15. IN CORINTH
Following his experience at Athens, Paul journeyed westward alone to *Corinth (Acts 18:1). (Paul’s First Missionary Tour.)
18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.
There he came in contact with Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, Jews who had recently come from Italy subsequent to a decree by the emperor Claudius banning Jews from Rome (v 2).
18:2 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.
Since these people, like Paul, were tentmakers, he stayed with them and plied his trade (v 3).
18:3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.
Paul most probably arrived in Corinth early in a.d. 51; he remained there more than a year and 6 months (Acts 18:11, 18).
18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
At first he labored with the Jews in the synagogue (v 4), as was his usual practice when entering a new city.
18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.
However, when once again the majority of the Jews opposed and reviled him, he turned from them and began to work more directly for the Gentiles (v 6).
18:6 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.”
No longer able to preach in the synagogue, he held his services in a house owned by a worshiper of God (see Proselyte), next door to the synagogue (v 7).
18:7 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.
The gospel bore much fruit in that city, and among the converts was the ruler of the synagogue (v 8).
18:8 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.
Meanwhile Silas and Timothy had arrived with cheering news of the faithfulness of the Thessalonians (Acts 18:5; 1 Th 3:6).
18:5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.
These tidings inspired Paul, probably in a.d. 51, to write 1 Thessalonians, his first epistle that has been preserved. This was followed—possibly during late 51 or early 52—by 2 Thessalonians. See Thessalonians, Epistles to.
At last, active persecution, that had usually come so quickly in other cities, began to threaten Paul at Corinth also. His Jewish enemies accused him before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia, of teaching a religion not legally recognized by Rome.
However, Gallio drove the accusers away, refusing to become involved in a case that he regarded as a dispute over Jewish, rather than Roman, law. At this the crowd seized the ruler of the synagogue at that time and beat him in the sight of Gallio (Acts 18:12–17).
18:12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat,
18:13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.”
18:14 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.
18:15 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.“
18:16 And he drove them from the judgment seat.
18:17 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.
After an unspecified period, during which he was apparently able to preach without active opposition, Paul set sail for Syria (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:18).
18:18 So Paul still remained 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.
He tarried briefly in Ephesus, and preached in the synagogue. His message was received with favor by his hearers, who were probably both Gentiles and Jews, and he was invited to remain longer.
However, he decided to continue his journey, promising to return if possible. He took ship for Caesarea (Paul’s First Missionary Tour), leaving Priscilla and Aquila at Ephesus, doubtless to carry on the work begun there.
Landing at Caesarea he briefly visited Jerusalem to salute the church, and then went on to Antioch, from which place his missionary journeys had begun (vs 19–22).
18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.
18:20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent,
18:21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch.
Thus ended Paul’s 2d Missionary Journey, which had lasted about 3 years, probably from some time in a.d. 49 to possibly late in a.d. 52.