Paul Goes to Corinth – Acts 18

Bust of Roman emperor Claudius (reworked from ...

Bust of Roman emperor Claudius (reworked from a bust of emperor Caligula), circa 50 AD. It was found in the so-called Otricoli basilica in Lanuvium, Italy, in 1779, and now stands in the “Sala Rotonda” (Round Hall) in the Museo Pio-Clementino (Vatican Museums). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul left Athens, and went to Corinth, which was 46 miles away. He met with Aquila and Priscilla there, who had come from Italy after the Roman emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Roman (we know this to have been issued in 49 AD). At that time, they made no distinction between Jews and Christians. Aquila and Priscilla were tent makers by trade, like Paul, and he stayed with them. They became faithful friends, and he mentions them again a few times in Scripture (Romans 16:3-5, for example). As always, he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, preaching Jesus as the Christ. But when they opposed him, he went to the home of Titius Justis, about whom we know nothing. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was one of the Corinthians that we know Paul baptized himself (1 Corinthians 1:14).

The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, telling him to keep teaching, and that no harm would come to him there. So he remained for a year and a half (verse 11). The proconsul was the chief judicial officer. In this case, it was Gallio (verses 12-14) that held that position when the Jewish leaders there, in a united assault, had Paul brought before the tribunal. We know from fragments of a letter from Claudius (the Delphi Inscription, found in 1905 by a French expedition) that he began this office in 51 AD. He was a brother of the philosopher, Seneca, who was an advisor to Nero. Born as “Marcus Annaeus Novatus”, he took the full name “Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeus,” after the rich man who adopted him.But before Paul could defend himself, Gallio ruled that this was a religious matter between the Jews and ran them out of the tribunal.


Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

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2 Corinthians 9 – The Cheerful Giver

Paul continues in this chapter about the collection for the saints at Jerusalem, acknowledging that the Corinthians had already expressed their desire to do it and made the pledge.  He wants to make sure they have it ready when the brethren arrive to take charge of it, so that it does not look like an after-thought.  If they have to scramble around and scurry after it, there is more chance that some will miss their opportunity to give – and this would reflect badly on the others.  Note Paul’s use of the word “we” in verse 4.  He is speaking not just of himself, but identifying himself with them at Corinth – as well as the other Gentiles who had shown their generosity.

Achaia mentioned in 2 Cor 9:2- (from Barnes’ notes): “This word, in its largest sense, comprehended the whole of Greece. Achaia proper, however, was a province of which Corinth was the capital. It embraced that part of Greece lying between Thessaly and the southern part of the Peloponnesus.”

The generous gifts to the poor at the Jerusalem church by these Christians (who had been pagans before) will increase the faith of those at Jerusalem and help them to see the sincerity and genuineness of the conversion of those at Corinth.  Verses 6-11 are sometimes used to promote the preaching of some that giving to others will bring the giver prosperity and health.  God surely blesses the cheerful giver (verse 7), but building material wealth for the generous giver is not God’s intention; and if such is the motive, it is vain.  God will surely “increase the harvest of your righteousness” as one gives cheerfully (verse 10), and will enrich one spiritually as well.  Any increase in wealth one enjoys should be the motivation for more generosity, and more thanksgiving to God (verses 11-12).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

2 Corinthians 8 – Encouragement to Give Generously

In chapter 7 of this letter, Paul expressed his joy at the news Titus brought him that the reception by the brethren at Corinth of his first letter.  Many of them had been moved to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-9).  Paul is sincerely proud of them, and now he reminds them of the collection for the poor in Jerusalem that was being gathered.  He had first spoken to them about it several months ago (verse 10), and they had been happy to commit to doing it.  Paul knows that this effort will be good for them as well.

Macedonia, Greece, east of Appolonia; Paul visited on his Second Missionary Journey after his Macedonian vision.

Paul also points out the generosity of the brethren of Macedonia in this effort, of which McGarvey writes: “The only Macedonian churches known to us were those at Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea. The district of Macedonia had suffered in the three civil wars, and had been reduced to such poverty that Tiberius Cæsar, hearkening to their petitions, had lightened their taxes. But in addition to this general poverty, the churches had been made poor by persecution (2 Thess 1:4).”   As the Corinthian brethren were, by and large, substantially better off, Paul encourages their generosity as well, quoting Exodus 16:18 in verse 15.  In verses 16-22, he stresses the point that trusted brethren will be carrying these gifts, so that there could be no hint of impropriety.  One of those – the  “brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching” of verse 18 – is thought by some to be Luke, but we do not know.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Corinthians 11 – The Lord’s Supper

The first 16 verses of this chapter are notoriously difficult; and many honest and well-intentioned people have interpreted parts of them differently.  Unfortunately, they have also been misused and, most ironically (especially in light of verses 16 and 17), that has caused contention and division at times.    One thing that is not in question in these 16 verses is the fact that God intended men to be the leader of their families (verse 3, Genesis 3:16-17, Ephesians 5:22).  But what about the head covering?  What about hair length?

