OG Apollos learns the new way.

Acts 18
24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 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. 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. 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; 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

Be willing to learn.
Apollos was a mighty man of the scriptures. However, what Apollos knew was old information.
Aquila and Priscilla updated Apollos on more recent events, like Jesus Christ crucified.

However, Apollos could have rejected their teachings and assumed he was right. Apollos could have been stubborn and ignored them since he himself was “mighty in the Scriptures,” but he didn’t.

We must be willing to grow and learn as Christians. Let us never pretend that we know everything. We can learn from anyone at anytime. The Holy Spirit will guide us in truth.

Keeping the Feast

Acts 18
20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I[f] must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.

So to clarify, Paul had to leave so he could attend a feast in Jerusalem.
Some commentary:
Most likely the passover, at which he wished to attend for the purpose of seeing many of his friends, and having the most favorable opportunity to preach the Gospel to thousands who would attend at Jerusalem on that occasion.

Other people comment that this shows that as Christians we should STILL be recognizing Jewish holidays. I’m not really sure I would see that. I merely see this as the Lord giving us more insight into Paul’s character.

Paul whips his hair back and forth.

Acts 18 So Paul still remained [e]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. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

The vow Paul took was the Nazarite vow. This vow was intended to show Jews that Paul still respected the law.
I had to hit up Wikipedia to find out what the Nazarite vow was:
1. Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, intoxicating liquors, vinegar made from such substances, and eating or drinking any substance that contains any trace of grapes.
2. Refrain from cutting the hair on one’s head; but to allow the locks of the head’s hair to grow.
3. Not to become ritually impure by contact with corpses or graves, even those of family members.

People debate whether he was finishing the vow, or had just started, but whatever…
Now Paul is entering the synagogue to do what he does; reason with the Jews.

Gallio Don’t Care

Acts 18
12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the [c]judgment seat, 13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”

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. 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.” 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then [d]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.

I had to look up what was going on here because it doesn’t really say why Sosthenes was beaten. I was assuming I had missed something. Turns out, we don’t really know why he was beaten. However, Gallio watched an did not care.

Background info:

https://www.gotquestions.org/Sosthenes-in-the-Bible.html

After Paul had been in Corinth about 18 months, the Jews, led by Sosthenes, united in an attack on Paul, bringing him before the Roman proconsul, Gallio. As this city was under Roman rule, the Roman court was the ultimate authority in major disputes. The charge against Paul was that “this man . . . is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law” (Acts 18:13).

Gallio did not feel this particular issue was worth his time: “I will not be a judge of such things,” he said, and he ejected the Jews from the court (Acts 18:15). At that point, Sosthenes was seized and beaten as Gallio watched without interfering (verse 17). The text leaves it unclear as to who beat Sosthenes and why. Verse 17 simply says it was “the crowd there.” Paul D. Gardner, author of The New International Encyclopedia of Bible Characters, speculates that one of two things may have happened: 1) the Jews were angered that Sosthenes had been unable to persaude Gallio to try Paul and so made him the scapegoat; or 2) the Greeks outside the court beat Sosthenes because he was a Jew trying to stir up trouble in their city.

Paul’s Moment

Most scripture I read and feel I can directly input it into my life.
Today’s verse feels like it was more for Paul.

Acts 18
9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Paul had been attacked many times prior to this, and he would be persecuted more after. I will probably face persecution at some point ministering the gospel and others probably have already. So this scripture can not be taken to mean, “no one will attack you to hurt you” forever. It was more a word of knowledge Paul received to give him a moment of peace to continue God’s work.

This is the umbrella that WE should currently be working under.

The Corinth Church

Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled [a]by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6 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.” 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named [b]Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 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.

So Paul had the hardest time ministering to the Jews, the Lords chosen people. So he left the synagogue and went across the street to Justus’ house.

Paul devoted his life to talking about Christ and Christ crucified. Some listened and some did not.

Luke 12:49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.

The preaching of the Gospel will divide people. Those who believe will create anger from those who choose not to believe. I think Paul was very aware of this. When the Jews opposed him and mocked him, it became clear where they stood.
Do not let this discourage you.

Tent Ministry

Acts 18
18 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 2 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. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

It is interesting that Priscilla is the more important.

Some good thoughts from: https://www.theologyofwork.org/key-topics/women-workers-in-the-new-testament/the-tentmaker-priscilla-acts-182

They lived in Rome and were part of the folks who worked with the apostle Peter in his evangelism there. But the Roman emperor (around 51-52 A.D.) ordered that all Jews be expelled from Rome. Corinth was the nearest major city outside Italy, so as refugees, they had settled there. And there they connected with the apostle Paul.

This tentmaking couple became so valuable to the apostle Paul that when he left Corinth to begin missionary work in Ephesus, he took Priscilla and Aquila with him. This couple is mentioned six times in the New Testament, and in all but one case, Priscilla’s name is given first. This wasn’t simply a matter of courtesy in the first century; it indicated her primacy in their work together. Eventually, when the exile of Jews from Rome was lifted, they returned to their home in the capital city and once again became active in starting new churches there.

 

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Why were the Jews kicked out of Rome?
There were at least two expulsions of Jews from Rome before this event. In 139 BC the Jews were expelled after being accused of Judaizing among the local Gentiles. Then in AD 19 Tiberius once again expelled Jews from the city for similar reasons.

Recap of Chapter 17: The Struggle

Acts 17
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” 33 So Paul departed from among them. 34 However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

So this chapter seems like the struggle witness while being heavily persecuted.
They preached at Thessalonica. This caused an uproar and an assault on Jason’s house.

Paul then moves on to Berea at night because of the persecution. Here he gains many for Christ, but the Jews from Thessalonica follow him and cause problems.

They have to escape Berea, and Paul travels to Athens where he was moved to action by the spirit as a direct result of their idol worship.

He preaches and some follow, others mock.

Paul has been under attack since he started.  The disagreements cause such a hatred. This reminds me of the political climate we are in now. Civil discourse leads to physical violence because people do not know what to do with truth, or anything that does not agree with their slanted side of things.

Time of ignorance is gone.

Acts 17
29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

There was a time of ignorance.
It is no more. The command is to repent and come to the saving knowledge of Christ.

God wants us to seek and to find Him. All of nature points to His glory. And His servants, also point the way.

Paul Addresses Aeropagus

Acts 17
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Paul finds an altar with the inscription “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.”
This is what starts his speech.
We can know God. He is everywhere. He has set our feet and our path in hopes that we will see Him reveal Himself. Each day He is never very far.