi which enabled Paul to focus fully on preaching and debating. Unlike as in the other cities, God tells Paul to remain in Corinth, because there were many people hungry to know the true God there. The Jews again tried to cause trouble, but this time they met their match in Gallio, who was a kindly proconsul and scrupulously fair. He drove them away, because he knew that no fault could be found in Paul and his friends.

After Corinth, Paul headed briefly for Cenchrea and Ephesus and then made his way back to Jerusalem (mentioned here as 'the church') and home to Antioch-see map I attached a couple of days ago. In Cenchrea it is recorded that Paul had his hair cut to fulfil a thanksgiving vow of the Nazirites (the regulations for which are recorded in Numbers 6 v 1-21). So, Paul would not have eaten meat or drunk wine for thirty days and allowed his hair to grow. At the end of the thirty days, Paul would have made offerings in the Temple and cut his hair, burning the hair on the altar as an offering to God.

In this passage we have been introduced to Priscilla and Aquilla, who had left Rome when Emperor Claudius banished all Jews in AD 49, and also to Apollos, all three of whom will become key people in the Church. Apollos was a Jew and was a follower of John the Baptist. Priscilla and Aquilla told him more and he became a Christ-follower, arguing powerfully with the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.

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