Lenski, in his commentary, translated the use of the covered head reference in verse 4 as “having something down from his head,” with no indication from the Corinthian letter of what that “something” was.  An effective argument can be made for the entirety of the references to covering as referring to hair.  But there are women even today who cannot, in good conscience, attend worship services without a hat on their head.  In that case, it is good that they go ahead and wear one for that reason.   It is pointed out also by many that in this pagan society at Corinth, the priestesses of Aphrodite and prostitutes were distinguished many times by cropped hair, and even shaved heads.  A very good point can be made that the main thing to take away from these 16 verses is that Christians must not set about the business of offending the sensibilities of the society in which live, nor give the appearance of being “of the world.”

It can be argued that the earlier verses about traditions are given far more importance than Paul intended.  Paul speaks of a very important tradition in verses 17-33 – one that was instituted by the Lord Himself – the Lord’s Supper.  Incredibly, they had turned the observance of the Lord’s Supper into a meal, with some even becoming drunk.  Just as bad, the wealthy would bring enough food to be gluttons, and leave the poor hungry.  This was not fellowship, and it was not “in remembrance” of the Lord; and by doing this, one was eating and drinking “judgment on himself.”  Paul admonishes them not only to observe the Lord’s Supper properly, but with reverence, with each one “examining” himself while doing so.

It is difficult for many of us to realize at times the complete turn-around that many of these Corinthians had made, or the struggles that they continued to have in doing so.   The society they lived in, and had participated in fully, was pagan; and idol-worship, drunkenness and revelry, as well as promiscuity, were a way of life.  It was certainly not any easier for them to be holy than it is for us today.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Week 42 summary posted

Ephesus, in modern Turkey, is the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and one of the best places in the world to get the feeling for what life was like for early Christians in Roman times

Continuing in the book of Acts this week, we start chapter 19 tomorrow with Paul in Ephesus, where he has some thoughts for the elders of that church, as well as the other members.  It is during this time that he writes the first letter to the church at Corinth, as he has concerns about them.  We will spend a few days reading chapters from that letter as well.  This Scripture, as always, has application in our lives as well.

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 42 (October Week 3) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about Acts 14, 15, Galatians 1, Galatians 2, and Acts 16, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Acts 18 – Paul In Corinth

Paul left Athens, and went to Corinth, which was 46 miles away.  He met with Aquila and Priscilla there, who had come from Italy after the Roman emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Roman (we know this to have been issued in 49 AD).  At that time, they made no distinction between Jews and Christians.  Aquila and Priscilla were tent makers by trade, like Paul, and he stayed with them.  They became faithful friends, and he mentions them again a few times in Scripture (Romans 16:3-5, for example).  As always, he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, preaching Jesus as the Christ.  But when they opposed him, he went to the home of Titius Justis, about whom we know nothing.  Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was one of the Corinthians that we know Paul baptized himself (1 Corinthians 1:14).

Paul left Athens and traveled on to Corinth, one of the greatest commercial centers of the empire, located on a narrow neck of land offering direct passage between the Aegean and Adriatic seas. When Paul left from the port of Corinth at Cenchrea, he visited Ephesus. He then traveled to Caesarea, from where he went on to Jerusalem to report on his trip before returning to Antioch.

The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, telling him to keep teaching, and that no harm would come to him there.  So he remained for a year and a half (verse 11).  The proconsul was the chief judicial officer.  In this case, it was Gallio (verses 12-14) that held that position when the Jewish leaders there, in a united assault, had Paul brought before the tribunal.  We know from fragments of a letter from Claudius (the Delphi Inscription, found in 1905 by a French expedition) that he began this office in 51 AD.  He was a brother of the philosopher, Seneca, who was an advisor to Nero. Born as “Marcus Annaeus Novatus”, he took the full name “Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeus,” after the rich man who adopted him.But before Paul could defend himself, Gallio ruled that this was a religious matter between the Jews and ran them out of the tribunal.

Sosthenes, who was beaten in verse 17, may have succeeded Crispus after he became a Christian.   Sosthenes may have become a Christian himself, and could be the same one mentioned by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:1), but we do not know for sure.  At Corinth’s eastern port of Cenchrea, Paul had cut his hair at the completion of a vow (likely a Nazirite vow, as in Numbers 6:2).    It is speculated, that Paul would have kept some of his observances of ceremonial law, which would not be inappropriate at all.  He would not, however, bind such on others.

Paul then set sail for Syria, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.  Stopping to establish the church at Ephesus, he left Priscilla and Aquila there, promising to return “if God wills.”   He then set sail to Caesarea, traveled to report to the church in Jerusalem and up to Antioch of Syria, ending his second missionary journey in verse 22.  Verse 23 then begins Paul’s third missionary journey, going up though Galatia and Phyrgia, “strengthening all the disciples” at the churches he had begun.

Paul’s third journey began in Acts 18:23. He hurried north, then west, returning to many of the cities he had previously visited. This time, however, he stayed on a more direct westward route toward Ephesus.

Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus from Alexandria.  He was a learned and eloquent man, well-versed in the Old Testament.  Luke says that “he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John,” meaning that he taught accurately what he knew, but Aquila and Priscilla filled in for him, teaching him “the way of God more accurately.”  It is likely that Aquila baptized him into Christ.  Wishing to go into Achaia, he was encouraged by the brothers, and became a powerful speaker of the gospel.

Side note: A modern photo of the port of Cenchrea can be found in this article at Ferrell’s Travel Blog.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.