Silas and Timothy finally came from Macedonia (Acts 17:14) to meet Paul in Corinth where he was “compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ” (18:5). Of course the Jews did not receive his message, so he declared, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles” (18:6). Paul had fulfilled his duty in presenting the truth about Jesus Christ to the Jews, but they had consistently rejected and blasphemed the name of Jesus. The Jews were now fully responsible for what they had heard from Paul and must accept the consequences which await them.
Upon departing the synagogue, Paul went into the house of a Gentile man named Justus, who worshiped God (18:7). “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” (18:8). Paul received a vision from the Lord and God promised His protection upon Paul as he spoke the truth, so he continued teaching the word of the Lord at Corinth for a year and a half (18:9-11). You can read more about Paul’s communication with the church at Corinth in both of his letters which bear their name.
While in Corinth, the Jews rose up against Paul and brought him before Gallio, a Roman proconsul (governor of Achaia), saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law” (18:12-13). As Paul was about to respond to their accusation, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes…there should 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” (18:14-15). Gallio commanded them to leave the judgment seat (18:16). This circumstance was significant. The Jews in Corinth were angry at Paul for teaching that which they thought opposed Judaism. Since they rejected Jesus as the Messiah, they saw Paul’s message as distinct from their own; however, Roman rulers looked at Christianity and Judaism as the same. The Jews were ultimately trying to get the Romans to see this distinction so that Christianity would be made illegal by Roman law. Their attempt failed.
After his time in Corinth, Paul visited Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla and they ended up staying there (18:18-21) while Paul continued his journeys visiting many churches (18:22-23). Luke breaks away from Paul’s travels to reflect on what was happening in Ephesus in the ministry of Aquila and Priscilla. A Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus teaching the ways of the Lord, but he only knew the baptism of John (18:24-25). Apollos knew the Old Testament, but did not fully understand the New Testament truths such as the meaning of Christ’s death (although he believed Jesus was the Messiah), His resurrection, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus’ commission to be witnesses in all the earth. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside privately and explained the significance of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection (18:26). Receiving this truth with gladness, Apollos began to minister and help those who had believed (18:27). Luke also writes that Apollos “vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ” (18:28).
The life of the church was taking off and many were being converted; however, Paul was careful to entrust the leadership of each church into the hands of faithful people. Paul realized it was impossible for him to effectively minister to the churches in all these cities, so he spent time preparing certain individuals to strengthen the church. The modern day church must also do well at passing on the truth to the next generation. Without the training of the next generation, the church is in danger of losing its’ effectiveness. Paul reminds Timothy, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Dear God, help those who lead the church today to train up men and women who will lead the church tomorrow.