Acts 18:1-11

1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.

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.

3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.

4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent;

10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

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

Corinth (v.1) — The capital of the Roman province of Achaia and residence of the governor. As Athens was the intellectual center, so Corinth was the political and commercial center of Greece. It was situated at the southern extremity of the narrow isthmus of the same name, which connected the Peloponnesus with the Grecian mainland, and had two harbors, the eastern one Cenchreae on the Saronic Gulf, and the western one Lechaeum on the Gulf of Corinth. Thus it stretched two arms, so to speak, to unite the Aegean and Adriatic Seas, and lay on the quickest and most central route from Rome to the East. Julius Caesar refounded it as a Roman colony in 46 B.C. It had a very large population, among whom, besides the native Greeks, might be found Romans, Jews, and strangers from various lands. Corinth was famous for the Isthmian Games. It was notorious, too, for its immorality, its temple of Aphrodite alone having connected with it a thousand prostitutes. — Walker, page 387.


Aquila and Priscilla (v.2) — Acquila, we read, was a man of Pontus (see Acts 2:9), who had settled in Rome. The name is Latin. His wife, Priscilla or Prisca (Paul always uses the latter name, of which Priscilla is the diminutive or familiar form) also bears a Latin name, and is usually mentioned before her husband (Acts 18:18, 26; Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19), from which fact some have conjectured that she was a Roman lady of some position, whom Aquila the Jew had married. The order of names, however, would be equally accounted for, if she had a stronger personality; and she, too may have been a Jewess by birth. We find them accompanying Paul to Ephesus (v.18), and staying on there when he left (v.26). They are next seen in his company again in that city (1 Corinthians 16:19). Later, we find them once more in Rome (Romans 16:3-4). And our last notice of them shows them back again in Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:19). — Walker, page 388.

During his year and a half in Corinth, Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Romans.

Rome hated the Jews, many of whom had settled in the city. Tiberius had sent some 4,000 Roman Jews into an unhealthy country, in hope that the fever there would destroy them, and Claudius, in the year 49 had banished them entirely from the capital of the Roman Empire. The Roman biographer and historian Suetonius (he lived during the reign of Hadrian in the beginning of the second century) in his life of Claudius gives the reason for the harsh edict of the Emperor Claudius because “the Jews were constantly in tumult at the instigation of one Chrestus.” The word “Chrestus” means undoubtedly “Christos,” that is Christ. — Gaebelein, pages 311-312.

Claudius (v.2) — Emperor of Rome A.D. 41-54.

tent making (v.3) — 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; Acts 20:34 — At Tarsus, there was a famous local industry of making tents out of special goats’ hair material called cilicium after Cilicia.

persuaded (v.4) = sought to persuade

Greeks (v.4) — Greeks who believed in God and went to the synagogue.

Paul probably wrote 1 Thessalonians immediately after Silas and Timothy arrived (v.5).

compelled (v.5) — This probably means that he was led by the Spirit to stop tent-making and preach full-time. It may also mean that, up to this time, he was trying to convince the Jews by gentle persuasion but from this point on spoke boldly of Christ.

Timothy had come with most heartening reports from Thessalonica. They were standing — firmly! True, some were confused about what Paul had said with regard to the rapture of believers to be with Christ, and were mourning for their deceased brethren, whom they feared would now be excluded from that glorious event, but their faith and love were strong and they remembered him affectionately, longing to see him again (1 Thessalonians 3:6).

Silas doubtless brought good news from Berea, where Paul had last left him (Acts 17:14) and there was also a special surprise: a gift from his beloved Philippians! (2 Corinthians 11:9) … Little wonder that with the coming of Silas and Timothy we find Paul preaching Christ with new fervor. Heavy burdens had been lifted from his heart. Financial needs had been supplied. Trusted co-workers would now be at his side. — Stam, pages 125-126.

opposed (v.6) — organized opposition

shook his garment (v.6) — Paul was indicating that he was free of responsibility for the Jews. He’d done his part. (Ezekiel 3:18-19)

I am clean (v.6) — Paul’s conscience was clear

Justus (v.7) — a Gentile. Paul may have moved to Justus’ house after Silas and Timothy arrived, or he may have continued living with Priscilla and Aquila but went to Justus’ house to preach.

worshiped God (v.7) — probably one of those mentioned in verse 4, who had come to trust Christ

Crispus (v.8) — Mentioned in 1 Corinthians 1:14, as having been baptized by Paul himself. Though a Jew, his name is Latin. As he was “the ruler of the synagogue,” his conversion must have provoked the Jews more than ever. His was by no means the only conversion from the synagogue. The household of Stephanas had previously become Christians (1 Corinthians 1:16) and Gaius was another convert (1 Corinthians 1:14). — Walker, page 392

afraid (v9) — because of the opposition of the Jews. Paul mentions his distress in 1 Thessalonians 3:6-7.

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