Acts 18 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Acts 18)

Verse 2

[2] And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

Claudius, the Roman emperor, had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome - All who were Jews by birth. Whether they were Jews or Christians by religion, the Romans were too stately to regard.

Verse 3

[3] And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

They were tent makers by trade — For it was a rule among the Jews (and why is it not among the Christians?) to bring up all their children to some trade, were they ever so rich or noble.

Verse 5

[5] And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia — Silas seems to have stayed a considerable time at Berea: but Timotheus had come to the apostle while he was at Athens, and been sent by him to comfort and confirm the Church at Thessalonica, 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5. But now at length both Silas and Timotheus came to the apostle at Corinth.

Paul was pressed in spirit — The more probably from what Silas and Timotheus related. Every Christian ought diligently to observe any such pressure in his own spirit, and if it agree with Scripture, to follow it: if he does not he will feel great heaviness.

Verse 6

[6] And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

He shook his raiment — To signify he would from that time refrain from them: and to intimate, that God would soon shake them off as unworthy to be numbered among his people.

I am pure — None can say this but he that has borne a full testimony against sin.

From henceforth I will go to the Gentiles — But not to them altogether. He did not break off all intercourse with the Jews even at Corinth. Only he preached no more in their synagogue.

Verse 7

[7] And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

He went into the house of one named Justus — A Gentile, and preached there, though probably he still lodged with Aquila.

Verse 8

[8] 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.

And many hearing — The conversation of Crispus, and the preaching of Paul.

Verse 10

[10] For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

I am with thee: therefore fear not all the learning, politeness, grandeur, or power of the inhabitants of this city.

Speak and hold not thy peace — For thy labour shall not be in vain.

For I have much people in this city — So he prophetically calls them that afterward believed.

Verse 11

[11] And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

He continued there a year and six months — A long time! But how few souls are now gained in a longer time than this? Who is in the fault? Generally both teachers and hearers.

Verse 12

[12] And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,

When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia — Of which Corinth was the chief city. This Gallio, the brother of the famous Seneca, is much commended both by him and by other writers, for the sweetness and generosity of his temper, and easiness of his behaviour. Yet one thing he lacked! But he knew it not and had no concern about it.

Verse 15

[15] But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.

But if it be — He speaks with the utmost coolness and contempt, a question of names - The names of the heathen gods were fables and shadows. But the question concerning the name of Jesus is of more importance than all things else under heaven. Yet there is this singularity (among a thousand others) in the Christian religion, that human reason, curious as it is in all other things, abhors to inquire into it.

Verse 17

[17] Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Then they all took Sosthenes — The successor of Crispus, and probably Paul's chief accuser, and beat him - It seems because he had occasioned them so much trouble to no purpose, before the judgment seat - One can hardly think in the sight of Gallio, though at no great distance from him. And it seems to have had a happy effect. For Sosthenes himself was afterward a Christian, 1 Corinthians 1:1.

Verse 18

[18] And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

Paul continued many days — After the year and six months, to confirm the brethren.

Aquila having shaved his head — As was the custom in a vow, Numbers 6:18.

At Cenchrea — A seaport town, at a small distance from Corinth.

Verse 21

[21] But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

I must by all means keep the feast at Jerusalem — This was not from any apprehension that he was obliged in conscience to keep the Jewish feasts; but to take the opportunity of meeting a great number of his countrymen to whom he might preach Christ, or whom he might farther instruct, or free from the prejudices they had imbibed against him.

But I will return to you — So he did, Acts 19:1.

Verse 22

[22] And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

And landing at Cesarea, he went up — Immediately to Jerusalem; and saluted the Church - Eminently so called, being the mother Church of Christian believers: and having kept the feast there, he went down from thence to Antioch.

Verse 23

[23] And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

He went over the country of Galatia and Phrygia — It is supposed, spending about four years therein, including the time he stayed at Ephesus.

Verse 24

[24] And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.

An eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures — Of the Old Testament. Every talent may be of use in the kingdom of God, if joined with the knowledge of the Scriptures and fervour of spirit.

Verse 25

[25] This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

This man had been instructed — Though not perfectly, in the way of the Lord - In the doctrine of Christ.

Knowing only the baptism of John — Only what John taught those whom he baptized, namely, to repent and believe in a Messiah shortly to appear.

Verse 26

[26] And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

He spake — Privately; and taught publicly. Probably he returned to live at Alexandria, soon after he had been baptized by John; and so had no opportunity of being fully acquainted with the doctrines of the Gospel, as delivered by Christ and his apostles.

And explained to him the way of God more perfectly — He who knows Christ, is able to instruct even those that are mighty in the Scriptures.

Verse 27

[27] And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

Who greatly helped through grace — It is through grace only that any gift of any one is profitable to another.

Them that had believed — Apollos did not plant, but water. This was the peculiar gift which he had received. And he was better able to convince the Jews, than to convert the heathens.