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An Exposition Of The Acts Of The Apostles

ANALYSIS

He founds the church of Corinth, preaching and labouring there in the midst of contradiction and opposition for six months, during which time he received a vision strengthening him (1–11). He was arraigned before Gallio the Proconsul, who unceremoniously dismissed the Jews from his court (12–16). He preached in Ephesus (17–19). Apollo comes to Corinth and preaches there. He is more fully instructed in the faith by Priscilla and Aquila (26).

Commentary

1. Corinth, the capital of Achaia. For description of (see Preface Ep. to Corinthians).

2. “Aquila.” There was no distinction made in the public acts of the Empire, between Jews and Christians. Christians, therefore, were comprised in the Edict of Claudius. Whether Aquila was converted at Rome, and professing the Christian religion when St. Paul came to Corinth, or was converted by St. Paul, is disputed (Vide Beelen).

3. “Same trade.” Tent-making, manufacturing tents from skins or cloth. The Apostle gloried in labouring for his livelihood (Acts 20:34; 2 Thess. 3:9, 10). He was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and originally destined for the legal profession. The Jews made it a custom to have their children taught some useful trade, as a part of their education. This was inculcated by the Rabbins.

“Tent-making.” Making portable tents out of cloth or skins was a pretty remunerative trade in the East.

4. “Reasoned,” discoursed, incidentally “bringing in the name of Jesus.” It was only after the arrival of Silas and Timothy, he entered boldly into discussion regarding our Lord (v. 5).

“Persuaded.” Strove to persuade. “Greeks,” Proselytes of the gate, who frequented the synagogue.

5. “Silas,” &c. (17:15), “earnest;” was animated by their presence to preach to the Jews, “that Jesus is the Christ” their long-expected Messiah.

Very likely, Silas and Timothy brought him from Macedonia some pecuniary aid (2 Cor. 11:8, 9) so that now he needed not to labour for his support and could devote his undivided attention and all his time to preaching and the work of the ministry.

6. “Blaspheming,” Uttering opprobrious language against our Lord, vilifying him, speaking of him scornfully and contemptuously.

“Shook his garments.” A symbolical action, conveying that he gave up all communication with them; had nothing in common with them.

“Blood.” Destruction and ruin “on your own heads.” “I am clear.” I have done my part.

“Henceforth.” This was peculiar and exceptional treatment of the Corinthian Jews. For, we find that he afterwards laboured for the conversion of his Jewish brethren elesewhere.

7. Thence,” the synagogue, “entered into the house,” &c., which served for the purpose of instruction, which he gave before in the synagogue. He lodged with Aquila.

“Worshipped God.” This Titus Justus was a proselyte.

9. Possibly disheartened by opposition, he may have contemplated leaving Corinth. Hence, the vision to strengthen him.

10. “In this city.” The theatre of voluptuousness and sin. “Much people.” Not Christians as yet, but well disposed to embrace the faith, which they did, at the preaching of the Apostle.

12. “Gallio.” He assumed this name on being adopted by Gallio the famous rhetorician, His real name was Marcus Annœus Novatus. He was brother of Seneca, and bore the character of great amiability.

“Proconsul of Achaia.” This was one of the provinces into which the Romans, after conquering Greece, divided the country. Macedon formed the chief part of the other province. Gallio on becoming Proconsul was deputed by the Senate, to whom it was now transferred for Pro-consular appointment by the Emperor, who had the appointment before.

“One accord,” in a body, “brought him to judgment,” arraigned him as a disturber of the peace.

13. “The law” of Moses. The free exercise of the Jewish religion being permitted to the Jews in Greece. It may embrace the Roman law also, which forbade any new Gods to be proclaimed without the sanction of the Senate. Most likely, it refers to the Jewish laws, as appears from Gallio’s answer.

14. Clearly Gallio anticipates St. Paul’s defence.—If there were question of justice or crime he would hear them, and impartially investigate the matter.

15. “Words,” doctrines—“names.” Such as, whether Jesus should be called their Messiah or not. These and other such disputes they should settle among themselves, as best they could.

16. He ordered their removal out of court.

17. “Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue.” He afterwards became converted (1 Cor. 1:1) was very prominent in the riots, the chief accuser of the Christians. Seeing his conduct in promoting disturbances on account of the Jews, the Gentiles who were present in court when Gallio ignominously drove them away, avenged it on Sosthenes, the leader and promoter of these discreditable disturbances. “Beating him.” Buffeting him with their fists in the very presence of the judge. Gallio probably, glad that Sosthenes and the whole of the Jews, whose unmeaning, unseemly conduct disgusted him, should pay the penalty of exciting popular fury and disquiet, paid no heed to this conduct. Rather strange, however, on the part of a judge.

