Acts Chapter 18 Conflict in Corinth
Chapter Outline • Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth • 1-4: Working with Priscilla & Aquila • 5-11: Turning to the Gentiles • 12-17: Brought before Gallio • Acts 18:18-22: Return to Antioch • Acts 18:23: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey Begins • Acts 18:24-28: Apollos Helped
Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth 1-4: Working with Priscilla & Aquila • Paul travels to the City of Corinth • History as a Prosperous Commercial Center • Rebelled against Rome & was destroyed in 146 BC • Rebuilt by 1st Roman Emperor Julius Caesar in 46 BC • Made Capital of Achaia by Caesar Augustus in 27 AD • Center of Idolatry & Licentiousness (outrageous conduct & goes beyond sin to a disregard for what is right) • Corinthians were encouraged in their behavior by their worship of Aphrodite, so called goddess of love
At the temple of Aphrodite on the summit of Acrocorinth (“Upper Corinth", the acropolis of ancient Corinth) intercourse with her priestesses was considered a method of worshiping Aphrodite. In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty and sexual rapture.
Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth 1-4: Working with Priscilla & Aquila, married couple team • Aquila (eagle) – Jewish possible a freed slave (?) • Native of Roman Province of Pontus on Black Sea • Priscilla – Upper-class Roman • Had recently traveled to Rome due to Emperor Claudius edit ordering all Jews to leave Italy • Like Paul they were tentmakers • House Church under Paul’s ministry • May have been Christians before meeting Paul • Paul’s most Faithful Friends & Co-Laborers in Gospel Ministry to Jews & Greeks
Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth 5-11: Turning to the Gentiles • Silas & Timothy came from Athens with an offering, • 2 Cor 11:9, “And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.” (NIV) • Paul was able to give himself exclusively to ministry • Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians (51 AD) near this time
Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth 5-11: Turning to the Gentiles • 1 Thess 3:6-10, “But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.” (NIV)
Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth 5-11: Turning to the Gentiles • Paul Preached & Testified to Jews about Jesus the Christ • Rejected & Abused (Gk blasphemounton “blaspheming”) the Apostle Paul • Paul’s Jewish Response, • “shook out his clothes” against them (rejecting them) • "Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility." • Paul turns to minister to Corinthian Gentiles • Left synagogue to go next door to home of Titius Justus • “Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord” (NIV) Corinthians believed & were baptized in water & in the Holy Spirit
Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth 5-11: Turning to the Gentiles • Paul’s Vision of Encouragement from the Lord • “Do not be afraid” – stop fearing for your life, Paul • “keep on speaking & do not be silent” • “for I am with you” says the Lord (Matt 28:18-20) • “no one with attack & harm you” - I will not let you be harmed – spiritual warfare to protect you. • “I have many people in this city” –You are not outnumbered. • With this encouragement, Paul remained 18 months • Paul, Silas & Timothy taught the Corinthians the word of God • Problems (cultural) developed Corinthians (1 & 2 Cor)
Acts 18:1-17: Ministry in Corinth 12-17: Brought before Gallio (appointed Achaia Proconsul (51 AD) • Unbelieving Jews united to attack Paul & brought him in Gallio’s court • Tribunal or judgment seat (Gk bema “throne”) made of blue & white marble – found by Archeologists • Jews accused Paul of “persuading” men to worship contrary to Roman law – Judaism was legal but not Christianity • Wise Gallio saw no Roman law was broken but he saw this as Jewish issue & “ejected them from his public court • Chief Ruler of the Synagogue, Sosthenes, was beaten before leaving Court by mob but Gallio showed only indifference • Sosthenes may have become a Christian later (1 Cor 1:1)
Acts 18:18-22: Return to Antioch • Paul sailed from Corinth with Priscilla & Aquila for Syria (notice she is named first indicating importance) • At Cenchrea (eastern harbor of Corinth – 6 miles) Paul had a haircut due to a personal vow – maybe modified Nazirite Vow (Num 6:1-21) where the hair was cut at end of vow. • Came to the great City of Ephesus in Asia Minor where he left Priscilla & Aquila • Paul went in Synagogue to reason with Jews who wanted him to stay longer but he promised to return “God willing” • Upon landing in Caesarea, he went “up” to Jerusalem to report to the Jerusalem Church & departed to go “down” to Antioch in Syria to end his 2nd Missionary Journey
Acts 18:23: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey • Paul spent some time encouraging & teaching in the Antioch Church before leaving on his 3rd Missionary Journey • When Paul did leave Antioch he began 1500 mile journey into Asia Minor through the region of Galatia & Phrygia to encourage the churches he had established before. • Paul never left his “new converts” to themselves – he was always as much concerned with follow-up as with evangelism.
Acts 18:24-28: Apollos Helped • Priscilla & Aquila at Ephesus, • Apollos, Hellenistic Jew, had come from Alexandria Egypt • Alexandria founded by Alexander the Great 323 BC • North coast of Egypt, west of Nile River • By 1stcentury Important seaport, 2nd largest city in Roman Empire & greatest cultural & educational center • Population of one million & 500K were Jewish • Hellenistic Jews (Greek speaking) produced LXX • Apollos was a well educated & eloquent Christian speaker • He preached with great enthusiasm & accuracy about Jesus & baptism of John
Acts 18:24-28: Apollos Helped • Priscilla & Aquila at Ephesus, seek to help Apollos, • Invited Apollos to their home for more instruction, explaining God’s way to him more precisely • Commentators agree that Priscilla took the lead in teaching Apollos because of her culture & education • Priscilla & Aquila had a church in their home in Ephesus • Indicators are that Apollos was baptized on the authority of Jesus and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit • Brothers wrote recommendation letters in his behalf for him to go to Achaia (Greece) . • Apollos took on unbelieving Jews in Achaia “proving from Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ," (Messiah).