Acts chapter 18         Next chapter          Back to Bible Studies   

In this chapter we find Paul arriving in Corinth which was a peculiar city in that it had two harbours - one on the Aegean sea and the other on the Ionean sea. It also had all the accompanying vice associated with port cities. At a time in its past, Corinth was the site of the temple of Aphrodite with its 1000 religious prostitutes.  As before in all the other places, Paul heads straight for the Jewish synagogue.

In verse 3 we are firmly reminded as we are elsewhere in Scripture that Paul worked for his living and always endeavoured not to be a burden to those to whom he ministered. We find a similar reference in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10. Verse 6 - especially clear when reading the King James version - contains an interesting phrase also found in Luke 7:29 "They opposed themselves..."  and not as the NIV has it: "But when the Jews opposed Paul..." This certainly is thought provoking when we consider that when we choose against Christ, we are indeed choosing against ourselves! Paul's shaking out of his robe in verse 6 reminds us of Matthew 10:14-15 (shaking the dust from their feet) as well as Nehemiah 5:12-13 where Nehemiah shakes out his robe before the people. Even though Paul then leaves the Jews and turns to the Gentiles, there is some wonderful fruit on his labour. In verse 8 we read that "Crispus, the synagogue ruler and his entire household believed" as did many others. The conversion of Crispus must have been quite a blow to the Jews but further on in the chapter we read that Sosthenes was appointed in the place of Crispus (verse 18). If we refer to 1 Corinthians 1:1 there is an indication that this replacement Synagogue ruler was also converted: "...and our brother Sosthenes". If this is the case and it is the same Sosthenes, this must have made the Jews really mad!

In verse 9 the Lord speaks to Paul directly in a vision and in the original Greek we get a clearer picture as the words that are spoken are literally "No more being afraid...". This gives us a clear indication that Paul was indeed feeling fearful to some degree. We compared this with 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 "And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power". True to the vision given by God, Paul is indeed saved from harm when the Jews once again plot against him and bring him before the proconsul Gallio who dismisses them forthwith and ejects them out of the court. Paul goes on to have a very effective ministry in Ephesus, staying and teaching for a year and a half.

The vow that Paul is referring to is probably the Nazirite vow spoken of in Numbers 6:1-21 which is a vow of dedication to God. It also gives us an indication that Paul was not against Jewish customs especially when those had clearly found their fulfillment in Christ for the one taking part, as is the case with him. It also speaks against the charges that the Jews continously brought against Paul that he was advocating the rejection of Jewish laws and customs.

In verse 19 we find Paul arriving in Ephesus (in Asia) and we are reminded of Acts 16:6 where Paul and his companions are expressly prevented by the Holy Spirit from entering Asia. God clearly has an appointed time for everything...Paul's visit to Antioch and the church there concludes what is generally known as his second missionary journey as that was where he started from.

Verse 24 to the end of the chapter which deals with Apollos and the baptism of John, is dealt with in the next chapter, as it forms part of that section.