18. “Having shorn his head,” &c. This, according to a certain punctuation, may be understood of Aquila. According to the Vulgate punctuation, it refers to St. Paul. It was so understood by St. Jerome, St. Augustine, Ven. Bede, and others. It seems to be a small matter for recording whether Aquila made a vow or not. Moreover, Paul is the more prominent figure in the narrative, and if referred to Aquila, he should repair to Jerusalem, instead of remaining at Ephesus.

“For he had a vow.” What this vow was is disputed. The greater number of commentators understood it of the vow of the Nazarites referred to (Numbers 6:1–21). During the time fixed for the vow, before its final accomplishment in the Temple of Jerusalem, with all the prescribed ceremonies, those who were under it were obliged to abstain from all intoxicating drinks, and not allow their heads to be shaved. Here St. Paul did not shave his head. He only had it shorn or cropped, reserving the final ceremony of shaving it, for its accomplishment at Jerusalem.

Very likely, his chief motive in thus undertaking the vow of Nazarite was to conform in all things lawful to the usages of the Jews becoming “all to all.” He would thus disarm the prejudices sought to be created against him on the plea that he was an enemy to the Law of Moses (21:23, 24).

“Cenchra,” one of the ports of Corinth to the East, on the Saronic Gulf.

“Yet many days,” during which he, likely, performed many miracles (2 Cor. 12:12).

19. “Left them there,” Aquila and Priscilla.

21. “Saying, I will return,” &c. After the word “saying,” we have in several Greek MSS. the words, “I must by all means keep the approaching Feast in Jerusalem.” The necessity of his going to Jerusalem for the approaching Feast (Pasch or Pentecost) was, it is conjectured, owing to his vow, which he should accomplish in the Temple with the usual ceremonies.

“I will return to you again.” So he did, and remained three years (20:31).

22. “Went up to Jerusalem.” Jerusalem is not in the Text. But it is generally understood to be meant; and if the words above referred to, “I must by all means,” &c., be genuine, there can be no doubt that he speaks of going up to Jerusalem, where he accomplished his vow, and went through the usual concluding ceremonies, in the temple (Numbers 6, &c.). Others understand gone up from the ship to the city of Cæsarea, and “saluted the Church” at Cæsarea. It more likely means going up to Jerusalem.

24. “Apollo.” It should be written Apollos, as appears, from the Greek. Likely an abbreviation of Apollonius, “born in Alexandria,” so famous for its schools. Likely Apollo had his natural abilities, which were of the highest order, cultivated in their schools.

“An eloquent man.” “Eloquent” might also mean, learned it means gifted with great and ready powers of speech. “Mighty in the Scriptures,” well versed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

25. “Instructed.” Catechized, according to the Greek, received elementary instruction in the Christian doctrine by word of mouth. “Fervent in spirit,” zealous and earnest. “Spoke,” discoursed in private and “taught” publicly in the synagogues. “Diligently,” with zeal and fervour.

“The things that are of Jesus.” The doctrines relating to Jesus, as far as he himself had been acquainted with them.

“Knowing only the Baptism of John.” Likely, this Apollos, who was afterwards baptized and became a distinguished preacher of the Gospel (1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4, 5), had many years previously attended the instructions of the Baptist, and may have received his Baptism, which contained the faith in a future Messiah, and pointed out Jesus as that Messiah. This, then, was the extent of Apollo’s Christian knowledge. He defended earnestly the teaching that our Lord was the promised Messiah of the Jews.

26. With earnestness and zeal he fearlessly proclaimed the Messiahship of our Lord.

“Whom when Aquila,” &c. Seeing his knowledge of the faith to be imperfect, they therefore, with Christian zeal and piety, “took him” to their own house and instructed him more accurately in the doctrine of faith. From this may be seen the admirable humility of Apollo. This distinguished orator, who submitted to be more fully taught in private by Aquila and Priscilla. This was in private, so it does not conflict with the Apostle’s injunctions regarding women (1 Cor. 14; 1 Tim. 2:12).

27. “Exhorting” may mean exhorting him to go to Achaia, or, “exhorting” the brethren in Achaia to receive him with hospitality. “Who had believed.” To this is added in the Greek, “through grace.”

28. He bore down all opposition, proving openly from the Scriptures, that “Jesus was the Christ,” that in him were fulfilled all the marks as to time, place, and other circumstances given of him in the sacred Scriptures.








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