After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 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. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 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. And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 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.
Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city." And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, "This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law."
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. 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. Then 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. (NKJV)
Bible Study Outline: Exposition on the Book of Acts Chapter 18
“Paul’s 2nd Missionary Journey continues….The Establishment of the Church in Corinth…..His return to Antioch in Pisidia….The Ministry of “Apollos””
Paul has now left Athens after presenting the Gospel to the Areopagus and explaining to them that the “unknown God” they worshipped without knowing was Jesus Christ. Even though Paul had not originally intended to preach in Athens, he was “compelled” to do so because the numerous idols he saw in the city grieved him in his spirit as he was really awaiting the arrival of Silas and Timothy from Derbe. Remarkably, God favored him to compel an Areopagite judge named Dionysus, a woman named Damaris and others to “cleave” to the Gospel message. Being convinced he had done all he could there as the Epicureans responded by scoffing and mocked the gospel message in derision, especially against the belief in the resurrection from the dead and the Stoics used diplomacy to delay a positive respond to the message and be converted in saying they would hear him again on the matter, yet not saying when. He now comes to the city of Corinth.
Some things we should know about Corinth…
Corinth was a Grecian city, on the isthmus which joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. It is about 48 miles west of Athens. The ancient city was once destroyed by the Romans in 146 B.C. and the Corinth mentioned in the New Testament was quite a new city, having been rebuilt about a century afterwards and peopled by a colony of freedmen from Rome. The temple of Aphrodite is said to have a thousand religious prostitutes. The reputation of Corinth is illustrated by the fact that the verb "to act like a Corinthian" was used of practicing fornication, and the phrase "Corinthian girls" designated harlots. Little wonder that the Corinthian church was later plagued by problems of immorality.
I Paul’s Ministry in Corinth (verses 1-16)
Still waiting on Silas and Timothy to arrive in Corinth, Paul comes across a husband and wife (Aquilla, originally born in Pontus and Priscilla, his wife) who like Paul were tentmakers. They had just come from Italy leaving there for their safety because the emperor issued an edict to expulse all Jews from Rome. Paul learns of the edict from them. After discovering that Aquila and Priscilla were tentmakers by trade, Paul stayed and worked with them in their tent making business and on the Sabbath, Paul went to the synagogue in Corinth and shared the Gospel with both the Jews and the Greeks. (vs. 1-4)
Paul did not start evangelizing in Corinth immediately, he worked with Aquila and Priscilla making tents to earn an income. Paul was what we come to call a “Bi-vocational Preacher/ Pastor”. It was customary for Jewish rabbis not to receive pay for their teaching, and therefore Paul, who had been reared as a rabbi, had learned the trade of tent making. The apostle did not at once launch into the evangelization of Corinth but joined Aquila and Priscilla in practicing his trade during the week. The Sabbaths he devoted to preaching in the synagogue.
Reason for the Jewish expulsion from Rome: Spreading the Gospel.
The city of Pontus was greatly affected by the move of the Holy Spirit on the delegation that travelled from Pontus on the day of Pentecost in Act chapter 2. According to scholars, the gospel preaching was met in this city and surrounding area with fierce opposition, constantly causing riots at what was known to be called: “The instigation of Chrestus”, to the extent Claudius Caesar ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Simply put , the Romans and hostile Jews were hostile toward the 30 doctrines that were taught in the inner workings of the gospel message and it’s possible that Jesus being preached as savior, Great High Intercessory Priest and a soon coming King. Upset Rome as they believed that there was no other king but “Caesar”!
II. Paul preached: Gospel message rejected with hostility.” (vs. 5-8)
a. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Holy Spirit to testify to the Jews that Jesus is “The Christ.” (Messiah) The presence of Silas and Timothy helped in making the presentation of Christ more boldly .
b. Both the Jews and Greeks rejected the gospel message and blasphemed Paul and the message of Christ, even to the point of vilifying Jesus in a blasphemous way.
- Paul in response shook his garments and said: Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles”.
Note: Paul shook his raiment to show that he was resolved from this point on to have nothing to do with them; perhaps, also, to express the fact that God would soon slake them off, or reject them. Paul simply told them, that destruction that was to come upon them because they rejected Christ was brought on by them and they could not blame any future calamities on him because he did his duty in presenting the gospel without pretense and fairly they deliberately rejected. Paul openly told them then he would be preaching to the Gentiles the same message they rejected. Afterwards…..
“And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, Justus, (Titus) one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. (vs.7) And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” (vs. 8)
Paul quickly leaves the Jewish temple and enters into Justus’s house. In all likelihood, Justus whose house was in very close proximity to the Jewish temple had become a convert to the Christian faith. Not only this, but….The Gospel of Jesus Christ converted…”Crispus” is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:14 as having been one of the few whom Paul actually baptized with his own hands. The conversion of such a man and his family must have tended greatly to exasperate the other Jews, and to further the progress of the Christian faith among the Corinthians.
and then, many of the Corinthians.
Many Corinthians were saved by the gospel even in this voluptuous and wicked city. Perhaps the power of the gospel was never more signal than in converting sinners in Corinth, and rearing a Christian church in a place so dissolute and abandoned. If it was adapted to such a place as Corinth; if a church, under the power of Christian truth, could be organized there, it is adapted to any city, and there is none so corrupt that the gospel cannot change and purify it.
III. God Speaks to Paul: “Night Vision assurance and conformation (vs. 9-11)
“Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city”
- Don’t be afraid.
- Speak (preach the gospel)
- Don’t hold your peace. Don’t stop preaching or teaching or speaking about Jesus Christ.
At this point in Paul’s ministry, Paul might have been slightly intimidated by the learning, refinement, and splendor of Corinth; To this he may allude in (1 Corinthians 2:3) "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling." In such circumstances it pleased God to meet him, and disarm his fears. This he did by assuring him of success. The fact that God had much people in that city (Acts 18:10) was told to him as reassurance from God he had nothing to be afraid of, so Paul could be bold, and not apprehensive.
Point to Remember….
The message every minister and witness can take away from these comforting words from God Himself is the prospect of success in the Evangelistic ministry, and the certainty of the presence of God, will take away the fear of the rich, the learned, and the great. We should never be intimidated by the aristocrats of societies, no matter how much they have or how snobbish they act.
3 Assurances God gave Paul in this vision…..
- God is with him.
- No man shall rise up against you to hurt you.
- I (God) have much people in this city.
And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. (vs. 11)
He was now confident that he was under the special protection of God, and therefore continued teaching the word, the doctrine of God. It is very likely, that it was during his stay here that he wrote his first epistle to the Thessalonians, and the second not long after; and some think that the epistle to the Galatians was written during his stay at Corinth.